April 13, 2011
Myers-Briggs would call the Protector, an “INFJ.” While The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) was designed based on Jungian work to understand human psychological types, I wonder if the assessment might be applicable to other species as well. The above image and embedded video showcases the beautiful intuitive nature and nurturing of non-verbal engagement. It is highly probable that the male deer, as protector, is classified with the INFJ personality type: Introverted (by nature), Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging.
The INFJ type is introverted, meaning they focus their attention and get their energy inwardly. The “N” describes how one takes in information intuitively vs. sensing. The “F” denotes how one makes a decision by feeling, rather than thinking; (and many of us lob back and forth between thinking and feeling). The “J” refers to how one orients to the external world using judgment or perception. The INFJ is one of 16 Myers-Briggs types and it illustrates a dominant or general classification, not a written-in-stone-‘you-are-this-way.’
When my brother was visiting from Milwaukee last week, we mused on the idea (that if we had to), what one word might we select to describe our father. While our Dad has many wonderful attributes, if I had to classify him with one word, it would be the “Protector.” And like most Coach Poppy newsletters, and ease of segue in timing of this story, it of course, got me to thinking about the associations and perceptions I attach to the word, Protector, as it relates to our father.
Our Dad is like this male buck in the poignant image above. Silently and mindfully, without words, the buck intuits exactly what is needed for the seemingly vulnerable female goose. Safety and well-being is of utmost concern for the recipients of the protector. Words are not necessary, because, empathically (and simply), the deer knows how to be, well… dear. In all situations.
One researcher at BSM Consulting described the protector, (INFJ) as one who likes things systematic and orderly in his/her outer world, and who continually re-defines the priorities in their lives. Protectors have such heightened intuitive instincts and often discover later, that their instincts were right, when they receive factual confirmation to support their initial thoughts and feelings.
Sometimes, as in the case of the deer and goose above, the protector has an uncanny insight into people and situations and understands what is going on a deep intuitive level. Often protectors are masterful at reconciling complex feelings and thoughts, and are “as genuinely warm as they are complex.” The protectors hold a special place in the heart of people to whom they are close; they are able to see their special gifts and depth of caring. “They are concerned for people's feelings, and try to be gentle to avoid hurting anyone.” (BSM Consulting, 2011)
When a human onlooker came close to where the goose was nesting, the male deer abruptly stood up and stood as barricade to the nesting goose in the urn. For me, it seemed counterintuitive to my thinking, in that, I often hear the expression: “like a deer in headlights.” The intuitive nurturing and protectiveness of the deer both trumped and dispelled its own behavioral traits.
Both my brother and I have been blessed to have been raised by loving and nurturing parents, and according to Myers-Briggs, both my brother and I might have some of our Dad’s protector-like qualities. If one can learn this trait, (or possibly even, intuit it), then indeed, we learned from the best.
Try on the “protector gear” and discover what special gifts you might be able to recognize in those for whom you have great care.