Here's what I've struggled with about the MBTI in my life

Here's what I've struggled with about the MBTI in my life

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This is a discussion on Here's what I've struggled with about the MBTI in my life within the Myers Briggs Forum forums, part of the Personality Type Forums category; While I don't really use the MBTI to guide my life as a whole, it's definitely given me a new ...

  1. #1
    ISFJ - The Nurturers

    Here's what I've struggled with about the MBTI in my life

    While I don't really use the MBTI to guide my life as a whole, it's definitely given me a new perspective on a lot of things.


    Before learning about it, there were many traits and beliefs that I had (and still have) that I felt were overall universally important. I felt like everyone should value them in some way, shape and form. When people didn't, I felt like they had a flawed mentality due to either their upbringing or personal choices.


    By learning about the MBTI, I've learned more about how others can be successful and important by utilizing other traits, ones that I don't have. I've learned that certain traits come easier to me and I use them to be successful and helpful to others, but that other people can use different traits to do the same thing.


    But where I'm struggling is finding balance between how universal my own particular traits should be.


    For example, certain things I've always valued are working hard (even when things are difficult), being responsible, and making efforts to work with others, even if that means making small sacrifices and compromises.


    Certainly to some degree these ideas can be related to my own type as an ISFJ. But I also don't think that this means they aren't important in some way, shape or form to everyone.


    So where I keep getting stuck is knowing how and in what way I should value these things in other people.

    On one hand, I don't want to use their type as an excuse for them not doing these things. One classic example is the idea that someone being a perceiver doesn't give them an excuse to be late to appointments.

    On the other hand, though, I don't want to assume that things that come more easily to me come just as easily to others. I want to hold people up to certain expectations, but I also want to be understanding that some of these things may not come naturally to them due to their types.


    So I'm caught half-way between just completely ignoring type and holding people up to certain standards, and using their type to understand that individually they have different ways of doing things.


    I don't really know what I'm saying with this thread, I just felt the need to express this and couldn't think of another way to do it. I know it's going to vary from person to person and situation to situation, but if anyone could offer any thoughts I think I'd find it helpful.
    Karen, moonlight_echo and Celtic Dreams thanked this post.



  2. #2
    Unknown Personality

    Everyone does the best than can with what they've got.

    I don't think we should use the MBTI as an excuse. It can be used to understand someone, but when someone's late because they're a perceiver, they're using their talent in the wrong way. We should try not to use the MBTI as an excuse for ourselves, I don't quite understand what I'm saying with this reply either. :P

  3. #3
    ISTP - The Mechanics

    I too have wondered about a good way to use MBTI. Like you said, you don't want to abuse it, yet at the same time, you also don't want it ignored. I have previously viewed it as a baseline for who we are. That said, perhaps a good way to use it is to challenge people to realize who they are, and also to grow, to develop their lesser-used functions (e.g. the 4 shadow functions). For instance, you can challenge a P type to not be late and to plan efficiently, you can challenge a J type to not jump to conclusions and let P types organize for themselves, you can challenge a T type to be plain empathetic/sympathetic, or an F type to apply logical/analytic thinking. You could challenge an S type to look at the big picture, or an N type to check ou the details, you could challenge an I type to be more outgoing and an E type to look within. Challenges for every trait.

    The bottom line is, the MBTI is best used to get people to realize how they are, as well as challenge them to go outside of themselves. It can be abused when excuses or myths are made around it, or when typism arises.
    Karen and teddy564339 thanked this post.

  4. #4
    ENFP - The Inspirers

    This is a great question/discussion!

    I use MBTI mostly within my own internal dialogue viewing others. Instead of getting upset or angry, I am now able to recognize that people simply see and do things differently than I do, and this is a good thing. Similarly, when people respond negatively to the things that I do, I can now understand why they don't always see the value in my abilities...and, more importantly, I am able to understand that they are not in a place to judge the value of my abilities! MBTI helps to get me out of hierarchies and "who is better than who" type of thinking.

    I'll repeat that: MBTI helps to get me out of hierarchies and "who is better than who" type of thinking. MBTI is a cognitive theory, therefore I feel that its usage should remain in the cognitive domain. No using it as a basis to hire people etc. It's about thinking, world view, understanding and defending your own perspective-- not necessarily about behavior.

    Separate people from their actions. MBTI describes the people, but use your own standards to evaluate their actions. If they don't do what you feel is right, that doesn't make them bad people or "less than" other people...but perhaps they can benefit from your ISFJ perspective! Show them what you would like them to do instead. Understanding their type can help you understand what type of communication they will be most responsive to.

    Does that make sense?
    teddy564339, Karen and Crow Icarus thanked this post.

  5. #5
    Unknown Personality

    To me, the MBTI represents a set of preferred cognitive functions that ideally forms a full basis for all human perception and judgement. I personally use this in two ways. 1)As an perceiving model that helps me classify my own thoughts: e.g. A method for rationalizing emotions. A model that lets me see the limitations in my own cognitive abilities, and perhaps suggest alternative modalities (perceive-judgement loops) for tackling a problem. i.e. a model for knowing yourself better 2)As a judging model for external applications: e.g. A model that lets me perceive other party's interests, motivations, drive in life. An almost Bayesian method for generating class conditional distributions for people. A fun puzzle for trying to "solve" other people given a fair amount of missing information.
    Karen thanked this post.

  6. #6
    INTP - The Thinkers

    Quote Originally Posted by teddy564339 View Post

    But where I'm struggling is finding balance between how universal my own particular traits should be.


    On one hand, I don't want to use their type as an excuse for them not doing these things. One classic example is the idea that someone being a perceiver doesn't give them an excuse to be late to appointments.

    On the other hand, though, I don't want to assume that things that come more easily to me come just as easily to others. I want to hold people up to certain expectations, but I also want to be understanding that some of these things may not come naturally to them due to their types.
    I've also been struggling with this lately. The mbti can be a great way of gaining an understanding of people, but there are limits to it. It doesn't predict behavior, and there are still differences between people of the same type.

    As for deciding whether or not you should hold people up to certain standards- I believe you should, as long as they're reasonable. The ultimate standard that I use every day is: Does being around this person make me feel better, or worse? For example, the mbti can explain certain behavior, but I don't think it should ever be used to excuse abusive behavior. Also, if someone isn't willing to meet you half way and understand you in return, then you can only do so much. This is why I believe underlying intentions need to be considered when trying to understand someone.

    We all have to make adjustments to survive in society (with some making more adjustments than others depending on the culture). As a perceiver, I'm not naturally 'on time' for things, but I've taught myself to make sure I'm never late for work or appointments since it's a cultural law where I live. In another culture my 'time flexibility', as I like to think of it, might be considered more acceptable.
    teddy564339 and Karen thanked this post.

  7. #7
    INFJ - The Protectors

    For me, the MBTI has been most useful as a tool for understanding first myself, then my family and then relationships in general. For instance, my ISTJ mom and I have always had a very hard time understanding each other even when we are both trying hard. We don't seem to think the same way and don't "speak the same language" about many things. I've also wondered why the conversations of my one brother (ESFJ) are so boring to me, and those of my youngest brother (ENTP) so fascinating, and why my youngest daughter (INTP) seems to be "just like me" at times, but can't seem to understand a word I say about other things, like people's feelings.
    Karen thanked this post.

  8. #8
    Unknown Personality


    Quote Originally Posted by teddy564339 View Post
    Before learning about it, there were many traits and beliefs that I had (and still have) that I felt were overall universally important. I felt like everyone should value them in some way, shape and form. When people didn't, I felt like they had a flawed mentality due to either their upbringing or personal choices.
    I always like your posts, teddy. :) As you mentioned, before MBTI my INTJ husband thought my P attitude toward life was a character flaw based on poor upbringing and choices, and I thought the same about his J. We laughed about it afterwards and now when we have P vs. J clashes, we know they are valid but differing parts of our personalities rather than wishing the other person would gain more sanity with regard to life. I try my best to extend that attitude to other people. Even if someone is my exact type in all ways, there will still be so many differences between us that there would always be the need to be understanding and accepting of those differences.

    Being a P, an Enneagram 7, and a fun-loving-oriented Carol Tuttle Energy Type 1, I'm doomed to making people unhappy with me because, besides being alternative, I truly march to a different drummer than most people. Even in my most emotionally healthy state, I make experiences and studying new ideas top priorities in my life. I try to solve part of the "eccentricity" problem by always being on time and living up to my promises. For my own happiness and inner demands for spontaneity, I don't make many promises, lol.
    Last edited by Karen; 09-26-2011 at 12:16 AM.


     

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