Who Are You Anyway?

Have you ever wondered why you can relate to some people, while other people simply drive you crazy? Why some people just seem to speak your language, even after knowing them for only a short period of time? Why some things are stressful to you while those very same things are no big deal to others?

These were the types of questions that motivated Carl Jung to explore in depth the differences in people’s personalities (1921-1971). Although Carl Jung initially differentiated only the extrovert/introvert differences, he eventually expanded his research to further break down these differences as he saw that the use of only the first two differences did not lead to the understanding he was seeking.

In the 1940s, Isabel Myers and Katherine Briggs continued what Carl Jung had started and, after studying an initial group of people for over 20 years, eventually developed what is now called the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). There is a lot of information available as to the specifics of how these assessments was developed, but suffice it to say here that the MBTI is now a internationally recognized way of providing an understanding of personal preferences.

There are so many benefits that this instrument has to offer, the first one of which is to help us understand and value ourselves – definitely not from the perspective of a “right” way or a “wrong” way, but from the perspective that it is all good. What a gift! From my own experience as a person who initially just took the assessment and is now a practitioner who administers it, there is something so gratifying about the clarify that comes from seeing what we perhaps thought of as a negative trait or way or being, as simply the way we are – with no judgments attached.

Once we learn to appreciate and understand ourselves, we are then able to begin the process of understanding those around us – with the same knowing that there are no right or wrong types. Just this perspective alone can make the world a much nicer place in which to exist with our fellowman.