5 Crucial Tips For Standing Up For Yourself As An INFJ

For many INFJs, the feeling that we don’t stand up for ourselves well enough is a frequent one. We find ourselves in uncomfortable conversations that we don’t know how to leave, or we let people cross our boundaries because we’re not sure what to say, or we don’t speak up when someone assumes something about us that isn’t true. And then we feel guilty about it, but we aren’t sure how to change.

For this post, we’re going to define “standing up for yourself” as sharing your ideas, choices, and opinions with others and not compromising on your personal standards, morals, or beliefs. You’re not obnoxious or dismissive of others when you “stand up for yourself” in this way, but you are honest and upfront about who you are, what you believe, and where your boundaries are.

Some people reading this, including some INFJs, already live their lives in the way I just described. If that’s you, then wonderful! Keep doing what you’re doing (and maybe share some tips for the rest of us in the comments). For others, standing up for yourself is a real challenge. INFJs aren’t the only ones who deal with this either — any personality type can struggle with asserting themselves and practicing authenticity. Today, though, we’ll be focusing on INFJ-specific tips for getting comfortable with standing up for yourself. Other IN types (like INTJ or INFP) and FJ types (like ENFJ and ISFJ) might also find these tips helpful. Read more

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The Importance of Living Authentically As An INFJ

As an INFJ, you’re good at picking up on other people’s emotions. And when you pick up on what other people feel you also start to get a good feel for their expectations. For some of us, that seems like a good thing. We know what’s expected of us in different social settings and from different friend groups. We understand who we need to be so we can fit in.

But is that really a good thing for us? Does being able to fit in help an INFJ?

We call it the chameleon effect when an INFJ leverages their unique combination of mental processes to blend in with different groups of people. Chameleon INFJs might even appear as if they’re a different personality type in different situations because they’re automatically shifting toward being extroverted around the extroverts, logical around the thinkers, and interested in the real world around the sensors.

Blending in feels like an advantage at times. That’s why we do it. Fitting in feels safe. It seems like a way to protect ourselves from negative attention. But in reality, using our gifts in this way doesn’t just protect us from bad things. It also blocks us from really being seen and appreciated as ourselves. Read more

Living With INFJ Guilt And Overcoming Cycles of Shame

Disclaimer: some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click on the link and make a purchase on that website.

INFJ personality types* often live with ridiculous amounts of guilt. We feel guilty about things we did and didn’t say or do. We feel guilty about how the people around us feel and how they react to us, about our own short comings, and even about our successes.

Everyone experiences a certain amount of guilt. But it does seem like one of the more common struggles for INFJs. Most people attribute this propensity for guilt to INFJ perfectionism, saying that if we fail to make something “perfect” we’ll feel guilty about it. But it’s a bit more complex than that (a fact which, I’m sure, will surprise no one familiar with INFJs).

Living With INFJ Guilt And Overcoming Cycles of Shame | marissabaker.wordpress.com
Photo credit: “Incognito” by nasrul ekram, CC BY via Flickr

Why do INFJs feel guilty?

The INFJ mind is very good at coming up with reasons we should feel guilty. Our Introverted Intuition seeks out patterns in our own behavior. Our Extroverted Feeling picks up on how we make others feel and evaluates our actions in light of how people “should” be. Our Introverted Thinking is quite happy to analyze our faults to death. And that pesky Extroverted Sensing adds even more guilt by whispering that all this shouldn’t matter and we could just go have fun. Read more

My Abiding Love For Fluffy Blankets, And Other Quirky Ways The Less-Developed Sides Of Our Personalities Show Up

There are very few things I enjoy more than bringing home a new blanket and burrowing deep into its soft, fluffy folds. The Big One throws from Kohls are my particular weakness — oversized, incredibly soft, and occasionally on sale for $10. I can’t get enough of them. They’re scattered around the house. I rarely sit down even in the summer without draping one over my legs. I sleep with one inside my sheets so I can feel the soft plushness against my skin.

If you’re familiar with Myers-Briggs personality types and what I just shared about fluffy blankets was all you had to go from in typing me, you’d probably say I was a Sensing type. After all, S-types are the ones that pay attention to and enjoy sensory details. Intuitive are too head-in-the-clouds to care about things like this (if you want to be hard on them) or they have “better things to think about” (if you’re more of an intuition snob).

But I’m an INFJ, which means Extroverted Sensing is the mental function I’m least comfortable with. So why am I obsessed with texture? Because it’s not just fluffy blankets. If you walk through a store with me you’ll see I touch clothing, purses, blankets, etc. as I walk by. I once bought a purse just because the leather felt soft as butter (that description doesn’t make much sense, but it’s what popped into my head at the time).

My Abiding Love For Fluffy Blankets, And Other Quirky Ways The Less-Developed Sides Of Our Personalities Show Up | marissabaker.wordpress.com
real photo of my fluffy blanket collection

Disclaimer: some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click on the link and make a purchase on that website.

The thing is, our inferior functions aren’t just hiding somewhere waiting to show up and wreck your life when you get stressed. That’s why I like Personality Hacker’s car model,* which describes your fourth-favorite mental process as a 3-year-old. When things are going wrong the screaming 3-year-old is going to consume all your time. This is more scientifically called being “in the grip” of your inferior process. But when you’re pretty well balanced it’ll be napping or happily cooing in the backseat (perhaps while stroking a plush throw).

You’ll probably never be really comfortable or effective at using your inferior function for day-to-day living. But you can befriend that side of your psyche instead of trying to ignore it or seeing it as an enemy. You can also focus on developing your inferior function, as I suggested in my post “Getting In Touch With Your Sensing Side” for INFJs and INTJ. And you can also enjoy and accept the quirky little ways it’s already showing up in your life.

Maybe you’re a dominant intuitive who loves sensory details like fabric texture or subtle spices in food.

Maybe you’re a dominant sensor and you enjoy escaping into theoretical worlds through fantasy and sci-fi.

Maybe you’re a dominant feeler who’s fascinated by computer programing or logic puzzles.

Maybe you’re a dominant thinker and spend your down-time reading touching stories about people’s lives.

My Abiding Love For Fluffy Blankets, And Other Quirky Ways The Less-Developed Sides Of Our Personalities Show Up | marissabaker.wordpress.com
fluffy blankets + pillows = heaven

As helpful as it is to learn about the better developed sides of our personalities, it’s not all that useful to identify with them completely. If an INFJ thinks of themselves only as an introverted intuitive who makes decisions based on their feelings, they’ll be ignoring key aspects of their personalities. And when we do that, we not only cheat ourselves of growth potential but also start drawing more rigid “us versus them” lines in our minds. I mean that in the sense of ideas like, “I’m an intuitive, so I can’t communicated with sensors.” But if we can recognize that our personalities are deeply nuanced, we’ll also realize we have more in common with “other people” than we might have thought at first.

Personality types aren’t meant to make you think of yourself as better than everyone else. They’re meant to help you recognize your unique gifts and also appreciate the gifts of other people (hence the title of Isabel Myers’ book, Gifts Differing). And once they help you discover the ways you’re different the typology framework can also help you discover ways you’re similar to other people. Even a type that you share no letters with and seems your complete opposite (INFJ and ESTP, for example) shares the same mental processes as you, just in a different order.

Do any of you see your inferior function showing up in your habits, quirks, and preferences? What sort of things do you do and enjoy that aren’t “typical” for your personality type?

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What You May Not Know About Your INFJ Mind But Really Should

A few weeks ago a fellow INFJ named Bo Miller contacted me and asked if he could interview me on his new podcast. After picking my jaw up off the floor and texting my boyfriend to share that I was equal parts terrified and excited, Bo and I started a conversation that led to this interview. Our conversation focused on how INFJs can understand and learn to use their Extroverted Feeling and Introverted Thinking functions.

Click Here To Listen To The Podcast

What You May Not Know About Your INFJ Mind But Really Should | marissabaker.wordpress.comI already shared this link on my Facebook page, but in addition to the podcast I have a special treat for you all today as well. Bo is a Certified Myers-Briggs practitioner and the creator of iSpeakPeople.com as well as The INFJ Personality Show. He recently published The INFJ Personality Guide and would love to give you a free copy. I haven’t read it yet myself, but from my conversations with him I’m pretty well convinced it’s going to be really good. I hope you’ll grab a copy and check out his website. Here’s more info:

In The INFJ Personality guide, you’ll discover…
• Your greatest strengths
• Your weaknesses
• Why the rest of the world thinks differently than you
• Why you’re so good at discerning people’s thoughts, motivations, and feelings
• How to set better boundaries
• How to cultivate healthy relationships
• What to do when you get down or depressed
• Career advice
• How to manage your thoughts
• How to make your creative ideas, insights, and visions a reality
• How to communicate more effectively with other personality types
• How to handle criticism without getting your feelings hurt

The guide is divided into three sections:
• INFJ preferences
• INFJ functions
• How to develop your personality and reach your potential

Click To Download A Free Copy Of The Guide

INFJ Overthinking -­ When Our Beautiful Mind Turns Against Us

This is a guest post by John Lindholm, a writer for the Introvert Spring INFJ forum.

INFJs like to look in. Sometimes this habit works against us. Our mind is a busy freeway of thoughts that steer our car off the happy highway. Certain circumstances are particularly disorienting. Our mind twists, turns, and reverses these situations so much that they no longer match up to reality. Here are a few you might recognize:

Small Talk, Big Mistake

INFJ Overthinking -­ When Our Beautiful Mind Turns Against Us, guest post by John Lindholm | marissabaker.wordpress.com
photo credit: “Thinking RFID” Jacob Bøtter

It is no secret that introverts would rather eat a brick sideways than engage in small talk. But I’ve only been offered that choice twice in my life, so the chit chat is unavoidable even to the ghosty­ist INFJ.

It’s even worse when we think our conversation partner is more successful, better looking, or more interesting than we are. When this happens, the chatter milk can sour in an instant.

It starts with rotten self-­talk like, “why am I such a loser compared to him?” Or, “why can’t I just relax and talk like she can?” Or even, “why do I suck at life?” Then the pulverized mind of the INFJ has to throw a few words together to continue the conversation. Not good.

One time, I ran into somebody I hadn’t seen for well over a year. He started with, “I haven’t seen you for a while, so I just wanted to say hi.”

I volleyed, “Yeah, so how have you been?” Not a bad start, but the meter on my coherence tank plummeted as the palaver continued.

When he tried to end things with, “Ok so, I just wanted to say hi,” I again replied, “Yeah, so how have you been?”

Realizing I had repeated myself, I answered my own question. “Good, good, yes right?” It was ridiculous, so I excused myself and retreated to the restroom.

It Will Be All Better When…

For the INFJ, successes that should be celebrated and lead to happiness and further growth can actually lead to frustration, sadness, and even depression. This has a lot to do with “I’ll start my diet on Monday” self­-promising. We tell ourselves,

“Once I get through this social-­event­-stuffed weekend, everything will be perfect.”

“As soon as school ends, I’ll get back to writing my book.”

“I’ll be so happy after I lose these ten pounds.”

This kind of thinking ensures that we’re never where we are. We’re not here, we’re in our head. We’re so busy thinking about what would make us happy that we miss out on the present moment. Since no amount of achievement will evict us from our brain, we’re better off focusing on how to make our head a happier place.

There’s Only One Side: Mine

We INFJs will brood, contemplate, deliberate and ruminate the DNA right out of an idea. Other folks might have an opinion, a passing notion, or even a half­-baked solution. But if they don’t agree with us, they’re wrong.

Or so we think.

We’re awesome at dissecting an issue, but have a hard time accepting opposing points of view. It’s hard for us to trust that others have as much going on between the ears as we do (they probably don’t, but that’s beside the point).

And heaven forbid that people want to speak about a problem without also brainstorming for a solution. I mean, what’s the point in highlighting a fault if we don’t want to fix it, right?

Your Turn…

I’d like to hear from the rest of you INFJs, and from those who love them. What other ways do INFJs overthink or misunderstand social situations? Please share below.

Author Bio: John Lindholm is a middle school math teacher and a writer for the Introvert Spring INFJ Forum (which you are welcome to join). He enjoys writing fiction as well as articles and other pieces about introversion. Check him out at InwardFacingWriters.com.