Learning about your yourself by discovering your Style Type can be like opening the door into a new world you never knew existed. You can feel like you’ve been given the “keys to the kingdom” – that a new and enlightening way of understanding yourself, and others, has just been revealed to you.
And whilst for most people understanding their Type is a hugely positive experience, there can be ‘light and shade’ to having such a powerful mirror being held up to who you naturally are, and to understanding the implications of that, including for important relationships and how we are impacting others.
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Stages of Understanding
One of the first things you may experience when being greeted with your Style Type is a sense of relief. “I’m okay – just as I am!” can be the spirit of what you think and feel. It can be deeply meaningful to be acknowledged for who you naturally are, without feeling that you have to adjust yourself in significant ways to make certain relationships work or to be accepted, or acceptable, in important situations.
Part of this deeply meaningful acknowledgement is that your type of person not only exists, but that your way of being — your innate way of being — is legitimate and valid. It is deeply significant to recognize that there is absolutely nothing wrong with you.
Especially if you have felt out of step in important situations or with important people in your life (such as in your family of origin, at work, or with cohorts such as at school), learning about your Type can be deeply significant, giving you a feeling of acknowledgment that your way of being is just fine.
It can also be a relief to know that there are others just like you, people who share your Style Type and have a similar way of ‘doing life’ to you (although, of course, we are each individuals and there are many factors which make up who we are and our sense of identity).
It’s Okay to Be Me!
It’s almost impossible to over-state how significant this acknowledgment can be for some people. At 16 Style Types, we have received feedback from some women who have told us they have wept when reading their Style Type Report for the first time – they felt so understood, and in a deep way that they never have before in their lives.
And even for those who have had some prior exposure to personality systems, for whom it may not be such an emotional experience, it remains enlightening to be recognized for who you are. To be presented with accurate information about your strengths and blind spots, and to be acknowledged as having the characteristics that you have.
This is a powerful form of acceptance, especially in a world that is so crowded with information about who we could – and should – be, including how we should look and what we should wear.
I’m Okay, You’re Okay
Another step in the self-discovery process can be to recognize that others around us are different to us. Especially if we have encountered significant challenges or obstacles to understanding with important people around us, it can be a relief to know they aren’t “doing it deliberately” to drive us a bit nuts!
It can be liberating to recognize that others who are different to us are just doing their own thing, being themselves — just as we are just being ourselves.
Even if we find their behavior unfathomable, frustrating, and difficult, it’s helpful to recognise there is a legitimate reason they are being that way (although of course, personality is never an excuse for bad behavior!).
When we are in relationship with important people who are really (often really, really!) different to us, this can be hugely helpful.
It gives us a language and a framework for understanding others’ natural way of being that allows us to let go of negative assumptions about why they’re being the way they are.
A Powerful Mirror
If nothing else, psychological type is a powerful mirror. It has the potential to reflect aspects of ourselves we were not entirely conscious of, of making us feel validated and accepted, beautiful and acceptable and a raft of other positive emotions.
This mirror also includes the potential to see ourselves in ways that others do and to reflect back to us aspects of ourselves that are challenging to see – and accept.
This can be where the ‘shade’ (in the ‘light and shade’ meaning of the term) can come into your Style Type Journey. The feedback you receive about your way of being, your personality, can be powerful – and confronting.
It illustrates the saying that “ignorance is bliss” – when you don’t understand yourself very well and have low self-awareness, you can be living in ignorant bliss indeed!
And this is yet another stage you can pass through on your self-discovery Style Type Journey: to realize that not everything about who you are is experienced positively by others.
A story to illustrate:
Jill recalls a piece of feedback she received about elements of her Style Type (Style Adviser ESFJ) at an international psychological type conference, where a presenter was discussing aspects of Extraverted Feeling. This worldwide respected authority on psychological type was discussing how different people experience “friendliness” in others, and to this point he stated that “for some people, the threshold of friendliness is a smile”. Words that had a huge impact on Jill – she remembers them vividly to this day, even though she heard them over 10 years ago now!
It was the first time Jill had encountered in such clear and objective (even clinical) terms, one of the blind spots to being Extraverted and to having a Feeling preference – that others can experience it as being Too Much Friendliness. Who knew such a thing existed – that you could be too friendly! Talk about a revelation!
Since then, Jill has encountered similar versions of this feedback about her Type (and others closely related to it), and she has learned to embrace this feedback. Her attitude is that her Type, her innate way of being, is something she needs to accept and embrace for herself, and that includes recognizing that not everybody experiences her innate way of being in entirely positive ways at times.
Talk about an unwaveringly clear mirror being held up!
16 Self-Discovery Pathways
And so it is for each of the 16 Style Types. Each has their challenges, development areas, and blind spots. There isn’t a single Style Type that is exempt from this aspect of there being something challenging for some other people.
Every single one of the 16 Style Types is annoying, frustrating, confusing, and difficult in some ways to some people at some moments in time. That is the simple truth of it.
And part of embracing your Style Type is to embrace this aspect of yourself, without (or with as little as possible) chagrin, angst, anxiety, stress or defensiveness.
Which is a lot easier to say than to do! If our previous experience with negative feedback has been to clam up, withdraw, attack (the feedback itself or those giving it to us), punish the feedback giver (or anyone close by), or defend ourselves by justifying or rationalizing, then this can be a surprisingly new way of understanding of the less-than-positive ways we can impact others and that others can experience us.
It can be amazingly liberating, too – to let go of all the “stuff” surrounding critique, all the baggage and the hurt and the confusion. To accept that we aren’t perfect, and neither should we expect ourselves to be. To embrace the rich tapestry of our personalities which has both light and dark threads.
This is part of what makes Psychological Type so very fascinating – and such a wonderful tool for lifelong self-discovery.
The Type Journey of Self-Discovery
Each journey is unique, but some common stops along the way can include Relief and Acceptance; Amazement; Revelation; and Acceptance and Growth.
It’s interesting to reflect on your own journey of self-discovery so far: what have you learned?
Critique as Confirmation
Feedback we have received from some women receiving their Style Type Report has been that reading about their Style Challenges was confirmation they had their Best Fit Type. That they had never before had their style (and personality, in general) challenges explained so clearly, and with such care. That being able to embrace all of themselves, including their blind spots and challenge areas, was strangely liberating and cleansing.
And this is the lifelong pathway of self-discovery and growth that psychological type offers us. It gives us a way of understanding ourselves (and others) that is free of judgement.
There is no type that is better or preferred to any other type. Each is unique, and beautiful, and valid.
Your Style Type is the one that’s right for you – that best represents how you take in information, make decisions, are energized, and how you approach the world. It is no better or worse than any other Style Type.
Your Style Type extends an invitation. It invites you to learn about yourself, in all your perfect imperfection.
It invites you to embrace all aspects of yourself, to forgive yourself and others for not understanding in the past, to cherish who you know yourself to be now, and to grow in self-determined and significant ways.
Your Style Type can help you drop unhelpful messages from the past, to reframe old imprints that no longer serve, to check assumptions that may be outdated or simply incorrect, and to define for yourself what you want your style journey to be.
Take a moment now to pause and consider your own self-discovery journey. Below are 10 self-reflection questions to ponder.
You may wish to simply think about your responses to each, or you may wish to write your responses down, or perhaps draw something in response to what you are thinking and feeling.
If you would like to share your responses in the Comments, we’d love to know what your reflections are!
- What has your experience of self-discovery through the lens of Type been like so far?
- How have you felt and what have you thought about discovering and understanding your Style Type?
- What have you learned about others?
- What difference has learning about your Style Type made in your life thus far? To your style?
- How has learning about yourself through the lens of your Style Type changed your way of being?
- Have there been any uncomfortable or challenging aspects? What has that been like for you?
- How has learning about your Style Type contributed to you feeling more at home and authentic? What has that been like for you?
- What has surprised you?
- What have you un-learned?
- What are you looking forward to now?
Your style journey is yours to claim, in all its perfect imperfection, all it’s light and shade. Our mission is to provide you with resources to claim your authentic, unique and beautiful style journey in entirely the right way for you.
We know that your style journey will be like no other woman’s style journey. That even other women of your Style Type will define and travel their individual style journey’s differently to you. And that is not only okay, it is perfect. Discover your Style Type, and begin your authentic style journey, today.