Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I am an INFP and that's all right. Right???

I always want to be better than I am - a better person, a more accomplished person, a more responsible person, a more social person - to try to acheive a few of my ever-multiplying goals. I have a hard time feeling okay with myself and am constantly searching for ways to grow, improve, and do it better this time round. Perhaps, I just think too much - I can never just distract myself and just move on.

At the same time, I probably love myself and take care of myself (in a healthy way) more than most people I know. I am always such a mass of contradictions...

In other words, I am a classic INFP...

I really like this description of INFPs on the Personality Page. Here are some of the descriptions I really relate to...(actually - I ended up putting the entire description in this post because they just described me that well - the blues are the description).

INFPs, more than other iNtuitive Feeling types, are focused on making the world a better place for people. Their primary goal is to find out their meaning in life. What is their purpose? How can they best serve humanity in their lives? They are idealists and perfectionists, who drive themselves hard in their quest for achieving the goals they have identified for themselves.

When I was young I was driving in my car with my (very likely INFP - though she thought she was ENFP) mother, I turned to her and asked, "Why are we here mom? What is our purpose?" (I wonder if other 8 year olds ask these questions in all seriousness.) I remember very clearly her response. It has guided most of my behavior the rest of my life, "We are here to help others. And we are here to make the world a better place for others." I truly believed her then and I suppose I still do now. I constantly feel, though, like I'm not doing well enough...the fault of my endless drive for perfection perhaps. I hope that I may one day learn to just let go. Now, oddly enough, read the last sentence of the next paragraph because I typed those words - my mother's words, as I remembered them, in an essay I wrote a while ago before I ever saw this personality page article.

INFPs are highly intuitive about people. They rely heavily on their intuitions to guide them, and use their discoveries to constantly search for value in life. They are on a continuous mission to find the truth and meaning underlying things. Every encounter and every piece of knowledge gained gets sifted through the INFP's value system, and is evaluated to see if it has any potential to help the INFP define or refine their own path in life. The goal at the end of the path is always the same - the INFP is driven to help people and make the world a better place.

Yes. And especially ... I am highly intuitive about people. It leaves me very alone sometimes. How can you be mad at someone when you know why they hurt you and that it wasn't personal - just them acting out their own insecurities. Anger spurts out of a feeling of being wounded or betrayed or treated unjustly. I feel these ways but I know that the person didn't want to hurt me truly - truly they love me - but that it was their own weaknesses which made them act that way. I also usually understand the ways in which I have contributed to their actions in the first place. Moreover, if I'm upset I use words, not actions or yelling, to explain how I felt when they did whatever they did. So, because I don't push, I don't punish, and I don't manipulate (generally) I'm often the one not taken care of in one way or another. I don't know if anyone out there would understand this, but it is true. And, because I'm so complex, and in conscious charge of my body language, tone of voice, or any other visible reaction, so often people cannot see that I am unhappy, or at least not feel it, and when they finally can, they have no idea what to do about it.

My intuitiveness and my tendency to take care of people, was never a problem, however, as long as my mother was alive. She took care of me. When she died, I was completely lost for two years. Lost and alone. No one seemed to be capable of just standing by with me through it - even though they loved me. Thank goodness, I found my boyfriend, INFP (or J - I get confused) that he is, because he gets it. He gets all of it. Highly, highly intuitive and so genuinely loving and aware of himself.

Generally thoughtful and considerate, INFPs are good listeners and put people at ease. Although they may be reserved in expressing emotion, they have a very deep well of caring and are genuinely interested in understanding people. This sincerity is sensed by others, making the INFP a valued friend and confidante. An INFP can be quite warm with people he or she knows well.

Yes. This has always been true. I am the one to talk to and people say I am very warm. But I know this without anyone telling me.

INFPs do not like conflict, and go to great lengths to avoid it. If they must face it, they will always approach it from the perspective of their feelings. In conflict situations, INFPs place little importance on who is right and who is wrong. They focus on the way that the conflict makes them feel, and indeed don't really care whether or not they're right. They don't want to feel badly. This trait sometimes makes them appear irrational and illogical in conflict situations. On the other hand, INFPs make very good mediators, and are typically good at solving other people's conflicts, because they intuitively understand people's perspectives and feelings, and genuinely want to help them.

Yes. This is a perfect description. I don't want to feel badly. I am very emotional so when I feel badly, I feel very, very badly - like the air has been knocked from my lungs, and my stomach has lost its capacity to expand for breaths. Also, the world's rules seems almost unreal to me. Truly they are shifting, ambiguous, and uncertain. Because I can always see the other side, the other perspective (or perspectives as the case may be), it is really hard for me to know how to place blame - a little like I was writing up above. People do terrible things sometimes - but it is rarely completely spontaneous - negative emotions, situations, perceptions, insecurities drive them. It's hard for me, who is not that person, to feel that I can account for every factor in a situation enough to judge them. So, in the end, regardless of right or wrong, my point is the negative emotion and the desire to change the emotion to a more positive one and not have it occur again for the same reason - somehow - usually through talking out how it happened and how it made each of us feel.

INFPs are flexible and laid-back, until one of their values is violated. In the face of their value system being threatened, INFPs can become aggressive defenders, fighting passionately for their cause. When an INFP has adopted a project or job which they're interested in, it usually becomes a "cause" for them. Although they are not detail-oriented individuals, they will cover every possible detail with determination and vigor when working for their "cause".When it comes to the mundane details of life maintenance, INFPs are typically completely unaware of such things. They might go for long periods without noticing a stain on the carpet, but carefully and meticulously brush a speck of dust off of their project booklet.

YES. Like I"ve written elsewhere, terrible time doing laundry etc... but great when I really care - I guess when I have a cause...and so forgiving, so bending until you hit a value - and then there is no moving me (even I can't move me when I try).

INFPs do not like to deal with hard facts and logic. Their focus on their feelings and the Human Condition makes it difficult for them to deal with impersonal judgment. They don't understand or believe in the validity of impersonal judgment, which makes them naturally rather ineffective at using it. Most INFPs will avoid impersonal analysis, although some have developed this ability and are able to be quite logical. Under stress, it's not uncommon for INFPs to mis-use hard logic in the heat of anger, throwing out fact after (often inaccurate) fact in an emotional outburst.

I've become proficient at sorting through the facts that I want to throw at people and at making sure that those facts are accurate before I do so. This is because (honestly) I think I have a decent point - regardless of whether I am right or wrong - and I want to be seen as reasonable, and well-researched, and cool headed so as to not be discredited. Also, I took some vigorous honors seminars in college which really taught me how to research well and argue persuasively. I do enjoy logic.

There was a time, however, when I discriminated between facts and untruths with much less accuracy. At the time, I hardly thought about it. It was natural because to me the meaning is the same regardless of the exact content of the statment. I would not dare get the meaning wrong. I am the type of person who will tell a story about what I did yesterday, as if it happened yesterday - without really noticing that it actually happened four weeks ago - just because it seems inconsequential to me when it happened. If I take a second to think I won't make that mistake, but if I don't take the second to think - I end up fibbing because I don't even register it as an untruth without hard thought - it is merely an unimportant detail.

INFPs have very high standards and are perfectionists. Consequently, they are usually hard on themselves, and don't give themselves enough credit. INFPs may have problems working on a project in a group, because their standards are likely to be higher than other members' of the group. In group situations, they may have a "control" problem. The INFP needs to work on balancing their high ideals with the requirements of every day living. Without resolving this conflict, they will never be happy with themselves, and they may become confused and paralyzed about what to do with their lives.

Refer to my first paragraph. Yes.

INFPs are usually talented writers. They may be awkard and uncomfortable with expressing themselves verbally, but have a wonderful ability to define and express what they're feeling on paper. INFPs also appear frequently in social service professions, such as counselling or teaching. They are at their best in situations where they're working towards the public good, and in which they don't need to use hard logic.

Talented writer - well, you judge - though I'm really just spitting stuff out uncensored and unedited here. I finally differ from something in this INFP description though - I am different because I am talented at speaking in front of an audience. I have trouble in groups of my peers when I'm on a level with them - I stumble over words, become very quiet, or am incredibly self-conscious. But when I'm leading or on stage - I perform very well, completely naturally. I've learned to overcome the peer level trouble to some extent - however, it will never be easy. For this reason, I take pride in my hard-won ability to fool people into thinking I'm actually a very extroverted person. Because, I'm really not. Regardless of how it seems, it still takes a LOT of energy for me - I'm not sure the price is always worth it.

INFPs who function in their well-developed sides can accomplish great and wonderful things, which they will rarely give themselves credit for. Some of the great, humanistic catalysts in the world have been INFPs.

I hope so...the most frustrating thing is that I'm aware, intelligent, capable - but sometimes it's like I just don't have the energy or the drive or something. It's all sitting in there waiting to be used and I DON'T use it. Lately, I've started to think that perhaps I'm using more energy than I was aware in order to 'extrovert' and to keep the 'mundane' details of my life together which so often feel they are slipping out of my control. I feel so held back by myself though. I know what to do - and I want to do it - why don't I just do it?

I also really like this link a lot - there's nothing on it I don't really agree with about who I am: INFP page.

I like finding this stuff because it is so validating. Keirsey, who wrote a very popular book on the personality types Please Understand Me also has a good page to explain a lot of this stuff. For that link click here.

To take the test yourself - well, a short but decent internet version - click here.


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