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First Archetypes

Monday June 8, 2020

Back when I was first exploring the subjective intuition, the universe assembled an absolute unit of a three-member team to help me out. They were wherever I needed them to be, and I turned to them for feedback, new insights, and comfort.

Overall it was an amazing, life-changing experience, even though it began in a very simple way: One day I tried to imagine some people coming to help me out, and there they were.

(Years before this happened, I had read a tiny bit about this in Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, but his version, called “Invisible Counselors,” never really clicked for me. His description made it sound far too noble, composed, brilliant, and stuffy. And I think I already was enough of those things, or thought I was.)

Here are those first three people I met, and what I learned from them.

Explorer ENTP Guy

This person swung into my backyard on a vine. Dressed kind of like Indiana Jones. That’s how cool his entrance was. He was hyper-excited by life, though; a bit more scientific and nerdy than Indiana Jones. I think this version of Lindybeige gets a little bit close to the imagined-experience, in terms of both dress and general level of interest in things.

This character was really exciting in a few ways:

  • First, THANK YOU GOD FOR NOT SENDING LITERAL SATAN OR SOMETHING was maybe my repressed line of thought at the time. I was pretty fundamentally religious at this point, and I think it would have been just one more annoyance on the pile. Like c’mon, send somebody cool and also not foreboding. And this was just an ordinary person. Not perfect or inscrutable by any means. That felt really good, because I knew I could be quite a perfectionist with my personal development.
  • Speaking of cool, I’d say this person made me feel cool for being nerdy and excited about life. He encouraged that part of me. You see? Cool is contextual. So my resonance with this person was very exciting in that way, as it made me feel a sense of permission and encouragement that I hadn’t felt before.
  • Finally, he was always off to explore some new thing. He wasn’t there for me because he loved me or anything like that. But he was happy to help where he could, and offer some gentle insights. When I needed a quick consult, I would always catch him in the middle of heading somewhere, or doing something interesting. I think I needed to feel that “if you blink you might miss something interesting” energy. At any given moment there’s always something interesting going on, and this feeling helped propel me out of depression-land.

For a lot of INTJs I know, this is all good stuff. More of that kind of person in their life would be helpful, because while it’s a bit of a push and a stretch, it’s maybe more of an intellectual push and stretch, which is straight-across compatible with their huge brains.

Incidentally, my big brother is a lot like this guy. When we can hang out or do a call, it’s pretty fun to explore new ideas or new inventions or new places, and his energy is really infectious. When we exchange text-based messages, it’s a bit different though. It’s like we’re competing to see who can squeeze in the most uses of the word “interesting”. Interesting.

Dark ISFP Girl

This girl was kind of a goth. Oh right, links. I mean, goth. She was my energy accountability muse. I would work super hard and then look over and just realize I was killing her over there. So depressed and sad! I was breaking the goth! Dammit. Never break the goth. Help the goth. Make the goth more comfortable. Support the goth.

Anyway, she needed attention:

  • Can we relax a bit, just enjoy a nice break?
  • Is all that exertion really worth it?
  • How could we take better care of ourselves?

Because yeah, part of me was this neglected goth girl. The thing I really respect about people like this is that they are good at paying attention to their feels, right? That was important for me at the time. Recall that one of my big answers to my “why am I suffering from depression” question was “you are pushing it too hard, just overworking yourself in the name of very little that is making you feel good.” There was no attention to my feels. And that’s pretty much always gonna draw out the goths, I’m thinking.

We didn’t talk much. She let me talk all I wanted, and in exchange I could easily intuit the way she felt, which completed the feedback loop. I would reflect on her and go, “well OK. Let’s change contexts a bit here, then we’ll do A, B, and C and that will help.”

Chill ISFP Guy

I know, it’d be nice if there was some symmetry here. One ENTP guy, and then a couple ISFPs? What the duck! Eh, I never claimed this would be some kind of masterpiece of self-contained logic…

Chill ISFP guy reminds me of Joel McHale in a way. Similar looks. Not at all a comedic actor though. He was a member of a band, and they played post-rock music, kinda like The Mercury Program.

This guy gave me some very good advice that helped me deal with anxiety in public. This is back when I was still scoring relatively high on measurement tools like the Burns Anxiety Inventory (PDF). I was regularly scoring in the high 30s, which put me in the “Severe Anxiety” zone.

One super helpful thing about his advice was that it was mostly contextual, and that really made a huge difference. He gave different advice based on each situation or event.

In fact, I had never realized how much I could use a context-specific plan or approach, going into a public setting or a family gathering. He helped me find my “point of most-socially-compatible chill” in a lot of ways. If I started to panic, I’d look down and there he was, sitting on the floor, leaning against the wall, relaxed. He offered a meta-perspective that helped me see new ways to navigate what otherwise seemed like difficult situations.

Chill ISFP Guy also had a special reconciliation talent that worked from the inside out. Rather than the ESFP-like outward-first, social-pressure-first reconciliation, similar to performance art, he would say, “look, here’s how you feel. And here’s what you can do so you can relieve some of the pressure, so you can feel better.” But he would continue to work outward from there, also covering the social bases, helping me spread good vibes to others. In this way I was able to navigate through some tricky moments socially while also taking care of myself and setting boundaries.

It was really hard for me to figure out ISFP guy’s personality type. The other two I had figured out within days. But I wondered about him on and off for months. ISTJ? Kinda…but no. INTJ? Sure! But no. When I finally came to terms with this unity of male-archetypes and feeler-archetypes and went, “oh, he’s an ISFP,” it was a fascinating moment. In the years following this experience, I built up quite a list of ISFP guys, as they are a healthy reference point for me in a lot of ways.

The Fade-out

After about a year, these friends started to fade. This was really sad at first. I didn’t see them or even need them as often. I think this is because the need had diminished. I tried my level best to integrate what they taught me, picking up some new directions and even new skills. I had also learned a lot of other methods for drawing on the intuition that don’t involve imagining and consulting these sorts of helpful people.

However, there are still times when I need their energy, and while it’s fun to know that a lot of different perspectives are available, I have also learned that I may have to be very conscious about reviewing and selecting archetypes for assistance. It’s still up to me to plan and decide what tools I want to use, and counting on the intuition to jump in and solve things automatically, without any conscious effort, is far from a safe bet.

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