The Bear – ISFJ

On the outside, the quiet, shy Bears have a strong resemblance to the gentle Butterflies. However, whereas the Butterflies’ “never says no” mentality derives from their easygoing nature, the Bears’ tendency to go with the flow is driven by loyalty to their loved ones. Make no mistake, Bears have a strong backbone; one which they will readily display if they or their loved ones are in danger—in a Bear’s mind, the latter is more important—or if a value they hold dearly is being challenged.

The Bodyguard

George HW Bush

Whose life would be on my hands as the commander-in-chief because I, unilaterally, went beyond the international law, went beyond the stated mission, and said we’re going to show we’re macho? We’re going into Baghdad. We’re going to be an occupying power — America in an Arab land — with no allies at our side. It would have been disastrous. We don’t measure the size of our victory by how many innocent kids are running away…

– George H.W. Bush

Like their SJ siblings, the Elephants, Bears hold family and friends as their top priority. Unlike the Elephants, however, who focus on creating a pleasant space where all can live in comfort, Bears seek to ensure the protection and security of those fortunate people who have been allowed into their inner circle. Bears are stalwart defenders; once their trust has been gained, their loyalty to whomever they love and/or serve is as solid as the Rock of Gibraltar. They are commonly described as being “kind”, and while this is incredibly accurate, it would be wise to not let that description lull you into thinking that Bears are complete pushovers. They are capable of exhibiting tremendous force on behalf of others, and on those occasions where Bears go overboard with their protective zeal, their behavior can be borderline vicious. Fortunately, moments like that are not only rare, but fleeting, as Bears will quickly revert back to their customary, gentle persona, often riddling themselves with guilt over crossing the line.

The Humble Servant

** FILE ** Actor Christopher Reeve is shown in a scene from the film "Superman" in this 1978 handout photo.  Reeve, the star of the "Superman" movies whose near-fatal riding accident nine years ago turned him into a worldwide advocate for spinal cord research, died Sunday, Oct. 10, 2004, of heart failure while at his New York home, his publicist said. He was 52. (AP Photo/TMS & C DC Comics Inc., File)

What makes Superman a hero is not that he has power, but that he has the wisdom and the maturity to use the power wisely. From an acting point of view, that’s how I approached the part.

– Christopher Reeve

In social situations, the humble Bears are always conscious about not throwing their weight around. Quiet by nature but sharing the community-minded traits of their fellow Gatherers, Bears are moderately social; they enjoy being around others as long as the interaction is harmonious and peaceful. In environments like these, where Bears feel safe and loved, it’s not unusual to see the normally reserved Bears become quite talkative, with their opinions being expressed in the nicest and least-threatening manner—unless, of course, they’re standing up for someone else.

This is a consistent trait for Bears: steadfast resolve when in defense of others, utmost humility in matters dealing with themselves. In times of conflict, they would much rather “turn the other cheek” than engage their opponents. The least aggressive of all the types, Bears view aggression with an almost palpable disdain. They know full well the destruction it can cause, and they will attempt to repress even the slightest hint of hostility within themselves. To a Bear, power is not something one should strive to attain; it is something one should fear, especially considering its potential for misuse.



Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.

– Ophelia, Hamlet

Bears can withstand a substantial amount of physical pain, and will voluntarily bear—I know, again—the burden of suffering for others if need be. This willingness to suffer extends to emotional pain as well, which often causes a problem when it coincides with a Bear being in an unhealthy relationship. Whether it’s a romantic pairing, a platonic friendship, or a professional partnership, Bears give of themselves completely. Akin to their Gatherer siblings, Bears entrust their faith in established value systems. Unlike the duty-bound Stags and Beavers, however, Bears will forego their belief system if it means helping those closest to them.

As lovers, a Bear might find themselves constantly deferring to their partner, relinquishing much of their power in the relationship. Their partner’s choices become their choices. Their partner’s likes and dislikes become their likes and dislikes. Inevitably, Bears begin to lose aspects of their identity entirely. The same resolve that is so essential when defending loved ones, serves them poorly when in conflict with those same loved ones. And the vigilance that makes Bears such staunch protectors can twist and contort itself into paranoia and insecurity; the need for companionship being so strong, they refuse to entertain the thought of being left alone, even when the relationship is deleterious to their physical and emotional well-being. On a positive note, mature Bears find the courage and strength to disentangle themselves, drawing on the powerful support of family and friends—a fitting reciprocation of a Bear’s loyalty and dedication.

The Caregiver

Mother Teresa

Don’t look for big things, just do small things with great love.

– Mother Teresa

Because of their need for comfort, Bears can be quite predictable, following set routines they know and trust. This is not to say they don’t like to experience new things. It’s just that Bears don’t need to try new things, especially if they come with a certain degree of risk. This steadiness is unwavering, even during the toughest times; when Hollywood used to put out a casting call for “the strong, silent type”—pretty sure that’s a relic of the past—it’s Bears that they had in mind.

They are compassionate, devoted, and lack pretense. The mere notion of self-promotion disgusts them. Due to these traits, Bears are perfect when it comes to looking after the welfare of others—think doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. Having a soft spot for the weak, the helpless, and the bullied, it is not uncommon for Bears to volunteer their time to relief efforts and charities, or to work as addiction counselors and special education teachers. Bears like to feel safe, and they’ll devote one hundred percent of their energy to making sure that others can feel that way too.