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What Type of Person Are You?
Posted: Wed 09/26/2012 08:00 AM
By Caroline Myss
It seems that we never run out of ways to explore who we really are at the core of our inner being. Each new question we ask has the potential to open yet another passageway into the depths of our souls, revealing more about who we really are, what we need to make us happy, what ingredients we require to thrive in this life, and what values sustain us the most for the long haul on this journey of life.
What type of person am I, really? is yet another question that holds the key to a passageway of profound significance. After all, to what am I referring when I say "type"? Well, before I answer that, I want you to recall the habit we all have of meeting someone—or just observing someone—and immediately categorizing them as a way of identification. For example, as you maneuver your way through a crowded grocery store aisle, glancing at the faces of all the other people guiding their carts through the aisle, you are simultaneously doing a rapid mental labeling: "I bet that woman is a Mother. That guy looks like a typical Geek. That kid is such a Slob." Bam...one label flies out of your unconscious right after another as you walk through the familiar grocery store among unfamiliar faces. But these labels are not unfamiliar, are they? Not in the least. In fact, every single person you know would understand not only each of those labels but also the world of information they instantly communicate, because they are more than just labels: These words are archetypes, patterns of human behavior that all of us recognize.
Casually, at a glance, we refer to archetypes as labeling people, because that's what we do all the time. We do that because we are a species that needs to know what and who we are dealing with: friend or foe, neighbor or foreigner, fish or fowl, incoming or outgoing? Many people enjoy people-watching, and as they sit at outdoor cafés sipping on their coffees, they are reading people's archetypes as they walk by: "That person is probably an Entrepreneur. That guy is definitely a Bulldog type. That woman is pure Queen." We can't stop ourselves from reading each other's archetypes because these are our social and psychic magnets. The adage "birds of a feather flock together" is not just an old, familiar saying that has proven true more times than we can remember. It's true because archetypes of a feather flock together. You find the people you do in your life because your archetypes are your magnets, drawing you into your relationships—or, conversely, keeping you out of others.
If I told you that you were "speaking archetypes," you would probably give me a blank look and say, "I'm speaking what?" But that would be the truth. You are speaking archetypes—and furthermore, you are speaking this language of the unconscious fluently. You were born with an inherent knowledge of archetypal patterns because this is the language that unites us all to each other. We all recognize these patterns in each other instantaneously. It's unfortunate that the word "archetype" sounds so intimidating, whereas "labeling" is a word that doesn't scare you at all, right? But they essentially mean the same thing, and from childhood on, you have been labeling every person you see, beginning with the kids you went to school with. Remember? That kid was a Greaser, Class Clown, Teacher's Pet, Bookworm or Nerd. These labels are types of hybrid archetypes, categories we tossed each other into that reflected the type of power we saw in each other at a glance. Archetypes are exactly that: patterns that carry our power and project that power through our personalities and into the day-to-day details of our life, including who we are attracted to in our relationships.
So, what archetype(s) are you? As I wrote about in my book Sacred Contracts, there are countless archetypes in the cosmic field. Think of all the stars in the heavens and imagine all of those as archetypes. Now look just above you and imagine that there are 12 stars that are closest to you. Those stars, or archetypes, have the most influence upon your personality or nature in this life. After all, you could not possibly contain the power of all the stars in the galaxy—you would implode. We are all different people because we are all comprised of variations of archetypal patterns.
The following list is a sample of very common archetypes, as opposed to those that are not so common. For example, the Serial Killer is indeed an archetype. We watch television shows about people with that archetype all the time, don't we? But, thankfully, few people actually have that archetype, whereas millions of people have the Mother and Father archetypes, as you know. Every person has some variation of the Child archetype. Some have the Wounded Child or the Abandoned Child. Others relate more to the Nature Child. We are all different, and our differences are indeed rooted in our archetypes.
Knowing your archetypal patterns is the beginning of understanding why you are the way you are. This knowledge is, in other words, the entry into who you really are at the depth and core of your soul.
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You may be tempted to check off all of them, thinking, "I could be all of these." That would be an easy thing to do, given the brevity of the exercise, with very little time to truly explore the depth that the subject of archetypes requires. Having said that, let me just give you a heads-up: Be cautious about choosing both the Healer and the Rescuer. They are essentially very different archetypes, though they can appear within you to be the same pattern. They are not. If you feel drawn to both, take the time to truly ask yourself, "Do I feel called to be a healer, or do I respond to people needing to be rescued?" Take your time with this exercise and have fun.
Again, let me emphasize that this brief list is just a taste of the world of archetypes, but I bet you are already hooked. I invite you to come to my website, Myss.com, to explore my books on archetypes, particularly Sacred Contracts. Nothing is a more worthy adventure in life than discovering who you truly are.