Labels. Categories. Stereotypes. Diagnoses. They sure make things simple and easy don’t they? I especially love walking into a tea shop with dozens of jars of loose-leaf product labeled and sorted.
Black? Green? Rooibos?
Yum. Yum. Yum!
This fascination with orderliness started a long time ago and led to an encyclopedic knowledge of personality “typing” systems including:
- Myers Briggs
- Personality Disorders
- And much, much more!
I decided to break this addiction a few years ago. It took a LONG time to walk away. I can still guess people’s signs and numbers, I just keep it to myself (shh!). Sometimes, I get called out during parties but nobody wants to be figured out that easily. And nobody can. It’s way more fun to figure people out one sentence, one glance, one giggle at a time.
Ironically, overcoming this addiction was inspired by a friend who fit his own typography to a T and was quite angry to discover it. I still wonder if he acted that way because I “expected it” or because that’s who he really was?
Let’s throw that thought in the jar with the idea that “there is no spoon” and what exactly happened in Donnie Darko. K?
Lately, I’ve been talking to a friend who is big into Enneagram. It made me uncomfortable when he started discussing it. That was a tough addiction to break and now it’s obvious the time was spent because typing others was far easier than making sense of my self… Not only did I not seem to consistently fit a type, I did not want to fit a type.
It turns out there’s a type for that.
Once, at a job, I got labeled one type (a lion) because of a quiz I took. Once I sat down to work, they all decided I was another (a beaver). They never had a chance to see me around my friends and family, where I am often the complete opposite (a golden retriever). Nope, they tossed me into a jar. Kind of unfair in the end.
Labels, categories, barcodes… these things make tracking and organizing inanimate objects easy but they do not make living, hard work, emotional congruency or success any easier. If anything they make deep, emotional connection with others far more challenging. Who wants that?
Let’s all hop out of our jars, do a few calisthenics and see what a little fresh air can do.
Yes, Marc, I’m looking at you.