Have you ever felt out of step from all those around you, a little eccentric and misunderstood? I know I have and quite often. Even my kids agree I am a complex woman. The constant dialogue in my mind is endless and I find myself a voyeur of the human condition. Leave me in a mall and you will probably find me sitting on a bench just people watching. I find that much more interesting than shopping.
It took many decades of self-examination and most recently, the discovery that I am an INFJ, to even begin to feel comfortable with myself. If you have never taken the Myers-Briggs personality test, I highly recommend it. You can find a free test HERE. I have taken this test many times and each time; I have unequivocally been classified as an INFJ. I retook the test in the hopes that I would end up being another personality, one that is not quite as complex. No such luck. I am squarely in the INFJ realm and must continue to work on accepting the personality I came into this world with.
So, what is an INFJ? Hallmarks of this personality type include the Jungian categories of Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling and Judging. Without making this a Jungian lesson on psychology, I will point out a few general characteristics that many INFJ exhibit. A very rare personality with only 1-2 % of the population in this category, INFJ people may feel out of step with the rest of the world. They have an ability to exhibit empathy and at times a psychic like talent of reading other’s personalities. They are often mislabeled as extroverted due to their strong communication skills and ability to make others comfortable. In practice they are introverts and often feel recharged by time spent alone. INFJ’s are also self-expressive, activists, creative and very strong willed when pushed. Sounds like an interesting bird, right?
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” ― C.G. Jung
When I read about INFJ’s the first time it was like coming home. I immediately knew that I was indeed a member of this small community. Nothing described me better than this personality. It explained so perfectly why I feel uncomfortable in large groups, yet people still see me as outgoing and easy to talk to. Why I am so sensitive to others energy that it hurts to be around someone who is hurting, empathy is a powerful thing. Why I can become steadfast when pushed to my limit. It was all there, laid bare.
I understand that beyond a label there is still free will. Claiming of a label can be dangerous to personal growth if used as a crutch for bad behavior. Ultimately, I do not see a contradiction in knowing this information. It simply provides me with more tools to work on becoming a better person. I enjoy knowing that others act and respond the same way I do, it is somehow comforting and less isolating.
If you are inclined to do further research on INFJ’s and other personalities types you can read up on it HERE and HERE. Both include a free test, which can be a fun summer afternoon activity. Happy personalities research everyone!