As for most INFJs, discovering my personality type was eye-opening. It gave me a way to discuss how I felt misunderstood, and it helped me understand my often contradictory preferences and interests. However, what I want to focus on here is the feeling of emptiness, which had followed me throughout life. It wasn’t due to personal problems, such as a lack of friendships or family drama or even depression. I’m also a highly sensitive person, so I have always been easily influenced by news of tragedies and violence; I often had this very heavy feeling when I thought about the sufferings of the world. Where this led me was to search for meaning and purpose.
(What’s your personality type? We recommend this free personality test.)
I trust that many people of all personality types care for the world, yet if you’re an INFJ, you probably know that simply caring isn’t enough — you have this burning feeling of mission. Yet, you might not know how to actually make things better. After reading my personality description for the first time, I realized that my emptiness was caused by a lack of true connection, and I desperately needed to find deeper meaning and purpose in my life. Now, after my expedition, I would like to help you find meaning as an INFJ, and feel fuller and happier. Here are four ways you can create more meaning in your life.
1. Help others. INFJs are good listeners and excellent therapists by nature. Their intuition helps them understand even the unsaid words, and often interpret them correctly. Comfortable in one-in-one contexts, INFJs excel at providing a unique perspective and thoughtful advice. INFJs don’t usually tell you exactly what to do, rather, they help you find the solution on your own terms. This is generally a more effective strategy since it allows the other person to feel empowered and motivated to make the necessary change in his or her life.
Start by helping friends and family, and you will begin to find some purpose for your existence. An interesting observation from my own life is that I’m generally drained by social interaction, yet I feel energized when solving the personal problems of others. The topics may be sad and difficult, but the process makes me feel like I am fully myself (those are rare moments in an INFJ’s life). There’s this odd peace inside you when you’re surrounded by misery, trying to help. It may sound weird and is a bit hard to explain, but if you’re an INFJ, you probably know what I’m talking about.
Furthermore, when meeting strangers, I often bring up the topic of personality types. As an INFJ, I find small talk rather pointless, so I always try to guide the conversation to more interesting topics. Talking about personalities is a good way to impact others; you can make a difference in someone’s life by helping them discover and learn more about themselves.
2. Find meaningful work. For an INFJ, helping only the people around you may not be enough to fully find meaning and purpose. A good way to start discovering other options is volunteering. There are so many nonprofit organizations that could use the passion, drive, and skills that INFJs possess. You could research causes that are close to your heart, or simply google volunteering options in your city. (If you live in a metropolitan area in the U.S., try Volunteer Match.) Personally, I found it extremely satisfying to volunteer to work with refugee youth and Roma families, because there was a chance for real connection.
In the long run, you may wish to pursue a career in a field that focuses on improving conditions for humanity. As an INFJ, I was intrigued by human behaviour and ended up studying communication, social psychology, human rights, and other intercultural topics. There are a lot of jobs in which you can influence how things are done, how people are treated, and what impact a company has on the environment.
Many INFJs feel called to work for nonprofit organizations, as their sole purpose is making a positive impact. Yet, the intention doesn’t always guarantee good results, and I have learned the hard way that it’s equally important to focus on the process, and to make sure there is a true long-term impact. In other words, you shouldn’t do the work simply because it makes you feel good. I’ve also learned that it’s not enough to simply believe in the cause — you should try to find work that also matches your skills and other interests as a creative person.
3. Read and write. Let’s not forget about these lovely hobbies that most INFJs share. I love reading, and I would write even if it didn’t pay my bills. The piles and piles of psychology and fantasy books I’ve read have enriched my life and influenced everything I do. Even if no one ever read anything I wrote (most of it is personal, anyway), it has helped me grow and find meaning. As an introvert, I’m not always comfortable discussing everything out loud, and writing is the most effective way for me to organize my thoughts. Never give up reading and writing, or you will lose yourself!
4. Make holistic personal choices. Finally, I have discovered how personal choices can help you find meaning and purpose. For example, many of your actions impact the environment: your recycling habits, the products you buy, and the things you waste. I value a holistic approach, and I think my INFJ personality makes me seek balance, even when it’s difficult or inconvenient. Yet, when you set an example, you have a higher chance of influencing others’ behavior. For instance, I’m trying to move towards eating healthy, organic foods and using natural cosmetics, as well as strengthening my body and mind through exercise and meditation. My life is not perfect, but I find it easier to help others when I take care of myself.
There is plenty of meaning and purpose out there to discover! And, as you reach your goals, you will likely find new ones. Hopefully, these guidelines will help set you on your journey.
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Read this: 21 Undeniable Signs That You’re an INFJ
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