Archive | April, 2017

How Do You DO!

9 Apr

Are you more organized and goal-oriented, or more laid back in your daily behavior? These opposites define another Myers Briggs dimension — that of life style preference. Interestingly enough, this pair of opposites cannot be attributed to Carl Jung. Instead it was developed by Myers and Briggs, the mother-daughter team who put together the personality type indicator!
This dimension of personality type is extremely important to figure into relationships. Let’s look at why.
People who are quite organized and like to pursue goals in a systematic way are very different (opposite, in fact) to folks who live their lives in a spontaneous, relaxed manner. Myers and Briggs used the terms Judging and Perceiving to signify these opposites. These names, however, do not adequately describe the differences in personality type.
First of all, the Judging types are not necessarily judgmental, although they may be. They may often use “constructive criticism” in their interactions with others. We can say, however, that J personalities belong to people who want to be organized and who have both short- and long-term goals. This makes them a more serious type than their opposite, the Perceivers. The P personality type may have these qualities: spontaneous, impulsive, playful, procrastinative, perceptive. While J types plod along, moving steadily toward their goal, P types never put themselves through rigorous “practice.” Whatever they love doing, they make look simple.
Thomas Alva Edison was a J type: He never gave up on a project. He may have laid it aside for a while, even years, but he ultimately returned to it and made it a success. Not only did he perfect the light bulb, he also developed the phonograph, the telephone, and so many other inventions which gave birth to the age of technology. His motto was one which every J personality can take as his/her own: “Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.”
Mozart was a P type, especially as we see him portrayed in the movie, “Amadeus.” No one ever had to admonish Mozart to practice piano. He sat at the piano and composed for long hours on end, totally unaware of time passing. People of the P type do not set goals, but they are not distractible when they are doing something they love. For them it’s spontaneous.
You, dear reader, can perhaps see why Js and Ps have some work to do in order to get along. J will want to organize even fun times — for example, weekends or vacations. P will want to “hang loose” and see what opportunities come along. Ps are definitely fun to be with as they meander through a day waiting on serendipity to land them in a sweet spot — and it usually does!
In the animal kingdom, we can think of the J person as the beaver, nature’s engineer. S/he has a goal: To mud up the dam and make it secure for his family. To that end, he chooses a tree to cut down, swims it over to his lodge, puts it in place, and then muds up his structure.
By contrast, the P person is the river otter. I see him/her sitting on a log over a stream, just enjoying the water life beneath him. Then suddenly he is attracted by a certain fish and makes an instantaneous decision to catch it, which s/he does with ease. Swimming with his/her catch to the riverbank, he munches away with utter abandon and enjoyment.
We have now completed our description of the four dimensions of personality type, and we hope that you have made a tentative guess about your own type in each dimension. We will continue looking at temperaments and types in our next article.

Feelings, Nothing More than Feelings …

1 Apr

Since you know that Carl Jung was a psychoanalyst, you might well suppose that he dealt with feelings, and you would be correct! Many people say they are sad, or frustrated, or disappointed, as if that particular feeling were all-consuming and would stay with them for the duration. Actually, though, feelings come and go. With my patients I often refer to the “dark green feelings.” These are the feeling colors of wintertime — hurt, guilt, loneliness, sadness, etc. — which will eventually yield to the pastels of spring.
Feelings go hand in hand with thoughts. If you think about someone who has been a victim, the thought experiences you portray in your mind will yield feelings of hurt, shame, sadness but possibly go to outrage! If on the other hand, you think about relaxing on a porch swing on a summer’s day, your thoughts may go to contentment, peace and overall well-being.
In general, we need to realize that we can let go of disturbing feelings and replace them with more supportive, confident feelings. This process will enable us to improve our physical health as well. I will write more about the process in a later blog. Right now I want to return to what Jung called the “opposites” of Feeling versus Thinking.
Jung noted that human beings usually act on either thoughts or feelings, so that either one of these modalities is a motivator for action. The values we hold dear (consciously or unawares) propel us to action.
In the case of Feeling, a person will hold certain RATIONAL but SUBJECTIVE values, which will guide his/her actions. For example, a person might prize courage and act in the workplace against injustice as a whistle blower. Or a person might be motivated by compassion to serve the needy or homeless. Jung emphasized that Feelings are rational motivators to action, but they are subjective to the individual who prizes courage, compassion, honesty or some other value.
The Thinking person prefers to take action or make judgments based on universally held values; that is, RATIONAL and OBJECTIVE values. Such values are widely held by large numbers of people. At the extreme, the values which derive from mathematical equations can be said to be universally true (depending on which type of mathematics one espouses!)
Thinking persons are those who calculate their path using principles which are widely held by a majority of people. They prefer using the logic of the head, the prefrontal cortex, to solve problems. In the economic world, Thinking persons often arrive at their final decision based on the cost of one alternative versus another. Thus in a Thinking world, people become statistics who can easily be “let go” if a business has a downturn.
Feeling persons, on the other hand, utilize as tools whatever they value most (for example, compassion) to make their decisions. In that sense, Feeling persons are more independent in their value systems than those who prefer Thinking. Although holding firm to principles is important to Feeling persons, probably these “heart-based” persons seek above all else Harmony in their lives and in society.