Slaying Dragons

A number of years ago I got into a conversation with an INFP.  He was wearing this amazing ring that featured an ornate dragon winding around his finger.

Being drawn to fantasy and also prizing symbols, I remarked upon it.  

I told him that for a long time I had relied on the dragon as a symbol for overcoming my problems.  I felt that I had to "slay" a lot of dragons in my external world in order to evolve to the next level of existence.  Some of my energy was spent identifying "dragons" and then "slaying them" in order to move ahead with my life.

The fascinating part is that he countered by saying that he felt he had to overcome dragons too.  But his method was to mentally "eat" his dragons, to consume them.  He had to somehow integrate them into himself in order to evolve to the next level of existence.

What a different way of interacting with a symbol... and, by extension, with our problems.

I have sometimes wondered what sort of difference between us that was.  My external way of handling dragons was somewhat violent, and detached from myself, while his internal way of handling dragons was nonviolently absorbing them and bringing the "dragon energy" together to combine with himself.

I wonder whether this would be an extension of the directing/informing dimension, or an aspect of the J/P scale somehow, or just one of those weird metaphysical conversations only two Idealists can have with each other.

Do you slay your dragons or consume them?

I didn't think that much about this conversation until I encountered an INFP coaching client.  When I introduced him to the idea of the "Gremlin" and invited him to dissociate himself from the self-sabotating aspect of himself, he became intent on absorbing that side of himself and making it his best friend!  For the life of me, I could not get him to dissociate this side of himself -- he was determined to assimilate it instead.

That's when I remembered the dragon ring, and I thought maybe there was a pattern there.

Feel free to tell me what you think of this sorter...