Monthly Archives: April 2013
I’ve been thinking about duality a lot lately. It’s a concept that is so deeply embedded in our paradigm, that at first glance, it seems very simple and straightforward.
- night and day
- good and bad
- black and white
- yin and yang
Of course there are many more examples, but in very simple terms, duality can be defined as:
“The quality or character of being twofold; dichotomy.” (freedictionary.com)
I think that most people view duality as “right or wrong”, “this or that”. It is a way that we identify, judge, value, and categorize information. Duality is a way of identifying ourselves and others, but it also extends past the traditional view, moving into things like “I’m an American and he is foreign”. Or “I’m a mother and she is childless”, and “I’m a teacher and he is a parent” and so on and so forth.
I have a lot of appreciation for self-exploration and awareness, but I feel that the concept of duality has created a bipolar culture. One blatant example is the “Madonna-whore” complex, where women are either a) pure, saintly, motherly figures or b) debased prostitutes.
I have become more and more aware of this in popular culture and media, as I’ve started recognizing a very overt reinforcement of this concept. How many sweet, innocent (often produced by Disney) young girls emerge with “fresh faces” and “wholesome appeal”, only to transformed right before our eyes into something hypersexualized? The “good girl gone bad” story is told time and time again, usually in a rather predictable manner.
Viewing ourselves in this dualist framework is ultimately, in my opinion, dishonest and destructive. We all have many roles in our lives (I’m a wife, sister, daughter, friend, teacher, yogi.. just to name a few) and although it is natural to shift and change to meet each role, I think that true authenticity can only come from integration and acceptance.
Furthermore, the more that we focus on what we are not, denying things that might be natural, the more that our shadow side has power over us.
When I was in middle school, I was introduced to the concepts of introverts and extroverts. From my understanding at the time, I was definitely an extrovert. I love conversation, performing and being silly, and I have always had widely varied group of friends. In my mind, extrovert made sense, so I assumed that I was Amanda Panda: extroverted Sagittarius, born in 1986, year of the Fire-Tiger. Boom.
Last week Aimee had me take the Briggs-Meyers personality test. Since I have an obsessive sense of “self-exploration”, I was happy to take it. I really tried to be as objectively honest as possible, answering questions with my authentic, most recurrent tendencies (rather than what I’d like to think is true about myself or I feel should be true). I’d love to say that those are one and the same, they are ever-so slightly different.
The Meyer-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) was originally created by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Meyer. It is a psychometric questionnaire based on the works of Carl Jung. The test contains four main categories or functions that each have a spectrum, resulting in 16 main personality types.
- Introversion -Extroversion
- Sensing – Intuition
- Thinking- Feeling
It doesn’t mean that you are one or the other, most people exist somewhere in the middle but have a tendency towards one end of the spectrum. Each person contains all functions, but this test is supposed to identify our individual “functional stack”, meaning what traits are extroverted (presented to the outside world) versus introverted (directed inwardly). Each of us has a combination of both introverted and extroverted traits, but in a different order of strength, as well as direction. Here’s a helpful website with tons of information about this: http://personalityjunkie.com/functional-stack-myers-briggs-theory/
I’ll break mine down a little further, but unless you are Aimee, (who got the same result-INFJ), your profile would be quite different, even if just one letter is off.
Amanda- INFJ (Introverted-iNtuition-Feeling-Judging)
1. Dominant- Introverted Intuition (Ni) First mode of functioning is internal. Much is subconscious, often through visual imagery and symbols. Ni notices broad patterns and trends and is able to synthesize them.
2. Auxiliary- Extroverted Feeling (Fe) This is the reason that I might be seen as an extrovert. The fact that I extrovert feeling, even in my auxiliary function, means that I am sensitive to the feelings of others, surveying for ways to improve interpersonal interactions and morale. Fe is what helps a person to read body language and nonverbal cues. It is interesting that because since feeling is extroverted (rather than introverted), combined with my introverted intuition, I am usually a sponge for other people’s emotions, but not always completely aware of my own feelings about things. This is a perfect example of how Fe (extroverted feeling) and Fi (introverted feeling) are very different.
3. Tertiary- Introverted Thinking (Ti) This tertiary function works with Fe to refine judgments, fact check, weigh logically, and on the flip-side: create self-doubts. As I am an INFJ, the J stands for “judging” although it has nothing to do with being judgmental. Based on the test you either prefer to extrovert your judging function (thinking or feeling), like me (that would be my extroverted feeling Fe), or your perceiving function (either intuition or sensing). If I were more drawn towards perceiving, I would be an INFP and then I would extrovert my perceiving function, which in that case would be intuition, Ne (extroverted intuition). Sounds confusing, but the website I gave you about has a really in-depth explanation if you want to take the test.
4. Inferior-Extroverted Sensing (Se) This is my inferior function, meaning the one that I have to work to develop. This was fascinating to me, because this extroverted sensing is the cause of much strife in my life. I am both very aware of beauty and material comforts, as I extravert this sensing, but this often clashes with my ideological/intuitive understandings. Also, because my sensing is not introverted, I am often out of touch with my body. Yoga is definitely a helpful way for me to deepen my connection to my body.
You can take the test using the link below, if you’d like. Afterwards you should tell me what you are and whether you find the description to be accurate 🙂
I wanted to share something that I thought was very helpful and fascinating in understanding my own processing, and it was also kind of liberating to see myself as more of an introvert. It’s funny, but both my mother and my husband have made comments that made me to realize that I’ve always had an introverted tendency. My mom mentioned to me that even as a child I’ve always need time by myself, and that I usually need to “recharge” my batteries after a lot of socializing, usually just by being by myself and reading a book.
My husband completely embraced my “introvert designation” (apparently I’m in my head a lot) and it was really neat to compare our results to one another- he is an ENFP and his functional stack is literally the mirror image of mine. I am Ni-Fe-Ti-Se and he is Ne-Fi-Te-Si (basically we favor the same functional ordering but where he extroverts, I introvert and vice versa).
Have fun 🙂 Here’s a neat little chart with a brief description of each type. There are tons of websites for each personality type, let me know if you want recommendations.