Have you ever wondered why you are drawn to being a caregiver, teacher, parent or rescuer? Archetypes are universal patterns of behavior that, once discovered, help you better understand yourself and your place in the world. In her new book, Archetypes: Who Are You?, visionary author Caroline Myss gives an in-depth portrayal of The Caregiver: one of the primary archetypes. See if you resonate with any of the characteristics below:  

Like no other archetype, The Caregiver has the ability to sense the needs of other people, whether family, friends, colleagues, or strangers.

It would be just like a Caregiver to notice how exhausted you are and drop by later on with dinner. Drop by with dinner, not for dinner—they won’t stay.

The Caregiver intuitively knows when you need rest and a home-cooked meal but not necessarily company and conversation. The Caregiver’s exquisite sensitivity to others often baffles people without this archetype. If they were to ask the

Caregiver, “Why do you give so much when so often you get nothing in return?” the response would most likely be, “I don’t know. That’s just the way I am.”

And how. If you have this archetype you have a seemingly unlimited store of compassion and understanding. You astound others with your ability to find within yourself the resources to give without question and provide a constancy of nurturing that would deplete just about anyone else.

Bottomless wells of strength and stamina, Caregivers are born first responders—often among the earliest to show up at disasters, volunteering their time, energy, and resources to assist those whose lives have been turned upside down by floods, tornados, or other natural or manmade crises. Whether the crisis is a skinned knee or a home destroyed by fire, the Caregiver will be there in an instant with Band-Aids, a blanket, and TLC.

Caregivers are natural nurturers. Many of you can be found in the kitchen, making sure that not only are meals tasty and nutritious but also that mealtimes are emotionally nourishing. Feeding others is the ultimate form of caring for many with this archetype. Chances are a Caregiver has a recipe file stuffed with family favorites that her mother and grandmother served before her.

Men as well as women with the Caregiving archetype fall into the role of parenting with ease—provided they become parents at a stage in their lives when they are prepared to give. Though caring for others comes naturally to Caregivers, they still need to mature into the capacity to give without resentment. If forced into the role of caregiving before they have reached that point, they may find themselves in the uncomfortable position of resenting their own nature. But for the most part, Caregivers give without a second thought. They can’t help it. No kindness or consideration is too small. A Caregiver wouldn’t think twice about stopping to corral oranges that had fallen from a shopper’s grocery bag, or lending a hand to a mom juggling packages and a squirming toddler.

People without the Caregiver archetype might notice that someone needed assistance, but they would only offer it if it were convenient for them, or they might hesitate because they felt awkward approaching a stranger.

It’s important to note that the capacity to care for others is not unique to the Caregiver, however. As human beings, we have an inherent need to look after each other. Certain archetypes, however, have the potential to bring caring and nurturing to its fullest.

Are You The Caregiver Archetype?

See how many of these traits you resonate with:

Life Journey: To care for others in ways they are unable to care for themselves.

Unique Challenge: Fear of being thought selfish or unable to care for others.

Universal Lesson: To learn when to help and when not to.

Defining Grace: Compassion.

Inner Shadow: Feeling resentful and uncared for.

Myths of the Caregiver: If I don’t help others, they’ll think I’m selfish. I have to help people or they won’t survive.

Behavior Patterns and Characteristics:

  • You never turn down anyone who needs help.
  • You serve as the family caregiver.
  • You choose a caregiving occupation.
  • You see helping others as a calling.
  • You are a model of compassion and generosity.

Lifestyle Challenge: To care enough about yourself to find out who you really are.

Take a quiz here to find out what your archetypes are.

Caroline Myss has been in the field of energy medicine and human consciousness for 20 years. She specializes in assisting people in understanding the emotional, psychological, and physical reasons why their bodies have developed an illness.