By Rob Dinh

Grow out of your MBTI type

Steps to individuation by embodying archetypes

Let me get this out of the way — MBTI is full of shit. Is there truth to it? Well the theory is passable but needs improvement. Its followers and the community at large though… that needs an intervention. There are so many falsehoods built around the theory nowadays that it has now become detrimental to a lot of interested newcomers wishing to embark on a journey of self-growth. Originally made as a guide of cognitive predispositions, Myers–Briggs Type Indicator has been boiled down to memes and stereotypes ironically stunting the development of the highly complex highly subjective system that is the human mind.

If you stumbled on this blog, chances are you tried to discover who you are. You wanted an answer for why you’re wired a certain way, why you’re misjudged and misunderstood, why you’re lonely in the middle of a crowd. Much like Astrology and Tarot cards, there were a couple of points in the MemeBTI type descriptions that rung true to you. And if you’ve gone really deep like I did, you got obsessed about the topic. And off you went on labeling yourself as one of the 16 personality types. Off you went on subscribing to subreddits specific to your type fishing for validation. Off you went on refuging with those alike reinforcing your good and bad traits.

Frankly, the mainstream type descriptions appear to be written by people who believe they have the world all figured out. And these views would be valid if the world was mainly centered around life in high school. Being a teenager is when you start to wonder who you are and how you fit in society. It’s when you start to independently shape your identity. It’s when you first encounter life changing hardships and meet different types of people. It’s natural corollary that this microcosm is fragmented with cliques and little pockets of subcultures. Apply that phenomenon to MBTI, and now we have a community with each type entrenched in cliques circlejerking and bathing in their own toxicity.

Most people don’t have that willingness to break bad habits. They have a lot of excuses and they talk like victims.

Carlos Santana

I don’t mind the safe space and memes themselves. Some of the memes are quite the spice and I’m here for them. It’s like listening to Dave Chappelle. In the right context, jokes can be hilarious and encourage to rejoice in our differences. They tend to be self-deprecating and remind us to lighten up. Having a less rigid mindset and lightened mood helps us better face our bad habits. But with the wrong perception, the content can further divide us like how social media politically divided the American population.

As far as I know, there isn’t much scientific credibility to the mainstream MBTI. It has evolved through many iterations and forked to many people’s own homemade interpretations. Everyone has their own take on it. And most of the time, the 16 archetypes appear as underdeveloped characters belonging in a poorly written love fan fiction. These types are assumed as whole personalities, or even worse whole identities. It’s tragic. For young folks who are trying to come on their own, it is disheartening to see them strive to self-actualize within the confines set by the characteristics of one-dimensional archetypes. These popular sources should really title their information as “Personality descriptions of a 15 year old <insert type>.”

This is not a knock on teenagers. But when the explanation for people having issues is because they’re mentally unhealthy and immature, it’s tempting that the solution is simply to grow the fuck up. The process that is teenage life happens to everyone. It’s normal and integral to our growth. We all start somewhere (heavy emphasis on start). Older folks are susceptible too. Take it from me — I’ve been a legal adult for the majority my life, and I’m still working on becoming my best self. I know people much older who carry issues so deep, change is hopeless. They and others around them will have to suffer by their toxic traits forever.

I admit I don’t have a concise way to explain why people like me are dedicating time to self-growth. There are plenty of others who are content being stuck in their ways. And depending on what you value and how you define success, you may not ever need to try reap the benefits of maturity. But it just doesn’t sit right with me for how limiting that life must be. How sad is it to be victimized by a world that is constantly against you? To be imprisoned by your own stubbornness, fear, and insecurities? To be escaping reality and numbing yourself through unhealthy unproductive coping mechanisms?

These are mental issues. I refuse to be constrained by the limitations of my brain’s wiring. I’m not going to let my personality type, let alone its stereotypes, be the excuse to stay miserable.

I might as well be dead.

Seriously, if you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.

Bruce Lee

MBTI still has a lot of potential to help people. I’m still forming my own ideas about it, and studying others’ theories while taking them with some grains of salt. I understand the majority of us are not professional psychologists, and credibility is only measured by popularity. There may be psychology experts who are further developing the study of personality, but that information is not widely available nor seems to be applied by most of us. In any case, applying what I know has infinitely helped me be more aware of my triggers, blindspots, and insecurities. I truly believe the MBTI theory can serve as viable tool to improve your mental and emotional wellness. We just need to take a different approach at it.

While there’s a lot of valid skepticism about the accuracy of personality tests, whatever you get as your type is not your result — It’s your starting point. Imagine you get diagnosed with genetic traits like higher chance of diabetes and high blood pressure. That’s the same kind of report once you’re given your 4 letter results. You’ll be aware of your traits and get recommendations of what you should be doing about them.

Realize that the 16 personalities are mere archetypes. As a complex human being you are not wholly defined by their descriptions. The truth is your brain has a base configuration of cognitive functions most closely resembling one of the personality types; and you can temporarily emulate other types by reconfiguring your base functions within your mental and emotional capacity. You are not boxed in, you can evolve and mature. Harry’s Cognitive Personality Theory serves as a growth based model that works on unifying our conscious and unconscious sides, as Carl Jung’s work originally intended. What makes someone an INFP or an ESTJ is determined by their cognitive process that form thoughts and experiences — not their behavior, not their jobs, not their fashion style.

Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

Lao Tzu

Truth be told I used to be a 15 year old INTJ edgelord. I was prideful and scared. I was calm and going insane. I was a loner and I was lonely. Understanding how I’m wired, I’m now able to overcome my habits. I trained my mind to be more flexible and agile if my default INTJ configuration wasn’t the best for the situation. I gained the personal power turn my insecurities into aspirations and my pride into humility. I’m happier now, I’m at peace with who I am and how I fit in this reality. Most importantly, I learned to forgive myself and love myself.

I wish everyone else can feel this way. Not everyone needs to know about MBTI. But having been so mentally enriched, I want to make others feel understood. Make them feel accepted as who they are. I may not fully know everyone’s life story, but I’m good enough to figure out how to respect them. I want to treat people like how they should be treated. And cheer on those who have inspiringly gone above and beyond their mental limits. My love is given to the ENTJs who have found happiness serving for the greater good, to the INFJs who have lifted their self-esteem and found peace with themselves, to the INTPs who have pursued their passion and inspired the world, to the ESTJs who have affected so many people building brighter futures, the list goes on.

Society needs more empathy. I watched my country getting divided online by their political views. It’d be heartbreaking if the same would happen with personalities on top of stunting human development by embodying stereotypes. I’m tired of hearing that Sensors are dumb, that Feelers are inferior, that Thinkers are heartless. And I’m especially tired of INTJs believing they belong in a master race. We’re not that special.

Humanity is shaped first by our thoughts. It just takes one negative comment on the internet to trigger a butterfly effect to a catastrophe. And if I can help prevent that, it’ll be my responsibility. I’m not expecting to save the world from World War 3. And I don’t have any measurable way to prove if whatever I’m saying about the MemeBTI community is true and detrimental to society. Gatekeepers and assholes have been around since the Age of time, and that is never been more apparent on the Internet. I understand I’m just one guy venting about what’s going on. I’m not solving humanity’s biggest problem. I’m just trying to give awareness to the introspectively vulnerable that personality types don’t define them. All I want is to send good vibes and hope to be a positive influence by giving back to the community.

In the following blog posts, I’ll write about how I get along with other types as an INTJ. I’ll highlight what I find that is beautiful and admirable about how their cognitive functions render out. I’d like to emphasize that these functions are simply metaphorical umbrella terms about what really goes on in the brain. I don’t have in-depth knowledge about what’s under the hood. The types I’ll be referring to will be based on personal encounters and aspirations from celebrities, and how they’ve all affected me as a person. This exercise will present healthy integrated archetypes. Thinking about their natural gifts leaves me humbled and hungry to model each of them. It’ll help me earn a deeper understanding and appreciation for how everyone different than me sees the world. And also help me discover and love new sides of myself.

Spiritually I believe we’re connected in some way. There’s irony that my path to individuation has led me to love other people. Perhaps from understanding my mind I was able to look into my soul. And sequentially that rewarded me the ability to better see other people’s souls and connect with them. I take solace that we’re all just trying to make it as human beings. We can try together to make our experiences here in this reality a little less stressful by better understanding ourselves and each other. I have no idea. I’m not a psychologist, I just do this for fun. 😀

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