On their call about their book "Introduction to Type and Reintegration", Elizabeth and Katherine Hirsh did a great job clarifying that it may have been written with returning soldiers in mind, but that the concepts also apply in other home-coming situations.
The concept of home can be a concrete notion, e.g. a soldier returning from war, or a student returning from university or boarding school - for the holidays or indefinitely. Of course I would add the repatriate returning from an international assignment.
Home can also be intangible, in a sense that you may be returning to find yourself after a period of not being who you wanted to be or who you were meant to be, for example redefining your self after a divorce, or a cancer diagnosis and treatment.
One of the examples Katherine shared was that of a disaster relief worker, who spent some time in an obviously different internal and external environment, helping people survive. Upon returning home, none of her interactions had the same urgency and life-or-death aspect. Can you imagine what that felt like?
One of the keys I see here is not comparing apples to oranges. Every society and every person has their own level of complexity, and while most of us in the Western world complain on a higher Maslowian level, they are nonetheless situations that cause an emotional reaction. Self awareness through knowledge of Type helps us deal with our dramas more effectively, understand what causes them, and find ways to move through them quicker.
Next week my brother is coming back after four months in Afghanistan. I don't know how he and my parents are going to handle it, I don't know what he saw over there, how he felt, if he has regrets, or how it has made him stronger. I just hope he takes the time to reflect on it, and connect with us, his family, to help us understand what this time was like for him, in a way that is comfortable for him. While I'm at it, I'm also hoping to help my mother understand that her communication style is different than his and to let him come to her when he's ready.
Next week also marks the one year anniversary my father was diagnosed with cancer. The surgery went well, the follow-up visits all showed no return of those bad cells, and still his cousin told me today he still seems pensive.
Are you ever the same again after life-changing events?
I don't think so. I don't think that's the point, either. The point is, everyone at some stage in their life has to forge a "new normal," integrating your experiences from that period, recognizing how those experiences have impacted you, acknowledging and accepting the change, and learning how to reestablish connections with the important people in your life.
Call me a "J," but the MBTI(r) framework and the information in this booklet provide an effective list of tips and strategies how to do just that.
If you're returning home or have just welcomed a loved one home and would like to explore the benefits Type knowledge can add to your situation, consider taking an MBTI® assessment and reviewing the book.
Image by Grzegorz Lobinski, Flickr, Creative Commons License.