I have a friend named Willow. We met on a site for similar (not all the same, but similar) Myers Briggs types. She was one of many that I met and quite liked, and one of many from Australia to boot (which of course makes her that much cooler).
Now as I got to know Willow the first thing I noticed was how comfortable I felt. I came to know that she would accept me at all times no matter what I said. She was a safe, safe harbor around whom I didn’t have to be self-conscious. I could just relax and be me. Over time we came to realize we have much in common. When sharing we say “me too!” too many times to count. We have many of the same insecurities, and many of the same behaviors as well. She’s also the same “type” as I am.
For those of you who don’t know what Myers Briggs is, it’s a personality theory based on observation. Carl Jung and then a mother daughter team of Katherine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers saw that people gather more energy either from being with people or from solitude, though both need both. They saw that people tend to gather information more from the objects and details themselves or from the connections between these things. They saw that people make judgments based more on objective criteria and principles or more on subjective criteria and values. They saw that in dealing with the outside world people tend to prefer to perceive or make decisions. Other than these things, people described by the same four letters may differ tremendously. We are all individuals.
I have spent my life mostly with other types and I love my friends and family who are very different. They’ve touched my life with love and loyalty and insight. I will probably also never crush on someone like me. I am fascinated by the mystery of what is other.
And, truth be told, most of my life I thought my type was annoying. I didn’t like a lot of aspects of myself much. I thought, “I am this thing, and other people have to put up with it.” In fact, I went to a meet-up with my same type and was expecting some of them to test my patience.
What I found was completely different. What I saw was adults with maturity. What I felt was peace. A sense of calm enveloped the place and the people. Everyone was friendly and welcoming, a bit goofy in a fun way, and relaxed. I felt at home.
About that same time, I went to meet Willow and felt even more at home as though she were a sister or cousin or childhood friend. I loved her animated expressions and gestures. I loved the way she wanted to see so many amazing things. I loved how she loves people. I loved her adventure and her quiet warmth. And our conversation was like a tree with constant branches, but we never lost the trunk.
There is a little boy very similar to us as well, and I remember listening to his excited imagination and realizing what I must have been like as a child. I remember also seeing his struggles and giving my inner child compassion while I was giving compassion to him. The things I didn’t think I liked about myself I saw in him and loved them.
In knowing these people, there has been a shift in me. I have come to like myself more. There is something about delighting in someone who is like you that can mirror back the fact that you are a more beautiful person than you ever knew. There is something about seeing someone amazing, and realizing how similar they are to you, that helps you to see yourself. With Willow I kept thinking, “I love that aspect of her!” And then it strikes me. “I have it too.”
I spend most of my time with people who are different, and I love the variety. But I also need to spend time with those like me. We focus a lot on accepting and loving differences. And this is a good thing, but sometimes, I think we all need someone like us too, to relax and to not worry too much about how we are coming across, to know that someone else is just as much of a weirdo or a fuddy duddy as you, you’re not alone, and maybe it’s really not so bad. If you don’t spend time with some people who are like you, try it if you are able, or watch a similar person on You Tube or in a movie if they are hard to find. It is a healing thing.
May God bless your day.