Tyler approached me after my Myers Briggs presentation in his high school classroom. A tall young African-American man with long limbs and a wide smile, he’d asked engaging questions and made validating eye contact with me during my speech. There were a couple of other head- nodders and eye-contact holders in the class (Thank God for them!) but Tyler stood out. He had sincerity and a calming nature. As we spoke afterwards, he told me his father was encouraging him to get a business degree but he felt drawn to a field where he could help people. As an INFJ (Myers Briggs personality type), he definitely embodied the diplomatic communication skills of the Idealist temperament (NF) and the reflective skills of the introvert (I). He even mentioned carefully choosing the people in his life — keeping some close and letting some go. I praised him for his incredible self-awareness at such a young age. He thanked me for the information I imparted during my presentation.
I left the classroom just before the school bell chimed and hoards of kids flooded the hallways. I walked out into the brisk sunshine and noticed a significant uptick in my energy level. Perhaps it was because I was done with my presentations for the day (I had given one at 7:30AM as well), but I think it had more to do with the feeling of making a difference in someone’s life and the deep resonance I felt talking with Tyler. Every once in a while, I meet someone whose vibe is completely in line with mine. There is a warm, smooth, feeling of complete mutual understanding and enlightenment that is palpable and uplifting. The connection is somewhat spiritual. I feel absolutely at home and at ease, a soul mate connection.
Soul mate definitions
I have two seemingly contradictory views of the phrase soul mates. Both types of soul mate encourage personal evolution through relationship (not necessarily a romantic relationship). I think of soul mates as individuals who are either exactly on the same page as you temperament and values-wise therefore validating your very being or as individuals who are vastly different from you temperament-wise but meant to be a part of your life in order to teach you something.
In the above classroom situation with Tyler it obviously was not a romantic soul mate connection, but it was a meaningful meeting of two spiritually similar temperaments. I see you in me and me in you.
In his book, Please Understand Me II, Dr. David Keirsey talks about four temperaments. They are based on the sixteen personality types as defined by the Myers Briggs Personality Inventory. Keirsey’s four temperaments are as follows:
Artisans (SPs): Action oriented, bold, impressive, like risk and adventure. Need freedom to follow their impulses. Usually quite skilled with tools —anything from a scalpel to a bulldozer to a fighter plane. Often athletes, actors, entrepreneurs, musicians, rescue team workers.
Guardians (SJs): Deep need to belong. Membership oriented. Dutiful, responsible, and loyal. Pillars of society. Often work in large institutions like hospitals, the government, military, churches, schools, etc. Great with logistics and following through. Accountants, family doctors, dentists, pharmacists, bankers.
Rationals (NTs):Theory based. Need competence and achievement. Calm, serious and precise in thought. Can handle complex theoretical analysis. Probing. Excellent with systems. Mathematicians, scientists, philosophers, architects, computer science, engineers.
Idealists (NFs): Relationship oriented. Live to help others reach their full potential. Authentic. Ethical. Believe in self-actualization. Good rapport with others. Excellent diplomatic skills. Excel at written and verbal expression. Social workers, therapists, psychologists, teachers, writers, ministers, group facilitators.
I am an Idealist. If I was a sound wave I would be long wide waves of soothing tones. I prefer calm and relaxed environments where I can listen to and learn from people. I love a slow-paced lifestyle mixed with stints of excitement fueled by curiosity. My thoughts are often future-oriented. I see possibilities and try to thwart complications. I only know how to be true. I have the most difficult time playing the game (now, when I was younger this was not so). In a relationship, I cannot fake happiness, either I feel it or I don’t. You will know. I may try to sugar-coat or hide my feelings at first but they will definitely surface. I am constantly working on myself. I want beautiful relationships. I want harmony. I live for meaningful discussions with close companions. I choose my words carefully and often express myself through writing. Expression is essential for my well-being. I usually see the good in others but have a low tolerance for intolerance or meanness. If I can inspire someone, make them feel less alone or give them hope, I am in heaven.
When I meet other introverted idealists I am instantly smitten. It’s all namaste. The light in me honors the light in them. I’ve even met animals whose temperaments align with mine in this way. This is not to say that other temperaments cannot be soul mates. They certainly can, but it is a more complementary, learning based combination which sparks growth and love even, but may require more effort.
When I connect with my Idealist values or an Idealist individual it is almost effortless, my energy spikes and I feel purposeful and validated. As an introvert, I deeply appreciate ease and energy creation.
Are there individuals in your circles who especially energize you? What is your temperament? Does your significant other have the same or different temperament as you?