The Templar Mirror: Is It Genuine?
Templars are mirrors. The four Templar types — ESTP, ISTP, ENFJ, INFJ — more than any other types, reflect the behavior and values of those around them. The combination of Extraverted Feeling (Fe) and Extraverted Sensing (Se) in the Ego equips Templars with an uncanny and usually unconscious trait of reflection.
When you are interacting with a Templar, they naturally adjust to you. From adapting to measures in tone, body language, and other Se characteristics, to taking on the values and reflecting the emotions that are passing through you with their Fe, they are walking mirrors.
But the Templar mirror, while a fascinating feature, opens the door to a few concerns. The first concern is authenticity. In Season 17, Chase discussed the Virtues and Vices of the Quadra’s. The Templar’s vice was hypocrisy. With their Fe + Se, they are hyper-aware of the consistency and strength in other people’s character. They can certainly be wrong about someone’s character initially, but, more than the other types, the Templars are hypocrisy-detectors.
However, as it turns out, the reason that the Templars are so precise in their hypocrisy detection is that they themselves struggle with Hypocrisy the most. This pattern — that our awareness reveals our weakness — can be applied to all types and all four Quadras. But, the “Templar mirror,” plus the vice of Hypocrisy, reveals a key question that cuts to the core issue of Templar development and integration: Are Templars genuine?
Where Does Genuineness Come From?
If we are going to do justice to the Templars and thoroughly answer if the mirror is genuine, we have some defining to do. If we are going to ask if they are genuine, we first have to ask: What is “genuine?”
Intuitively, most of us probably have a sense of what genuineness is. One of dictionary.com defines “genuine” as: “free from pretense, affectation, or hypocrisy; sincere.” And another, “Not counterfeit; authentic; real.”
Real, sincere, authentic … what do all these words point to? Identity. “Real, sincere, and authentic” to yourself. Genuineness is measured in relation to one’s expression of their own identity. The answer to our question is identity. Identity is the source of genuineness.
For the Templars, however, the topic of “genuineness” opens a new can of worms. Of all the Quadra’s, a Templar’s identity is supremely complicated. Why is their identity complicated? Because of how profoundly they are immediately affected by those around them.
Templars mirror because their Se acts as a quick, almost instant reflection. And Fe only makes this process more potent. Templars begin to perceive their own identity based on how the people around them perceive themselves. Meaning, if they are around someone with high self-esteem, that same self-esteem will start to spread into the Templar’s perception of themselves. And vice versa. The line between a Templar’s own identity and the identities of those around them quickly becomes blurred.
The Templar puzzle of identity is complicated because every time they are around a new person for long enough, their identity appears to change. Here our next question emerges: Do Templars have individual identities at all?
Who are you, really?
It may seem like a silly question: Do Templars have an identity? The obvious answer is, “Of course they do, everyone has an identity.” But the question becomes less silly when we really start to understand the conundrum we’re in. If the Templar mirror is a true phenomenon, can we really say that Templars have an identity of their own?
Is identity not simply having a self that is separate and distinct from other people? But a Templar draws most of their behavior from the people around them. They define themselves primarily in relation to other people. What if their identity is solely comprised of the sum of people they spend time with?
Well, let us start simply by defining the word. From dictionary.com, “identity” is:
- “The state of remaining the same one or ones, as under varying aspects or conditions.”
- “The sense of self, providing sameness and continuity in personality over time.”
If “providing sameness and continuity in personality over time” is what defines “identity,” then no, Templars do not have an identity of their own. Templars are merely the collective reflection of those around them and have nothing to offer the world besides what they borrow from other people.
Let’s hope this is not true.
To solve this dilemma let’s consider a Templar’s identity from a different perspective. What if the mirror itself is what provides “sameness in continuity in their personality over time”? It falls under the same umbrella as those who claim they are “consistently inconsistent.” Perhaps a Templar’s malleable identity is their identity. Perhaps a Templar’s separate and distinguishable aspects of identity are that they are unseparated and indistinguishable from others’ identities.
Is your brain melting yet? Mine is. Let’s zoom out a bit.
The nature of the problem we are facing is, in some respects, a chicken or an egg problem. Is someone’s identity established after they are shaped by human nurture, or before? The answer, the best that we can tell, is both. But does this help us answer the question regarding the Templars?
One problem is we are used to trying to pinpoint identity to a single source. But identity is a nebulous and mysterious concept. There is always more beneath the surface than we’ll likely discover about our own or others’ identities.
Despite the mystery of identity, there are aspects of the Templars that we haven’t looked at yet: namely, their introverted cognitive functions.
Extraverted & Introverted Functions
All types have two extraverted functions in their Ego. Though Templars are very sensitive to the identity of people around them — Fe + Se being the most socially aware combination — it is vital to understand that all of us — every type — exist in relation to other people. No one’s identity is formed or sustained by internal processes alone. Extraverted functions absorb the incoming energy from others and that energy, over time, will shape our identity in fundamental ways.
But, we are more than our extraverted functions, just as we are more than the circumstances that surround us. The Templar mirror, composed of Se & Fe, represents only half of the cognition in their Ego. We have looked outward, now we must look inward, to their Ni & Ti.
Ni is about choice and it is tied through Axis to Se because Templars see what’s around them and then make choices based on the options available. Likewise, Ti is tied through Axis to Fe, because Templars can process what other people around them feel and value. They mine the value systems of others to see what is verifiable, what is not, and find the ground that’s solid enough to stand on through their Ti processing.
Why are their introverted functions important? They are important because it slightly modifies the claim that “Templars are mirrors.” Yes, they are — but they are NOT JUST mirrors that mindlessly reflect what is around them. They can do that, but they can also choose and think.
For example, what if a Templar can’t escape the people they’re around — such as being a dependent child in a family? Should they still be held accountable? Most likely. But, if we are going to discern the character of a Templar accurately, that judgment is most accurate only after a Templar has experienced independence.
We’ve already established that a Templar’s integrity vs. hypocrisy is going to be embodied by the strength of character of the people around them. But there is an important modification. What we have not yet established is that a Templar does have an internal source of integrity, and it lies in what they choose with their freedom of choice.
The Power of Ni’s Choice
For ENFJs, INFJs, ESTPs, and ISTPs, mirroring is an instinct. They cannot help it, nor should they be asked to help it. It is part of who they are and the faster each Templar accepts that they are a walking mirror, the faster their capacity to develop integrity grows. But, unless their power to choose (Ni) and ability to process (Ti) is actively used, their Se and Fe will unconsciously mirror without filtering, and they will become helpless to the pull of those around them.
A Templars’ true integrity lies in their choices. What and who they choose is up to them. They may be a mirror, yes, but they are a mirror with two hands and feet that can choose where it wants to go. A mirror that is nailed to the wall is a victim of its environment and powerless. But a human mirror, with the capacity to move — to choose — does not have to be a victim forever.
Ni is the primary mover here, but Ti — the ability to process the other half of the mirror (Fe) — is an essential tool to leverage their freedom of choice. A Templar must use their Ti. This is harder for the NFJs, who are more willing to turn off their Ti because their Fe can be overpowered by what someone else values. But still, both the STPs and NFJs, if they want to develop their integrity, must use their Ti in order to understand if they should continue to be around someone or not.
Fe can get carried away with what someone could become one day. Templars can imagine a person, fully healed and realized, and how quality of a person they could be! But Ti often interrupts this dream with the bitter, but necessary, pill of reality. It says: that dream ain’t real.
For the Templar who has difficulty cutting ties, processing through someone else’s actions, values, and hypocrisy will provide some strength to walk their mirror to other people.
And if there is no escape?
One of the hardest places for a human being to be is in an environment where they cannot escape. This is perhaps the most difficult for Templars, where they become like the mirror nailed to the wall, a victim of their environment. This is not to say that Templars caught in bad situations have zero responsibility for what they do. But it is to say that if you naturally mirror your environment, and your environment is toxic, and you can’t go anywhere, that quickly becomes a very heavy burden to bear. The longer the burden is forced, the more the Templar loses hope.
So, what can you do when your mirror is nailed to the wall? Perhaps you are a child caught in family disruption. Perhaps you have been imprisoned and you cannot escape. Perhaps you are pulled into a relationship that is eating away at you, but you know you don’t have the resolve to leave. What can you do?
At the risk of crossing the line into giving unsolicited advice, I will share three thoughts. Because this problem of having your choice taken away — whether it was the result of your personal choices or not — is a crushing problem that every Templar (and, frankly, every human being) has faced or will face.
1) Fight as hard as you can to keep your hope alive and seek healthy attention.
A Templar’s fuel for life is shared between their hope and the attention they receive from others. But, because attention relies on other people, the primary fight for a trapped Templar is to keep their hope alive. Hope is their primary means of survival, especially in a trapped place.
If there are ways to get healthy attention from others in your immediate or nearby environment, consider that attention is the thing that fuels the fuel. Getting other people’s Si will replenish your Ni, and be that much more important in keeping your hope alive. Also, consider allowing yourself to think about wanting what it is you actually desire, even for a moment at a time. Hope is the fuel your soul runs on.
2) Leverage your freedom of choice as much as possible.
Fighting for the small choices in the day can empower your soul to survive. This is a more constant for the higher Ni users, but hope is hope, and choice is choice, and the STPs still relish the freedom to choose. So, even if it comes down to choosing what to eat for a meal, what to read for learning, and when and when not to do certain things, these can make all the difference in a difficult, trapped place.
A choice is a choice, no matter how big or small. And when you choose something, that choice is yours and it belongs to you.
3) When it’s time to move on, move on.
Fe guilt is a powerful force that keeps people in situations they shouldn’t be in. One of the hardest lessons that a Templar struggles to learn is to value themselves enough to walk away from other people — especially people they love.
But, when the day comes when you can finally escape the trapped place, what will you do if you feel yourself being pulled back into the folds of your “prison”? If you feel pulled to stay in that toxic environment, it is likely because you feel guilt toward the people still trapped there.
Maybe you have family there, maybe you have friends there, maybe you have someone that you don’t want to live life without there. But it is vital to remember that rarely will any force on earth be able to redeem a toxic prison into a paradise. Your guilt will keep you prisoner if you let it. So, consider what it would take to give yourself permission to exercise your freedom of choice, and pursue a life that fuels your hope.
Sometimes Templars direct their hope at hopeless things. These “hopeless things” are often a person or a place that refuses to be redeemed. If this is the case, don’t use your hope on hopeless things. Mercy is important, but not everyone wants to be saved.
Sometimes a Templar must respect the choices that people have made — even if those choices, made by a loved one, will lead to their own destruction. There is a time to stick around and help people who need it, but there is also a time to leave them behind. Be careful using your hope to jump back into the same ditch you just emerged from, hoping that it will not be a ditch when you land back in it. A ditch, a prison, a trapped place… it’s all the same. Give hope to those who have a future, not to those who will destroy yours.
The Potency of Action
“You will know them by their fruits.” — Jesus Christ
All Se users value action. And how could they not? None of them naturally discern motive from their Ego, after all. And, out of all the types, the two STP Templars are the most concerned with action; the NFJs are not far behind. It is no coincidence, then, that the above scripture comes from a Templar.
It is no wonder, also, that action becomes the testing ground for a Templar’s integrity. Because, at the end of the day, however deep into the mirror the Templar reflects those around them, they still maintain the capacity for choice. And integrity demands that they hold themselves responsible for the path they choose, and the people they choose to mirror.
A Templar’s integrity, then, can be measured in relation to the quality of the people they reflect. The discernment of the quality of their character must be made in light of the number of choices they have had in tandem with the amount of independence they have gained. But, a Templar’s integrity, like the rest of us, can be discerned in their actions.
We did not completely solve the question of identity in this article. I wish we could, but “identity” has and will continue to be enigmatic — and it remains elusive and contextual. But, I hope we have made some progress in unearthing some of the nuances linked to personality and individuality. Perhaps one of the main principles of existential philosophy can guide us here: that identity is co-created through choice and action.
If the existentialists are right, then every moment and every choice is an opportunity to etch the definition of our identity. And despite circumstances, however difficult they may be, a Templar can only find integrity when they embrace what it means to choose. Like Carl Jung said, “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” What will you mirror, Templars? Choose wisely — which is to say: choose deliberately.
Ti is tied through Axis to Fe, because Templars can process what other people around them feel and value.
A great concept I’ll be using a lot. Thanks.
What an eye opener! I realized that I took on others identities years ago, and thought it a ‘flaw’ in my character. I also became aware that I ‘mirror’ others. It’s knee jerk but now that I’m aware I’m able to make a concious choice most if the time, if I can keep my emotions down. Ive conciously surrounding myself with High Vibe information and unfortunately don’t have many ‘trusted’ people..I stay isolated a lot.. otherwise people’s negativity becomes almost unbearable.
For what it’s worth I’m an 57 year old INFJ female who is also being assessed for Aspergers at the moment. This is fascinating to me. Thank you.
Thanks for sharing. I imagine most Templars have thought the mirror to be a “flaw” at some point. But, like most things, the mirror is a tool, and it can be used well or poorly.
This would also help explain why Delta quadra, their cognitive opposites, find it so hard to change.
Exactly. They have the least fluctuating identity and are great compliments to the Templars’… instability (:
, processing through someone else’s actions, values, and hypocrisy will provide some strength to walk their mirror to other people.
The above statement is specially true for INTPs who can easily be pulled down by their inferior Fe.
Because as the Socionics 4-D model accurately notes INTPs value both Ti and Fe 4/4.
But in actual strength, Ti hero = 4/4 and Fe inferior only 1/4.
So INTPs need to really focus on Ti processing external value systems as being true or false over sinking into emotional thinking when choosing a romantic partner or close friend.
Agreed, the statement applies to all Fe users. It’s so difficult for Fe Inferiors, especially, to give themselves permission to realize they don’t need other people’s validation to provide insane value.
I struggle with knowing what my identity is. Everything in this article is accurate. Thanks for writing it.
It’s one of the hardest things to try and resolve. I’m not sure if there is a final “resolution” to identity — I doubt there is. Studying storytelling has helped me a lot, because our understanding of a character is revealed through what they do, particularly under tense situations. It’s hard for Templars to accept that a big part of who they are comes from those around them. Most of us want an identity all to ourselves. For better or worse, it just isn’t that simple (:
I sincerely enjoyed reading this article (so well written also)! Being a templar myself, I can totally relate to the reflexions that are made. I’ve always struggle with my personal identity, it’s always been “blurry”. I find that with time and maturity, it -slowly- begins to be more clear and well defined. I wish I’d known all that when I was a teenager 😉
It’s also interesting to notice that from others’ point of view, templars can seem to be pretty authentic people. That’s a quality I’ve often been told by friends. Maybe the mirror effect is so good that people don’t realize what’s going on inside!
I’ve experienced the same thing being called sincere, authentic, etc. … I’m not sure if any Templar often feels that way inside. I loved what you said, “People don’t realize what’s going on inside!” & couldn’t agree more.
“It’s hard for Templars to accept that a big part of who they are comes from those around them. Most of us want an identity all to ourselves”
What amount of a Crusader’s identity come from other people? Is their particular “crusade” a bigger influence on their identity than others around them?
As I understand it, what we commonly understand as identity primarily comes from Si + Fi. So a Crusader, on paper, would be half as troubled with identity as Templars. I don’t think it’s that simple, though, because having Ne + Fe still makes you pretty external. I think your read is a real possibility, where their mission eclipses their individual identity. That is part of being an Fe user in general. Templars are the most external, though.
It’s all choice? Always has been.
When i watch 2-3 Guys on Yt consitently, do i Mirror them the same/less/or not.
And as an Templer it might be the best move to have more mentors at first (im 19yo), then people to help which are below you.
Great Article 😀
Thanks for the Work, I really appreciate it
From my own experience, I would say Templars still mirror people online, etc. but the effect is definitely compounded in physical proximity. But, everything that is observed or seen, no matter how close or far, will affect you on some level. Thanks for the kind words (:
Fantastic reflection about mirroring!
I’ve thought about this often particularly when pressed by high Fi users to show consistent identity.
I think that being aware that you’re a mirror is already elucidative.
For sure I’ll be more aware of what you’ve pointed out on choice from now on:)
Personally, since I’ve also struggled a lot with this, I’ve been tackling it, not as much through Ti as you suggested, but through an awareness of the rhythms in my body.
So, I have the premisse that a relaxed body is an honest one and I use it to remind myself to observe my own rhythm.
By relaxed I mean minimal effort, so perfect sync between inner&outer rhythms.
Every time you’re mirroring there’s a particular movement to it, a frequency, somewhat like a music.
I noticed that there is a subtle level of attunement in between you’re own rhythm (truth) and that. And even if you’re really low Si and can’t label it as discomfort, you’ll be able to notice it as when you don’t particularly feel a certain music.
I read it as a cue for action into change either I have the will and strength to act on it or I get out, if I don’t I’m not being responsible.
Also I’ve learned to humble myself enough to actually explain to people that I mirror them and I feel that it freed me from the burden of believing I’m expected to show consistency.
Templars are fast changing interactive expressions and that sounds like fun to me.
I would like to add that understanding ourselves is a stepping stone into loving ourselves.
We got to play templars, lets enjoy it, celebrate it, grow it and give our best out of it. Hopefully every type will get to do the same.
I love this: “So, I have the premisse that a relaxed body is an honest one and I use it to remind myself to observe my own rhythm.
By relaxed I mean minimal effort, so perfect sync between inner&outer rhythms.
Every time you’re mirroring there’s a particular movement to it, a frequency, somewhat like a music.”
There’s always a deeper, more fundamental layer going on in every interaction.
An amazing article as usual! From an INFJ perspective, I would like to add that whenever the “mirror” concept is discussed, I feel like we need to realise that often, Templars (or INFJs at least) are not always just a direct reflection of what the situation/person IS, but rather what a situation NEEDS. I often find myself filling in roles that I can feel a social situation, or an interaction with a person, NEEDS me to be. There is an instinctual understanding of what the person/situation [non-verbally] calls for. The malleability of personality makes us perfect for filling in the “social gaps”. So I would say that (broadly) I consider my identity to be the person that others/society/the world need me to be.
This is an excellent point. Fe + Se will also spread to find the empty spaces and fill the cracks. Well said.
I’ve got an ESTP and INFJ friend. Yes, they can be such hypocrites sometimes, because of their mirroring, and it can be really easy to see through them, but they are still one of the most genuine people I know!
I feel like with everything I do, I do to service me (INFP.)
But with them, even if I can realize that the reason they’re doing a good deed or kindness is only because they have been externally influenced, their intent is still so pure!
The REASON for their actions may not be internally sourced, but their INTENT usually comes across as pure.
“who are more willing to turn off their Ti because their Fe can be overpowered by what someone else values”
I don’t feel overpowered by other people values and I’m aware of values that are highly corrupted. – INFJ outcast
Feeling accepted around corrupt people is an exchange a lot of Templars are willing to make for their integrity — whether they are aware of it or not. But, if you choose to take rejection on the nose, your integrity will be much harder to break.
I still have choice whether other people values can influence me or not
Yes! The Si relaxing of my body (I’m esfj) and processing it through my Ti when I’m alone really seems to iron in details about myself that stick. It’s like listening to my body for when it relaxes is the answer about myself. That’s how I understood myself so much. I still do struggle though and I know it’s from that lack of Fi. Like if I show someone something I think they will like them I will like it but if they don’t like it then I won’t either and it just goes away after that unless I challenge it and give up the Fe to maybe use Fi? But only for experimenting psychologically because I can never hold Fi for too long without feeling lonely and wanting to share someone else’s. I still don’t understand the Fi nemesis use as it always seems to be overwritten and undervalued yet chase and people say incorporate your shadow.
This what meant in reply to Mariana’s comment but also to get Johns perspective as well
Great article, especially “Keep hope alive And seek healthy attention.” Sometimes it’s hard to balance this desire for attention and the knowing that I really need to prioritize myself and reserve my energy. Sometimes I really need the good energy; but, again, with not prioritizing the people that energize me, I end up draining all my energy by constantly “doing,” or getting pulled into events that are worthless because so-and-so is asking.
It’s also hard, w/ Se parent, trying to let go of “helping” people that I love, when they are being irresponsible with their health, etc. I realized at some point that it was my own fear of losing options for my future, by feeling that I would have to take responsibility for their care. So, I just unburdened myself from that, though it took some time.
Don’t forget we keep some values temporarily ( and a few permanently ) and when we still have those around you we are going to mentor you and instill some of us into you or let’s say some of many other people haha , so we mirror you + a part we put in there , we imprint you .
Also this way we feel like bees who take pollen from place to another , we transmit morals and ideas across different fi and ti users and that’s how change is judged then made .
Just as the Templars are double process/output in the input, process … model. Templars are like humanity’s collective processors. It makes identity that much harder to understand.
“Meaning, if they are around someone with high self-esteem, that same self-esteem will start to spread into the Templar’s perception of themselves. And vice versa. The line between a Templar’s own identity and the identities of those around them quickly becomes blurred.”
(ISTP) Interesting thought. Personally, I’ve always wondered where my self-esteem came from. My current understanding is that it came from realizing and valuing my strengths and competencies, but this is not something I’ve necessarily been taught or have (consciously) seen in action while growing up.
I believe the mirror (or the chameleon, as I’ve called it in the past) to be a coping and evaluation mechanism. As I’ve been fairly awkward in the past due to inferior FE, imitating behaviors helped me to (subconsciously) 1) evaluate what works in social contexts, and 2) implement it so that I can function and cope in social groups, and it works splendidly.
Nevertheless, I wouldn’t go so far as to strongly tie it to my identity. I’d leave it at coping and evaluating. As also written in the article, my identity comes from my values, and those values are gained by analyzing (TI) the world (SE) and then shown by my contributions and deeds.