please understand me!
This book is about personalities. What do I think about it? Let’s just say that I have been reading, rereading, thinking about, and internalizing this book for the last year. I know — it’s a little strange. I guess that’s why I don’t bring it up too often in conversation. I’ve found that most people are comfortable with what they already know about themselves and perceive these types of books (and people who read them) as only seeking to label, categorize, excuse, or validate them. They abhor the idea that someone else might restrain them to a “box.” But, this book isn’t about boxing people in; rather, this book is about freedom.
Never have we been so aware or sensitive about difference. We live in a time of political correctness. We know that everyone is unique: we think, believe, act, learn, and talk differently. Yet, we often project our own self onto others, right? We relate to people on our terms, in our own relational “language.” We impose our values and interests on others, assuming that they value the same things. I’m doing it right now. You see, I’m an idealist. According to Keirsey, the idealists value seeking identity. So, of course, I naturally assume that everyone else would find this book as valuable and revelatory as I do. Wrong.
So, what exactly is the point or value of this book? Well, as Patty Griffin sings, “’cause everyone’s singing they just want to be heard disappearing everyday without so much as word.” We can actually live our entire lives (in relationships with people) and never really feel heard or known. The value of this book is that it gives us tools to understand not just that we’re different, but how we’re different; it gives us contexts so that we can know and be known. So, if it’s true that everyone has something to say and a need to be heard, we can actually listen, understand, and receive them rather than strive to convince them or change them to be more like ourselves. Imagine.