Climbing the Ladder of Personality

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Getting to be who you are.








To live in the world you must have a personality.




A typology helps us understand ourselves and others.
















The psychological and spiritual journey to wholeness has two broad phases. The two halves of life have different agendas. The first half of life focuses on the development of a personality and building a sense of yourself which is the ego. This phase of life involves differentiation of skills and abilities so you can be all that you can be. The second half of life involves integration or the pulling of all the disparate parts back together to make a unified whole. The passageway of midlife joins the first and the second halves of life. Midlife is the place of transition and transformation that is trying to aid you in your growth towards someplace positive.

In the first half of life you develop one identity of who you think you are. You then live it out until you find that it will no longer work. When this happens you have reached Campbell’s " … top of the ladder." You have become a one sided person with a significant underdeveloped potential that is calling for expression.

The Ladder of Personality Development

To live in the world you must have some sense of yourself. You must have a personality. You need an ego state from which to view experience. Let’s look at one popular model of personality development. It is the model of Carl Jung. Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and a contemporary of Freud. Freud studied adults and he developed a psychology of early development (Id, Ego, Superego, and the Oedipus Complex). Jung primarily studied people in the second half of life and developed a midlife psychology.

Types of People

The heart of Jung’s psychology is a typology of personality. A typology is a system for classifying data according to certain stable characteristics. A typology aids understanding. The classification of animals and plants into genus and phylum or into species and subspecies is an example of a typology. If you wanted to better understand trees, you might go into the forest and observe certain characteristics that always that are always present and grouped together and label them a pine tree. Another set of characteristics you might call an oak tree, and a third set could be an elm tree. With this typology whenever you went into any forest, you would be able to differentiate one tree from another. This typing of trees make the forest more understandable.

A typology always simplifies and some subtle details are lost but there is an increase in general understanding. Typologies facilitate a gain in the general understanding by making clear what commonalties exist. Typologies of personality help us understand human behavior. They also simplify, but clarity is gained and uniqueness is not lost. One pine tree or one person always continues to differ from every other and thus remains unique. Applied to people a typology takes the variety of human characteristics and puts them into a limited number of categories as an aid to understanding.

The Jungian model of personality is a typology. Once we lose the unconscious wholeness of infancy and the Garden we move out into the world. Here we must begin to make choices between the paired opposites of personality functioning. These opposites are seen in the attitudes of extroversion and introversion and the functions of sensation-intuition and thinking-feeling. The attitudes and functions represent preferences. Everyone has an inherent potential of all these choices. The seeds of each exist within us. They exist as opposites. As a result of life experience we emphasize one over the other. We make choices and these preferences then determine our personality style.

The choices are:

Extraversion Sensation Thinking Judging





Introversion INtuition Feeling Perceiving

The bold letters identify the preferences and together they yield a total of 16 personality types shown by various combinations of letters. For example,

ESTJ is the extraverted, sensation, thinking, judging type.

INFP is the introverted, intuitive, feeling, perceiving type.

For more information on personality types visit:

For a test of your personality type go to the
Keirsey Temperament Sorter

As we express our preferences our personality is formed. The first choice is that of Introversion/Extroversion.


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