The Music of Life: Sentimental Journey
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Have you had times when you blamed your troubles on your upbringing? Do people tell you you are just like your parents?
If you understand the motivations of your parents, teachers or caregivers, it may be easier to accept the way they went about raising or teaching you. It may help dissolve that lingering resentment or those recurring irritations. We cannot change the past, but we can change how we feel about it. This book is designed to help you find the inborn personality type of those people who raised you and in the process learn a little more about them.
From: The Music of Life: Sentimental Journey, by Nonen Titi
1. What Were They Thinking?
Am I close to my parents?
What do they tell me off for?
Am I acting like my parents did?
Why do my siblings see them so differently?
We cannot go back and change the past.
Many of us look back at our childhood and wonder what our parents or caregivers were thinking when they set their standards, enforced their rules (or not) and accepted the popular beliefs of the time (or not). It is easy to say “I’d never have done it that way” when looking at how they raised or taught you, or to blame your childhood troubles for the difficulties you experience today, but parents and teachers are only people too, each with their own hopes and dreams about love, jobs, family and about you, their child.
In general, parents do the best they can within the limits of the economic circumstances of their time, the social expectations of their environment, their own experiences and their “personality” types. These types influence what each of us find important in life and therefore what parents teach their children.
By looking at them in a specific way, assessing their type and how that differs from our own type, it becomes possible to get a glimpse into who our parents or teachers are (or were), why they worked the jobs they did, raised you with the beliefs they did and lived their lives the way they did, so, even if you can’t change the past, this guide may help dissolve lingering resentment or irritations.
As family members are seldom of the same type, understanding these differences also explains why you may remember a completely different childhood than your siblings. And if you are a parent now it may help you tackle some of the clashes you have with your own children.
The personality types used in this guide and their letter indicators were first written down by Carl Jung in 1921 and later completed and popularized by Myers-Briggs and David Keirsey, and the concepts belong to them. Here, instead of a self-assessment indicator in which you answer questions in order to discover your own type, the descriptions are directed at a third person – a person whom you, the reader, are trying to understand. These descriptions are based on the works of the people mentioned above and on fifteen years of observing and studying psychological types.
Sentimental Journey is one of four books originally published together in print as Playing with Natural Talents. It allows you to discover the psychological types of your parents, caregivers, teachers or grandparents.
You do this by choosing one person (for every new person you want to know the type of, start again from the beginning), read the descriptions with this person in mind (read “he” as “she” if you need to) and follow the instructions (YES or NO) according to which of every pair of descriptions fits the person best. At the bottom of every second description there is a reference to the quick-guides, which make a side-by-side comparison between each pair of opposing letters (traits) to be used in case you’re not sure. You can always reconsider an earlier choice. With every additional letter the picture of the person you have in mind will get a little clearer. It may help if you find out what your own typename is first.
Keep in mind that this is not an exact science: regardless of their typename, each person has to deal with the circumstances and opportunities their environment offers and some types are more inclined to follow the popular trends. Also remember that the descriptions are extremes intended to help you choose between two opposites and you may have to compensate for economic or social circumstances that force people into jobs or lifestyles that may have not been their natural choice – for example, preferred ways of ‘telling off’ a child are subject to social pressure, and gender differences play a larger role the further back in time you look. If there were two parents, one may have been dominant (couples often have opposing traits/letters) and hence made the rules. Last, be aware of your own prejudices; your overall happiness influences how you remember details.
The basic message of typology is that different people deal with information differently, that this is an evolutionary necessity and that this causes them to experience everything they encounter differently, so we can never assume to know what others are thinking, feeling, needing, sensing or how they experience life.
No matter how open-minded we try to be, our own psychological types always influence how positively or negatively we view the traits of others; we are stuck in our own type and nobody can look at other personalities objectively.
So enjoy the guide, and thank you for reading.
Nōnen Títi, INFP
2. Principled Truth
This parent trusts criteria – that is, specific points of reference (the formulaic units of mathematics, statistics or linguistics, and the measurements of time, space, or music) – and they are what he refers to in argument, requires as explanations, and gives as his reasons. He insists on being exact (“It’s six-point-eight degrees outside”) and says things as they are. But criteria are also the accepted facts (scientific or social), and so this parent considers criteria unbiased reasons to justify action; he insists that you get to the point and come up with answers: “Is that true?” If you have a problem with mathematics homework, this is probably the parent you turn to.
Despite using caring words, he tries to be ‘objective’ and to understand feelings, so he reasons with their learned definitions without considering that emotive values cannot be “true or false”; he misreads motivations because he attaches a logical reason to them. Additionally, he doesn’t quite know how to handle emotions; he may walk away or tell you to get over it, yet if stressed he may have an emotional outburst himself. Looking back, you may remember a very determined person who was more prone to criticism than cuddling.
When siblings quarrel he tries to be impartial, so either he punishes both – “when two people fight, both are guilty” – or he makes no call but insists that you talk it out. If you misbehave, he refers to the rules, not the circumstances, and he’s more inclined to withold praise or privileges than to express his personal feelings (partly due to cultural or gender influences), while punishment will follow logically from the incident: “You insisted on playing instead of doing homework, so now you can’t go out this weekend.”
If you are an emotionally sensitive person, you may consider this parent strict or distant. He may hurt your feelings with his tone of voice without being aware of it, and, since he values truth above compassion, he informs you of your mistakes in a direct manner. This doesn’t make him an uncaring parent, but simply one who uses his head to deal with the world.
3. Moods and Motivation
This parent trusts empathic values (the understanding of what motivates people and to what extent words or actions affect them) to guide the justification for his opinions or decisions; he takes care to consider and anticipate people’s feelings. These values form the limits of what is acceptable and are not rigid, because every situation is different, and he considers the overall atmosphere rather than the exact data: “It’s about six degrees, but it feels pretty nice.” If you need advice on how to deal with another person, you probably go to this parent.
He deals with data points in a similar manner, assigning “more or less” values without realizing that data has to be exact, and so he misreads logic, and, consequently, cannot deal well with mathematics or topics that require hard facts. A little white lie to restore the peace is preferable over an argument, and when you want something, he asks whether it will make you happy and not if it makes sense. Looking back, you may remember a caring person who was more prone to affection than logic.
He mediates between siblings, trying to make each see the other’s point and, if he punishes, he is aware that to treat both equally may affect them differently; thus if one enjoys being alone and the other hates it, you don’t send both to their room.
He prefers to restore harmony as quick as possible – “kiss and make up” – so he asks you to not cause a fight instead of criticizing your sibling for doing wrong, and when you misbehave, he refers to how your actions affect other people and this influences the severity of his response: “I know you tried your best, but it really hurts me that you failed.” However, you may be able to plea for consideration if circumstances influenced your behaviour. If stressed he himself may turn to unmotivated criticism.
If you are a rational person who prefers to take a step back from emotions, you may consider this parent oversensitive or inconsistent, but that’s because he values compassion above truth. This doesn’t mean that he’s an overbearing parent, but simply one who uses his heart when dealing with the world.