My INFP Confession: I Sold a Part of My Soul So I Could Be Happy

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?

PH circle 2What’s your personality type? Knowing your type can help you leverage your natural strengths. Take the free test from our partner Personality Hacker.

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?

To learn more about being an INFP, check out my book.

The INFP Book

Did you enjoy this article? Sign up for our newsletters to get more stories like this. retina_favicon1

Read this: 5 Stereotypes About INFPs That We Need to Stop Believing


  • Jonathan says:

    I’m glad to be the first to comment, I can relate to having “unrealistic” ideas about what I want to accomplish. They are usually inspiring moments with people, guiding them into enlightenment, certainly involving tears.

    And then I get back to work.

    What has really helped me is to sort my ideals/values/core beliefs. I seem them as pillars holding up my practices in real life.

    When I make a decision such as “taking a job” that is not my life’s blood, is to ask myself “what core is this practice springing from?”

    Being a good dad.

    I can trace the practices of the momentary mundane to the core value of being a good dad. Although it doesn’t help with changing the world, for the time being, i remain authentic to myself.

    • Hi Jonathan. I appreciate your comment and story. 🙂 I totally agree with you that, ultimately, the reason why I’m motivated to accomplish tasks that are far less appealing is to serve a core value – in my case, being independent and to continue to learn and grow. So I think it’s a bit of a bargain and trade off but I’ve come to realize that’s it’s worth the deal. 😉

  • Connor Ghose says:

    I used to be an INFP Phil-Psych double major. I ended up in Law school. I thought I had switched to Law so that I could sell out for practical reasons, but the reality is, I’d just developed a very abstract devotion to the philosophy of justice and distributive justice. I don’t think you can ever really give up being an idealist; all you can do is swap your ideals around.

    INFPs are immensely capable. The can easily find happiness in the professional world, or working simple jobs, or living in monasteries, communes, dilapidated buildings in ghost towns, or forests. Whichever path an INFP takes, they should prioritise their pursuit of untruth unrealisation.