Personality theory can be used to analyze spiritual development in ourselves and in others. Studying human behavior and motivations is never time wasted no matter what system or perspective you are looking at. Understanding all of the personality testing systems and applying the concepts to real life, is incredibly helpful for our own understanding of our spiritual path as well as for those around us.
I love the MBTI personally theory. I wont go into the description of what it is here because you can find thousands of web pages on it across the net. You can also take a few free Myers Briggs tests online. It’s helpful to know where you would be placed as a starting point.
Even though MBTI has an element of either-or in looking at personalities, in this we can still learn a lot if we don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. It is a system, so automatically it simplifies the human personality. But when one is wanting to learn more about themselves and others, this isn’t a bad thing if kept in perspective. The MBTI also disregards the concept of free will to a degree due to it’s simplicity, but more on that later. The Myers-Briggs system categorizes behaviors and ways of thinking. It gives us concepts and a vocabulary to allow us to communicate the why and how of life experiences such as, “I know what this guy is like. I’ve seen him millions of times before.” or “I don’t understand why this person is always late”. It can open our minds in the understanding of how other people view the world, what their motivations are and how they may behave in future situations. I’ve found it to be very accurate for predicting behavior even with just meeting an individual. It’s also been helpful in raising my understanding of how to interact with them in more positive and productive ways. Over the years my accuracy on being able to correctly guess someones type, either within our first meeting or those who I’ve known is around 90%. It’s not unusual that I can read what type someone is within the first two minutes of meeting them. But this depends on the type. Some types are easier to spot than others for me. I later have them take the online tests to validate my guesses when I get to know them better. For me, this makes MBTI a valid educational pursuit. It makes sense on some levels.
The argument against MBTI in psychology is that some people take this test and get a different personality result depending on the day or their state of mind, how honest they are in their answers or for other reasons unknown. This is why it’s not used in improving the knowledge of psychology students in universities. But this is also a sadly, a very back and white way of looking at a useful system. My guess is those who become psychologists later in life as opposed to those that go right into studying it in college after high school, would be more open to MBTI and other personality systems and ideologies. I’ve noticed, these psychologists are generally superior as they have had life experiences that lead them to want help people. Many psychology students seem to go into the field as young adults because they want to understand or fix themselves their lives and their own personality issues. Of course academia falls very short here. After graduation they are then let loose on society as experts with an authoritative title. The later in life psychologists or therapists, naturally have a more dynamic and holistic view of things, have experienced more life, fixed themselves or worked through problems before they practice the profession. They have matured and developed without an authority telling them how to think about human behavior, putting down some systems and uplifting others.
It’s crazy to me that because the test results aren’t always accurate, MBTI is not used in schools. Personality can’t be entirely measured by science and it’s bizarre that academia thinks this is the only appropriate way of looking at it. There’s a reason why there are so few rockstar psychologists. It requires a lot of intuition, emotional and interpersonal communication skills, life experience and resourcefulness. These qualities aren’t generally taught in college. But that’s of course one woman’s opinion, which by the way, is based on a lot of experience and thought. I can boast 11 years of college with professors of varying abilities in all of these areas.
There is a reason why MBTI is the most popular personality test in the world. Many people understand that it has a lot to offer and that it can be very accurate and helpful to them in their every day lives. I don’t work for Myers Briggs, and don’t aspire to. I am also not a trained psychologist or psychological therapist. I’ve also never bothered to be tested professionally because in my estimation it doesn’t matter what someone else thinks I am. I have been studying MBTI on and off for 30 years. So, I do have a few things to say about it with regards to spiritual development.
5 Steps for using MBTI to help you to develop your perspective and soul age.
- THE MOST SPIRITUALLY DEVELOPED INDIVIDUALS ARE EMOTIONALLY AND LOGICALLY BALANCED. They are emotionally in touch but at the same time use their common sense and their logic to navigate their way though life situations. The personality lessens as the soul develops. The MBTI descriptions do lean towards some types being more balanced than others. This makes sense as the combination of traits and behaviors are going to express differently. But no type is going to have the market on spiritual development as there are degrees of everything.
- FIGURE OUT WHAT TYPE YOU ARE. You can probably get there by just taking the online test. All of them. After you get your results read about the personality or personalities that coincide. Choose the one that resonates with you the most.
Study this type deeply. Read everything you can about it. Buy any books that look interesting. Sign up for chat rooms. Watch YouTube videos. Hire a professional MBTI coach to test you. Studying and practice are roads to spiritual advancement. We have tools to improve ourselves in this life, our exquisite minds and emotional abilities and honing these gives us higher understanding. This can be a very enjoyable path if it resonates with you.
- APPLY WHAT YOU KNOW TO YOUR LIFE. Analyze your own actions and compare them to how other people behave in similar situations. Notice how they are different or similar to you and try to type them. Your skill in this area will improve with practice. Once you think you know what type they are have them take the tests if possible. You can progress spiritually only by watching your own actions and thoughts but it will accelerate your knowledge to also look at and analyze others.
At this point you are probably pretty solid in who you think you are as far as Myers Briggs. Now, take it a step further. Look at every letter in your type and consider the opposite trait. Choose one trait that you want to add more of into your life. I would suggest starting with one of the more balanced areas where your score is closer to the opposite trait. Develop this opposite trait.
- AFTER THIS, CONTINUE WITH THE OTHER OPPOSITE TRAITS TO YOUR TYPE. This will take a lifetime. There are some MBTI gurus that go into the types very deeply and give advice on different things to work on for self development. I find http://www.personalityhacker.com is a pretty good site. They also have a test you can take which seems to be pretty accurate. But they don’t talk about trying to become more balanced. They focus more on trying to be healthier within your type rather than moving out of type, which is what I’m suggesting. They still keep you in the box. But they are definitely worth listening to, as are many other teachers out there.
- IF YOU TAKE THE TEST AND YOUR PERSONALITY JUMPS ALL OVER THE PLACE, you could be mentally unstable, not honest with yourself on the test or you may be balancing on the edge of type or an aspect of type. The balancing is apparent as you will see your scores on each end. If you are balanced, I argue that you are more actualized and more advanced than the average person. The planet is currently full of ego dominant individuals. In being balanced, you have the ability to move from one side of the type to the other when you need it, when It’s appropriate for a particular situation. For example, You spend as much time alone processing and thinking as you do with others helping and engaging. Or you use your emotions to navigate your life in equal proportion to your logic and mental constructs. As a soul matures in perception, the personality is less apparent. Your personality isn’t strong, your interior is. You are more chameleon like, I don’t mean in a manipulative way, but in a way where you have the ability to adapt appropriately to every situation and conversation for the betterment of the individuals involved as well as the whole. In the old soul perspective, you don’t loose your individuality but your focus is not on yourself in the way that it is in younger perspectives. The advanced individual does not have to be special or different but because of the way the planet is at present, they are.