Dear fellow INFJ,
The last time we spoke, I wrote about how to embrace all of who we are, even our flaws. What I have been thinking about lately is how those flaws flair up in times of stress. Circumstances in my life have changed greatly over the last few months. These circumstances are exciting, but with any big life change comes a lot of stress. I want to look at some of our “flaws” and the ways in which they can cause problems and find ways for them to promote growth.
Being an INFJ personality type, I am a perfectionist. I am all too aware of how hard I am on myself, as well as others. I plan obsessively to make sure things fall into place accordingly. I spend a great deal of time thinking about my future. This, unfortunately, sometimes leads to missing out on the current process of my daily life. I am getting better about focusing more on the “now,” but when I’m stressed or anxious, I get caught up in my old ways again.
Being a perfectionist means that I have laser focus when I’m passionate about something. Sure, this is a great quality in many situations, but it can also bring up problems. I am guilty of spending too much time on things because they need to be done “just right” and I lose sight of other things that are important to me. I’m slowly learning that it’s okay to take a step back from my passions and just be. The things I enjoy working on are not what define me. Although it’s good to focus on your goals, it’s also important to look at all of the other wonderful things going on in your life.
The INFJ trait of being highly private also gets in the way when I’m sorting through a lot of feelings. I keep a lot of my feelings to myself. INFJs are always willing to listen and help others with their problems, but we have a difficult time letting other people help us. INFJs are also calm and nurturing individuals, but we do have a darker side, especially when we feel irritated or misunderstood. I am guilty of feeling isolated and growing frustrated with anyone who tries to talk to me about my feelings. When I do finally express my stress and frustration, it doesn’t seem to come out in an effective way. Our introverted intuition (Ni) is our dominant function. Therefore, when we feel something is right or correct, it’s difficult to readjust our way of viewing things. I’ve been told that I shut down others’ ideas because I get too stuck on my own. As an INFJ, it is a big task to be open and willing to let people in. This is something I continue to work on.
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On the bright side, there are always going to be small reminders that things will be okay. One of my “reminders” is any time I see a butterfly. It may sound silly, but I see butterflies frequently and they always make me smile. They remind me that there is an entire world around me that is lovely and everything in my life will be okay.
Also, I remind myself that I don’t need to be so hard on myself. I know that just because something doesn’t go according to plan does not mean I am a failure. I know these things, but it’s still hard for me to believe them. It just takes a little longer for an INFJ to step back and reevaluate a situation. We are incredibly passionate and driven people. We want to do our best all of the time. We tend to see the best in others and are quick to forgive them for their shortcomings, so why don’t we do this for ourselves?
I am making strides on relaxing a little and loosening my grip. I carve out spaces of time just for me. For example, I fill out my weekly journal and certain nights are dedicated to binge watching Netflix. Sometimes it’s just a quick stop in Starbucks to grab a caramel macchiato. I try to find whatever I can to shake up my daily routine and slow down a little.
So, my INFJ friends, what else can we do to unwind and relax? Do you have any words of wisdom for fellow INFJs? Any activities or literature you can direct us toward? I would love to hear from you in the comment section. We can have a discussion in this space and help each other out. After all, isn’t helping people our favorite thing to do? I hope this helps whoever finds it.
I know this transition is painful, but you’re not falling apart; you’re just falling into something different, with a new capacity to be beautiful. – William C. Hannan
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