As an INFP personality type, my motto is “be yourself.” This, for me, means being authentic and living according to my values. Every decision I make is a reflection of who I am and what I believe in. I also despise conformity. It entails giving up on my personhood—what makes me unique—in order to please others.
So you might be shocked to learn that I voluntarily surrendered a part of my soul in order to be in better service to capitalism—and I do so happily. This means, instead of always thinking in terms of what serves my values and ideals, I now ask what serves capitalism: What does the market want? What skills are employers looking for?
Questions like these used to make me cringe. It feels as if my individuality and values no longer matter. When it comes to the job market, I’m only a commodity, someone who is valuable only because I can generate money.
But today, I see myself as both an individual and a kind of commodity that has market value. If you spoke with me over a year ago, I wouldn’t have seen myself this way. What made me change?
It was my realization that sometimes there needs to be a tradeoff between my ideals and reality.
Although I can be very spiritual and find contentment in non-materialistic things, such as nature, art, and anything that feeds my imagination, some of my happiness also depends on stuff that money can buy. I want more adventures. I want to be independent and able to make purchases without stressing about the cost. On top of that, it gives me a sense of pride to be able to contribute to the economy.
I was struck hard by reality upon graduating from university with a philosophy degree. I struggled to find my first real job. I felt like a failure and found myself becoming depressed.
But that experience has taught me something: when it comes to making it in this world, sometimes I have to put my ideals aside in order to be more practical. Because otherwise, I’d end up miserable.
I used to have a lot of ideas about what I’d like to do, such as being a lounge pianist and writing a philosophy book for children, but I couldn’t implement them. But I was finally able to land a job after conducting a lot of research about the job market and promoting myself shamelessly. Today, I work full-time at a marketing agency as a B2B writer.
Am I happier than I was a year ago?
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The answer is yes. Although there may be some mundane aspects of my job, for the most part, I’m happier. I’ve moved to the city, I’m meeting more people, I get to attend conferences, I’m learning more things about the world, and I’m growing professionally.
I’ve discovered that my happiness lies between two worlds: my ideal world and reality. Even though my imagination can take me to great places, I also want my experiences to be real. There needs to be balance. Sometimes that means leaving my dream world for a while, selling my “soul,” and facing reality head on—in order to get more out of life. Reality bites, but I think it’s also the place where I can discover true happiness.
INFPs, can you relate? Have you given up some of your ideals for practical reasons?