Saturday, April 29, 2006

I found this on another blog and I really liked it...

43 Year Old Very Wise INFP Guy TELLS IT LIKE IT IS

What is it like to be an INFP?

He says:

Here is what I hear:

* Think too much
* Not focused
* Can get into head trips
* Literal learner/thinker(meaning you have to spell it out if it starts getting too abstract like chemistry.)
* Always late
* Stare into space
* Not good understanding other's motives(am a sucker for what looks like honest emotion and am manipulated this way.)
* Have a sense of wonder
* Nice person -genuine
* great moderator
* brown nose
* sensitive -- "must be gay" (am not)
* petty
* opinionated but fair-minded(tolerant)
* He is a good guy
* Have a hard time asking for what is mine

Am an INFP adoptee. Talk about confusing trying to learn who you are. Adopted parents tested, are ENFJ and INFJ. Birthparents I believe are INFP (bmom) and INTP (bfather), but with a lot of childhood damage that was never fixed so they are a bit strange to me.

With my adopted parents I felt like I was raised in bootcamp, hut hut hut. Those J's are tyrannical. Along with the T's ....

Someone else mentioned it was not ok to be themselves in their family. This was me also. I became an ENTJ to be ok growing up. Didn't have a clue who I was until late my 20's (thank god I waited until 40 to get married, I would have been divorced twice by now.) Was popular in high school. Was the one popular person who also identified with the outcasts. Seemed to find what everyone had in common and build on that. Started work in Corporate America. Got fired -- was too honest when the blame bottle spinned on me (honesty is NOT the best policy in the working world -- lesson learned. Another thing I took literally in school.) If I lie I am the one who gets caught. Wife is an INFP. I recommend this if you want to be understood -- especially if you spent your childhood trying to be someone else to be accepted (also an adoptee theme.)

Can relate to the guy who talked about team sports being somewhat of a struggle. The team bonding thing is so much easier if you are an extroverted non sensitive man. Also, I dated many women. I always found they liked me and said what a great father I would be ... Did this matter to them? In large part no. They still married -- or got excited about -- the alpha, non emotional, screw them in business, have an affair-but-you-get-a-big-lifesyle guys. I listen to some of them complain about their husbands now but I don't feel sorry for them. They wanted that. This lead me to learn to change the people I hang out with. I agree with someone who said find people who appreciate you for you. That is a great demonstration of good self esteem and one that took me until I was 40.

It is not easy being married to someone who is like you in terms of sexual chemistry. I find the sexual attraction thing more with other personality types -- the women T's and J's. But this I learned had more to do with my associating intimacy with rejection (or someone not getting me.) The sparks were not as bright with my wife at first, but man, we are friends through everything. I think that is the healthier way to go. Definitely not what you'd see on Oprah. Forget what our culture says about you "just knowing." It is bullcrap coffee table stuff. I know people who said that and got divorced a few years later. Essentially they married their opposites, it didn't last. The gulf was too wide. Either that or their marriages didn't look like anything more than lifestyle/economnic arrangements.

I would say heaven and earth are themes for me. Trying to balance the practical with the spiritual. Oh how I envy those who are comfortable not asking the big questions!! Sometimes I wish I could just go on with my life like they do and work, accumulate, then die, without ever having to get my brain messy. Instead I am absorbed with "what did that mean?" over and over.

Still I wouldn't trade my INFP status. I think the rest of the population needs us to bring things from unreality into reality. We are that bridge. To my way of thinking it makes them all drones.
I found a way to make money in a niche advertising business where I am my own boss. I don't have to dress up, impress a boss, show up for meetings on time or kiss anyone's a**. I recommend this if you can find it. I think INFP's are sort of scapegoated in groups at work.

Peace to you all

Managing motivation and my INFP experience with it...

I have many things to do; but, I'm just not doing them.

I recently bought a cheap (but quite nice nonetheless) guitar (!) and my internet is getting cut off soon, and I was visiting my friend so I'm feeling the need for major downtime in which there will be internet usage and guitar playing and both. As a result, I'm sitting here, not doing any of the things I should do. But I will do them, eventually, I just have to manage my motivation. I will explain to you what I mean here, as a method of calming my anxiety about not doing anything. :p

Despite my tendency to procrastinate, I've learned to trust myself. I've learned I am very powerful, but I have to work with who I am. I generally can't do too much of anything because I think I 'should.' I'm just NOT motivated. These things I think I should do include homework, chores, errands, exercising, whatever. But I, with great enthusiasm and energy, have a hard time stopping myself from doing the things I really care about. I am responsible and generally get everything done eventually without too much harm to myself or others in the process. But it comes from learning to manage my motivation, as I said before.

I think it's really a matter of what many psychologists refer to as intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation involves motivation that comes from deep inside you - when you, yourself, care. For example, I passionately love to sing and play guitar, so I am intrinsically motivated to do so. I like to learn, so when homework assignments help me to learn, I do them quickly, accurately, and thoroughly. I really am very interested in learning new things. I love to help others learn, so am a dedicated, punctual, and pretty damn good teacher.

Extrinsic motivation, on the other hand, comes from other people or the outside world. Examples of extrinsic motivation are doing the homework to get the grade (given from the external world), paying a bill on time (not truly necessary in that you can pay late and still have somewhere to live, but practical and what you are supposed to do according to the external world), exercising to look good (approval from the external world), not stealing because you might go to jail (punishment from external world).

Some people act more on extrinsic motivation (what we 'should' do) and some are more intrinsically motivated (what we love to do). I believe though, we can all find and act on the intrinsic motivation - and may, indeed, find ourselves happier for it, in the end.

However, I seem to have the problem of being UNABLE to act on extrinsic motivation, which I find unusual and which causes me great difficulties at time. I just can't seem to focus my attention on a task or activity or assignment, if I'm just doing it for something gained from the external world (money, grades, approval, etc). If I don't like the class, my grades are not as good. If I don't believe that I am affecting lives in the classroom, I show up late (although I'm always on time because I believe it matters to the kids feelings of being important to me). If I just want to look good, no way I'm dragging myself to the gym for very long.

So, to circumvent this difficulty, I make sure that I set the situation up so I always am being motivated by something intrinsic. In other words, I turn something that starts out extrinsically motivated into something intrinsically motivated. To make sure I get some exercise: I take a walk that is beautiful somewhere. I like being outside, I like being in nature, I like beauty, I even like walking sometimes. That way, I can exercise. But basic exercise, like you get in the gym, doesn't work for me, because I'm only doing it to look better, or perhaps, because supposedly I'll feel better (though for me, somehow I rarely actually feel better from the gym - sometimes I do). Or, in terms of school, I did have a 3.9 GPA, so I did pretty well. But that's because I searched and put time into finding classes and professors that would interest and intrigue and challenge me, thus keeping me intrinsically motivated. The only B I got was from a requirement class in which the teacher was a TA who, frankly, was far less intelligent than I was. I do believe she just didn't even understand my papers and thus continually gave them Cs. But partly, I was NOT intrinsically motivated in that class, since I was not challenged or interested.

I have read that other INFPs have trouble with motivation. I know my boyfriend does. He sees what I'm saying on this, but he doesn't believe in it enough to put it into practice yet - maybe it wouldn't work for him the way it does for me anyway. Trying to force ourselves through sheer will hasn't worked for either of us, though.

So, just in case that helps anyone...I thought I'd put it out there. I hope it makes sense.

And, in the process, explain this to you all as a way of forgiving myself for writing here, playing my guitar, holing up in my apartment, and not dealing with France Telecom about the erroneous bill they sent me or trying to figure out how to communicate to them in French that I need to cut the line come the end of the month (because I'm coming home!!!! yay!!) and have the bill sent to the states.

Also, just as an update, eating more fruits and veggies and taking vitamin b supplements have changed everything for me!!! I'm doing so much better emotionally. The feeling of doom is gone and replaced with this wonderful feeling that things are meant to be and life will work out. Or is that just the hypomania? I don't think so; I feel more stable than I have in years (although I'm generally very stable, don't get me wrong).

I hope that was clear or helpful or at least thought-provoking. I believe it is not necessary to be right, but to be well-thought out, and that being well-thought out will lead to growth for you and others regardless, because it will cause others to be better thought-out, to think, to learn which in turn will cause you to be even better thought-out, to think, and to learn.

Questions? Comments? Thoughts?

Much love to everyone,

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Doubting Doubt and Fear

We all know money doesn't matter. But we all act like it does. Because the fear in our hearts tells us that if we don't, we will be alone, and hungry, and lost. Which might be true.

I was brought up to know that I am self-sufficient and capable. I will never need money because I will always have, or work to have, the skills to make enough. I will never need money because I know that I don't really need much in the end, anyway. But, in the process, I was also taught that being able to take care of yourself is very important. I was taught that working hard is important.

F, my boyfriend, has really made me think about my values in life. If you haven't already read the glowing praise, he is wise beyond anyone I've met, strong, sensitive, kind, aware. He understands people around him and takes care of them. And they have no idea. Partly because he doesn't need them to.

But things of this world are very hard for him. He understands love, and hate, and greed, and fear, and depth, and himself, and me, and you to an extent that most couldn't begin to even understand. He is an amazing musician, a gifted writer, and extremely knowledgeable and thought-out on many current issues today (politics, religion, health...). But is he 'responsible' about the worldly things in his life? Not really. Not because he doesn't want to be, not because he doesn't see where he's going wrong, but just because he wants to please so badly that he shuts down. He has a hard time finishing things (though he's getting better!), he procrastinates, he is scared to try sometimes because he's scared to fail.

He is so gifted and intelligent, powerful, and aware, I have a hard time believing he won't make it somewhere. He has intelligence, talents and people-savvy galore. He is great at selling himself. He has no problem telling people he's the best - and they usually believe him. He is a hard, responsible, dependable worker. I believe he will make it to a place where he is happy, which is all I want for him.

But I don't know that. I have no proof. He does not have a college degree to prove his potential to me or a good job or even a solid plan. He's only twenty two. But he is twenty two, and he is still living at home without a solid income - he's working, though, very hard on a business he started with a partner (which has occassionally brought in a decent amount of money) and taking some classes at a county college. Many, who don't get him, probably think he's irresponsible and immature - including his parents at times - but I believe we all have very different paths - and I believe he is on his - even if it seems a very winding path.

Not to mention he smokes - which scares me. My mother smoked until she died of breast cancer - which she always insisted was unrelated despite any evidence to the contrary. Anyway, he plans to quit by 25, but who knows?

So it's my choice which I make everyday. I can leave his beautiful love and support, the health I've gained from him, the connection, the understanding, the complete genuiness and honesty in search of all that in someone who also has met the worldly requirements of my snobby society. I can abandon him and show him I actually don't have faith in him. Or I can believe in him, I can believe in God, I can believe in life's meaning, I can believe in love.

I'm choosing love and I believe in that choice. But it is a decision I have to work toward everyday in order to fight the fear in me.

What choices have other people made? What were the results? Any words of inspiration? Anyone relate? I'd like to know...

Much love,

My Search for Your (?) Love

My Best Friend S. ...

I had a fantastic week with my friend in the west of France. We really connect and get along, but there's always been some uneasy areas. Something clicked this time and we may have moved past some of the difficulty. S, my best friend, is a very intelligent, creative, hard-working, and caring person. She had a good childhood, but her mother died of breast cancer when she was nine, and from that time on I think she often had to fight for attention, was always regarded by her step-mother as a problem, and regarded by her older siblings as a tag-a-long. She has always been one of the people to best understand me, and yet, perhaps because of all that childhood stuff, she is very self-reliant, reserved, maybe a little afraid of intimacy. So, she has left me alone at times when I could've used her help. She has, however, also been there at times when no one else was.

The Importance of Those Who Stand By You...

It's amazing that your mother can die (or more honestly), that my mother can die, and in the year following, few people realize that you (I) need them. My boyfriend of five years couldn't handle the extra stress and left me in a terribly hurtful and destructive way. My best friend at school decided she couldn't talk to me anymore because she couldn't handle it, as she put it. My best friend from highschool, S went to study abroad in Ireland - which was fine, of course. But when, I went to go see her for Christmas so she (and in some ways so I) wouldn't be alone for the holidays she, to make a long story short, went back to the states, leaving me to go to Ireland without her there for most of the three week backpacking trip or on Christmas (I had my other friend (who declared her intention of never speaking to me again shortly after, but she's Jewish so no Christmas... :P).

Anyway, I don't know how everyone felt okay doing these things, but to lose these three (my mom, my boyfriend, my best friend from college) IMPORTANT people in my life within a period of one year was a staggering blow. Looking back on it, maybe I haven't done such a bad job in pulling through the last few years. But, if nothing else, S stayed and that has made a huge difference through it all. We had fights, but she's always stayed. I believe she always will - because she sees my value and believes we are good for each other. And that has mattered a lot at many times.

My mother took care of me...

Part of the problem, undoubtedly, is my own self-possession. My mother took care of me very well, so I didn't really need anyone else too much. And despite my sensitivity, I knew that people didn't mean to hurt me, they just didn't know better, and that my mother loved me truly. So, instead of burdening them with my sensitivity, I learned to hide it, or just talk about it with my mother who would help me understand how other people could hurt me but not mean to really hurt me. Few people would claim to know they have an understanding of what's going on in my head. But I do tell people, I just have a hard time showing it very much because it doesn't usually work out very well.

My boyfriend, F. ...

My boyfriend of a year and two months now, and thank goodness for him, is the only person who has ever looked at me and gotten it. He both sees my pain and can see and value the way I love others. He knows my motivation; he understands that I hurt. Most people have no idea. I guess, how could they? Before him, I didn't even know I was hiding.

The Down-side of a Strong Image (because it is always only an image)...

So, I visited with S and I just let it all pour out. I just kept talking and talking. I just wanted her to understand! and to approve! and to smile! You wouldn't think any of this would matter to me if you looked at me. I have always been told I carry myself with self-possession (as I said) as well as strength and confidence. I'm quite pretty; I've been told I'm stunning or striking at times. I'm intelligent, capable, responsible. And people are entirely fooled - to my detriment often. I don't mean to do it - I don't even know it's happening.

Moreover, I always keep calm and loving and supportive and understanding when others are angry at me, so they don't realize that I need things too. And I didn't really before my mother died. But I had no one to take from after she died and it was a terribly lonely feeling. When I tried to be honest and lean on others some, people left.

Having someone to lean on...

But, the sun is shining a more vibrant hue because S understands, at least somewhat, because she made me a snack for me for the train ride back, because she said I looked nice in my shirt, because she didn't tell me I was doing things wrong, because she listened, because she was happy to be with me, and didn't walk away. I have someone to lean on at least a little.

Why is this so hard for people? But thank goodness some people can do it - just be around me and love me.

Now are you someone who knows how to love well?

I may need your love - depends who you are. I don't care what the crowd thinks; I don't care if you're cool or wealthy or successful. But I care if you really think, if you love, if you seek to grow. Do you? S does, I've always known that. And my boyfriend really does. But who else out there does? There must be others and I will find some of them. Will you someday be another? Are you the type of person who someone can lean on, who someone can expect to be there for them, who understands, who loves, who needs, who grows? If you are I want to get to know you. Because I am a person like that, and I need to find some more. Maybe we can lighten the load for each other just a little bit.

Much love

As usual, love the comments! Excited I have a few! Thanks everyone for listening. And haha some of you are quite funny I see. :P