Many years ago I was given a book called Welcome Our Differences. This book was about the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory. The Myers-Briggs is a personality inventory that was invented by a mother-daughter team using Carl Jung’s psychology thought processes. It was brilliant, it was ahead of its time and it would become the largest personality inventory of its type in the world.
The message to the book and the Myers-Briggs was that we are all different and we have two choices….we can use these choices to connect or disconnect with others. Myers-Briggs encourages connecting by welcoming and understanding our differences.
This weekend I staffed a Warrior Weekend for the Mankind Project and our leader for the weekend, Martin Lassoff, brought this same energy to the weekend and expanded on it. Martin used the word “targeting”. It is how we identify certain groups of people and target them by taking our differences and making these groups “less than”. What I got back in touch with was that fear is the driving piece on why we target. What I learned in Myers-Briggs is that if we take time to know the differences then we can understand people that we perceive as different from us and understand them. If we understand them then we can connect.
I grew up in Texas and when I was younger I have been a racist, a homophobic, bigoted and always put myself out there as special. My truth is that I have walked into those circles with men of color, gay men, fat men, skinny men, and men of many other shapes, sizes, religions and other beliefs and have started to own my shadows around how I had targeted them. I also got in touch with my shadows on how I am a white privileged man who has been targeted because of who I am. This was a painful and wonderful experience to go through.
What I walked away from the weekend with was a commitment to myself to take the target off of everyone and to take time to learn about what it is like for other groups of men that are different from me. I want to welcome others and I want others to welcome me, for it is our journey together on this planet that will lay the ground work for my family, my children, and the future generations ahead of me……and hopefully someday this will include many wonderful grandchildren who will not have to go through what I did……that would make me happy.
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