An introduction to MBTI…

MBTI is an enlightening but slightly complex system of personality typing (or as it’s called in the community “typology”).

When looked at on a surface level it appears to put you into one of 16 boxes; and this is something that many people dislike. Often the first complaint is “I don’t want to be put in a box”, but the important thing to understand here that, firstly, it is describing one facet of your whole personality, and secondly, it is describing part of the box that you are already in. Although there are 16 types this is a very nuanced system with many variables.

Another misconception is that it describes all of who you are and the traits of each type are extrapolated out to explain the complete person. This is a misuse of the system.

Imagine a plant. That plant consists of leaves, the stem, flowers, and roots. Just looking at the flower it has petals, possibly even different shaped ones, stamen, anthers, and a calyx. MBTI is the flower, not the whole plant; it describes an integral part of who you are, but not the whole of who you are. Also, using the same analogy, a rose is a rose, but they are different colours, sizes, some are double and some are single. Just because you are one type doesn’t mean you are a cookie cutter version of that type. Flowers are affected by the water and nutrients that the roots take up and the light that the leaves are exposed to. During a dry summer stress can affect how well the flowers grow. As you move through life stress can affect the expression of your MBTI traits. This can lead to lean into your blindspots more and even looking like a completel different typey.

But what is it?
MBTI is a tool that explains how you take in information and what criteria you use to make decisions about that information. That is all. This does affect a large part of your life, but it doesn’t cover everything about you.

How can it be used for self development?
When I found my type (INFJ) and started to learn about the system a door was unlocked on how to help myself with my mental health. I was also shown that my blindspots are balanced with my strengths which enabled me to accept them more easily. Yes, I am rubbish at this, but I am great at that, and that’s ok. It also showed me where I could do more work to lean into strengths that were waiting for me, and what to do when I was struggling with life. The insight this system has given me is invaluable.

How do I find out my type?
The easiest starting point is to take a test, but, it’s important to understand that test are not wholely accurate, they cannot know you better then you know yourself. Taking the test is the first step as it gives you somewhere to start. From there I suggest learning about what those 4 letters mean and seeing if it is something you really relate to. I can post useful information as we go along.

So, to that end, here is a link to the test that I think would be most reliable.

So, if you are interested, take the test and see what you get, then dig deeper into the Personality Hacker website to check if you were right.

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