The Rival – Your inner opposition
Just as you have a set of values that you have naturally come to love, you have other values, that you in part need to live up to, but which may drain you of energy. How do you best deal with the inferior function? Ideally, this function serves the role of your rival. It’s values may be different but it’s a part of you – often a key part of things you do that you’re not aware of. Others may notice these sides in you more, so when learning about your rival function, don’t be surprised that you may learn things that are slightly uncomfortable.
Positive role: Grounding
Negative role: Your inner opposition – stressful burdens
Jungian name: The inferior function
Overall, the rival represents your lesser needs and values that you often forget about. When you actively reflect on and engage in the rival function, you may find yourself annoyed and stressful. Especially when you experience the demands of this function weighing you down.
This is a necessary function to develop to ground yourself. It is however only a tool to a goal, not the goal in itself. Think of it like this. There are things in life you dislike and that you consider tedious and annoying. But sometimes you need to get them out of your way, and sometimes work and society forces you to adapt to it.
The goal is to get your fourth function out of the way by responding immediately to it’s concerns, and to ensure that this function doesn’t tie you down. Being locked in your fourth function is like constantly experiencing the stress associated with this function on your shoulders, and to never be able to get rid of it, no matter what you do.
Carrying this function around as a worry and not acting on it can be just as bad on your health as being forced to act on it’s worries every day. Ideally, you are free from the influence of the rival state. You can pursue your primary interests and passions without feeling stressed or burdened.
You either deal with the fourth function by:
1. Finding a smart way to respond to it’s primary worries and concerns
2. Letting go of and releasing yourself from the worries, concerns, and expectations it puts on you.
Letting go can be often similar to being vulnerable. You admit there are things in life that you can’t or don’t want to do and you learn to feel happy with yourself even if you’re not able to be perfect in every regard. For example, you may decide to switch jobs to a job that is less stressful, but gives less revenue. Or you may decide not everyone has to like you, or you arrange with your boss so that you start work one hour later. Don’t be afraid to delegate the things you struggle with to others.
Inferior sensing: The burden of tradition
When caught in your inferior function, you may feel unnecessarily tied down by a sense of tradition. You may feel you have to be on time, you have to abide by the demands of society. But when it has a positive, grounding role on you, the inferior function helps you get rid of important obstacles. With strong effort, you may have turned a new idea into something concrete and real. As you do, you experience the relief of being released from the burden of the inferior function.
Inferior thinking: The burden of power
When burdened by inferior thinking, you may feel weighed down by a demand to be useful, productive, and efficient. You may be unnecessarily focused on your performance and how much effort you put in. But when it has a positive, grounding role, and you muster strong effort to use this function well, you manage to turn your beliefs and your conviction into concrete action. Perhaps you find a way to work doing what you love, or perhaps you manage to create concrete, measurable results that you have done something good towards one of your important causes?
Inferior feeling: The burden of harmony
When caught in inferior feeling, you may feel weighed down by a need to be helpful, good, and benevolent. You may be too focused on people’s beliefs and expectations on you. But when it has a positive, grounding role, you can achieve progress, improvement, and productivity without hurting anybody, or even increasing people’s overall happiness and well-being at the same time. You’re able to get people’s permission for progress and improvements that can impact the community in some way.
Inferior intuition: The burden of freedom
When caught in inferior intuition, you may feel too caught in open-ended, expectation free, creative environments. You experience a lack of structure and unclear expectations. But when it’s positive, you are able to brainstorm and use your intuitive perception to enhance and improve your traditions. By abstract reasoning, you can find existential and metaphysical beliefs that can help you understand your society, traditions and nature, making you feel more in control.
The rival represents and helps you understand how your own values and thoughts relate to society. The rival represents your inner challenger – who you have to sway or persuade in order to move forward on your journey. Finding flow or making your way to the hero is the primary way to deal with the rival. Integration is the alternative to grounding. In integration, you take on the traits of your inspirational, fifth function, and use them simultaneously as you use your dominant function.
We previously called this state the villain, but we’re changing the term to rival to get the idea across better: it’s relationship is competetive to us, it’s influence on us isn’t per definition negative.