XX. Loneliness

Hey, dearest reader! Hope your weekend went well.

In this post I’d like to talk about loneliness. This is an tricky subject for me, and I’m sure other INFJs can relate to this as well.

To put it in a sentence, my loneliness has nothing to do with the amount of people around me. I can be alone and not feel lonely– in fact, much of my alone time is actually very energizing. I can also be completely surrounded by people and feel a very crippling sense of loneliness. So what is the determining factor, then?

The biggest factor for me is how well I feel I am connecting with the people around me. I would much rather have a small handful of quality connections rather than a massive amount of surface friendships.

When I have those kindred spirits around me, I am truly content with life; when I don’t, I feel very empty. Having lots of surface friendships actually makes that feeling of emptiness worse. If only there was a way to trade in dozens of acquaintances for one lifelong friend…

What do you all think? How do you combat the feeling of loneliness? I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comment section. Talk to you all soon!

Seize the day!
Ryan
13 November 2016 6:09 PM

 

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XIX. The World is Hurting

The world is in pain, and so am I.

As an American, I am being confronted with the ramifications of this electoral cycle. I feel the fear of the people around me, and that fear breeds hatred. People with different beliefs are overlooking the fact that we are all human, that at the end of the day we all we want is to come home to our families safe and sound.

For me it is easy to see that division and polarization only makes things worse. I wish everyone could see things like I did. That our fears create monsters that are more scary than the actual people behind them. We all want the best for our lives, and we should work together to make that a reality for all of us.

Why can’t people see that animosity and vitriol are not the solutions to the hurt the world is going through right now?

I just hope things don’t get worse than they are. I will do my best to continue to show kindness to every respectable person I meet. I hope you will all remember that hate is not the answer.

In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Take care, my friends. Give the people close to you a hug. Let us move forward with love in our hearts, especially for those that are different than us. This is the only way to make the world a better place.

Seize the day!
Ryan
11 November 2016 8:00 PM

XVIII. Why Are INFJs Great Counselors?

Happy Friday, dearest reader!

Some of my posts about INFJs have been kind of down recently, so I wanted to do one about why INFJs are awesome. It’s no surprise that INFJs are drawn to the profession of counseling, and even if they are in a different field, that their friends and family naturally seek them out for emotional support. Today I will use my own personal experiences to try to explain why I think that is.

I’ve always found that people were willing to talk about their life stories with me and come to me with their problems. I would expect that for very close friends, but it can happen very quickly with new acquaintances is some circumstances!

So why do I think people are willing to come to me about these things?

Well, first off, I think people perceive that I care about what they have to say and how they feel, which in many cases is true. I think that I am good at drawing out the more sensitive side of people and giving them an environment where they feel like they will not be judged for how they feel. When I am concerned about someone’s well being, I am an active listener. I tend to give emotional support rather than immediately try to provide them with a solution to their problem. When I feel they are ready to hear my actual opinion, however, then I have a vision of how I think they can work to overcome their problems best.

I don’t think that is the whole picture though. Any type could try to do those things when someone asks them for advice, but what makes INFJs one of the best at it? I think the combination of dominant Ni and auxiliary Fe is an excellent combination for counseling. Not everyone is willing to open up on their own regard– some people need a little bit of prompting. I get these feelings that something isn’t exactly right and I act on it. I can’t always pinpoint exactly where those feelings come from, but I am usually correct when the alarms go off about a person. Maybe their eyes look emptier than normal one day. Perhaps they aren’t as enthusiastic about one of their passions. It’s those very small, intangible things that catch my attention.

What next? If I have a deep bond with that person (close friend, family member, etc.) I call it out right away. With someone not as close, I am a little bit more careful. Just because I am willing to talk with someone doesn’t necessarily mean they are ready to completely let it all out– at least not if I am blunt about it. So I am subtle. Instead of bringing up the point overtly, I start to steer it in a more personal direction, asking about more and more until they are almost “in too deep” to turn back.

I find that most people are grateful to have someone that is willing to listen though. In fact, I think we are good counselors because we are so willing to listen. I think there’s two reasons why we like to hear these things. First off, INFJs love to know what makes people tick. It may sound creepy or stalkerish but we love to study people and how their minds work. Secondly, and what is very important for me in helping others, is that I use my own pain to help others with theirs. I use my darkness to help others see the light. Since I am able to absorb people’s emotions, their feelings are my feelings. I can relate to them because I physically feel the pain that they feel when they go through something. I feel like I can understand people well enough to know exactly the first steps to take to resolve their issues, if they are ready to hear what I have to say. I try to be sensitive about people’s feelings, but I don’t sugar coat my advice if they ask for it. I know that the only way for people to overcome their problems is to stop the root cause. I feel like my advice is perfect for an open-minded individual who is willing to take steps to change.

So anyway, there’s the mind of an INFJ from a more positive light. What do you guys think? I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comment section. Talk to you all soon!

Seize the day!
Ryan
4 November 2016 5:33 PM

XVII. Can INFJs Ever Find Their Soulmate?

Hello, dearest reader!

Today I will reflect on a question I ask myself every day. When, if ever, will I find the one?

I will admit that I am young, and I have time to figure these things out, but I am scared nonetheless. I see some acquaintances that are able to bounce from significant other to significant other with ease, and then I look at myself. I’ve never dated anyone before, despite my confidence in being able to take care of other people’s feelings, despite many people telling me I deserve someone that will treat me right.

So I do what I always do, and that’s ask a bunch of questions. Self-reflection (and in some cases, self-pity) is the INFJ way. Why are other people able to find significant others so easily, even when they have a reputation of treating people horribly? When will someone actually be interested in me instead of saying they hope I find someone else? And the scariest question yet: Will I have to settle?

Relationships are hard. There are so many factors that go into compatibility and everything has to be just right. I think my first challenge is that my personality type comprises less than 1% of the population. The simple fact is most people are not going to be on the same wavelength as me. In fact, the only two girls I’ve been truly in love with (beyond infatuation) were the only two INFJs I’ve met in my life– go figure.

I just wish I could meet myself from a girl’s perspective, ya know? So I can see the way I act and the signals I give off. I wonder if I’m aloof or too emotionally intense.

I don’t wan’t to be alone for the rest of my life, but I feel like settling for someone that I don’t truly love would cause me even more pain. But then again, I can be so perfectionistic I don’t know if I can be completely satisfied. I dunno. Although I still have plenty of time to meet people, I can’t help but wonder when my time will come.

What are all of your experiences about the idea of soulmates? I would love to read your stories in the comments section. Talk to you all soon!

Seize the day!
Ryan
1 November 2016 6:26 PM

XVI. The Dark Side Of INFJs

Good to see you, dearest reader!

So this is my sixteenth post on this blog. By the time I finish this post, I will have written about 10,000 words here. I’ve started to go deeper into myself, but what if I told you anything I’ve written so far is just scratching the surface of who I am?

Who I really am, that is. Not the person that people around me see. Who I truly am at the very core of my existence. That can be hard for anyone else to determine, because INFJs are chameleons when it comes to the social aspect of things. It’s not that we are being fake, we are just very dynamic when it comes to adjusting to new social situations. We hold back things about ourselves to others to maintain harmony in our friendships and relationships. We even try to hold things back from ourselves sometimes. I’m not going to hold back anything to anyone today, because that’s the point of this blog. We are not always the magical unicorns that some personality tests make us out to be. We have our dark sides too.

Let’s get into it.

Perhaps a fitting first point for what’s to come: INFJs can be very critical, on both others and themselves. We do not tell people what they want to hear, we tell them what they need to hear. People can take offense to that, even if we were just trying to help.

Although sometimes we hold back when we criticize others, we do not pull punches on ourselves. We think we should know better than to make a mistake, and we can beat ourselves up over it.

Although people might see us on the outside as cheery and collected, we are really a continuous hurricane of emotions. Even our best friends do not feel the full extent of it, because we don’t think anyone will be able to fully understand what we are going through and the depth we feel things at.

Very likely related to the last point, we tend to bottle up our emotions until we explode. Don’t be the one that lights the fuse. Although we will regret it completely after it happens, we know how to choose the exact words that will cut someone so deep.

We have high expectations for people. We give so much of ourselves to others and expect the same in return. We usually do not meet people that fulfill those standards, and this is what causes us most of our pain. I think a lot of us worry about if we will ever find a person that lives up to our expectations as a life partner.

But even all of that is just peeling a few layers off the proverbial onion. Usually that is enough depth to more than satisfy most people. The dark side of me, the place that even I don’t like to go, is a lot deeper than that.

I once read that INFJs are 50% angel, 50% wolf. For a while I fought that in my head. I’m a good person, because I’m an INFJ! We are seers and healers! Then I realized that being an INFJ doesn’t automatically make me a good person. I actively try to be the best person I can, but I can be a whole new breed of bad if I’m not careful. If I wanted to be. I could be– and at times have been– the most arrogant, entitled, self-absorbed person out there. Even if it’s just in my head and not out loud. I care about the people around me so much, but I just know that if somehow the switch flips that I have the potential of being stone cold, completely apathetic. There are times where I put my own interests above other people’s, or when I do seemingly nice things just for an ego boost or because I want something in return. It makes me question– am I truly doing these things because I am a good person?

I am not an evil person, not in the slightest, but it’s not right to say that I am completely good 100% of the time. I want to go back to that half-angel, half-wolf analogy. The more I think about it the more I agree it’s true. I really, TRULY do care about the well-being of the people around me, and I want to look out for them. I sacrifice so much to better the lives of those I care about, just because I love them so much. Truthfully. That’s the half-angel side. But there’s another side to me, a side to me that most people will never see, and that side is the side of the predator. The side of me that not only wants to be the best at what I do, but to completely dominate the board. The side of me that cannot be tamed. For a while I never understood the reason why people can consider INFJs to be intense–now I know without a doubt.

I try to aim the angel side at the people around me and the wolf side at my schoolwork and my physical activities. I withdraw whenever the wolf side tries to cross over, and I try to feed my angel side so the wolf is weaker.

There you have it. In this blog I am baring my soul for you, dearest reader. You will see both the light and the dark. Although I generally consider myself a good person, I certainly have my flaws.

Let me know what you think in the comments section. I would love to hear you talk about your dark sides, if you would like to. Talk to you all soon!

Seize the day!
Ryan
30 October 2016 3:10 PM

 

XV. You Are Powerful

Happy weekend, dearest reader!

This one is for anyone who doubts themselves, whether they’re worried about a big project or even wondering if they’ll be able to get through the day.

Don’t give up.

You are not weak for experiencing struggles in life, you are strong for working to overcome them.

You are not a failure for making mistakes in the past, you are a human being that is learning and growing to be a better person.

The effect you have on the people and world around you is incredible, immeasurable. Your words and actions have the power to build people up or tear them down, to create or to destroy. Never tell yourself that what you do does not matter. We are not fully aware of how much we mean to others, just like how a butterfly does not know of its beauty– for it cannot see its own wings.

Life can get difficult at times, but I know you can all overcome whatever challenges you currently face. You are capable, you are tough, and most of all, you are loved.

Hang in there, my friends. We can do this.

Seize the day!
Ryan
29 October 2016 1:58 PM

XIV. Seizing the Day

Hello, dearest reader!

If you’ve read the end of any of my posts or comments, you’ve noticed that I sign out with a certain phrase every time: “Seize the day!”. But what does that mean? Why do I find it so important that it is in all of my posts? Today you’ll find out!

First, some history. Back in 23 BC, the Roman poet Horace published a collection of three books of poems called Odes. In the first book, Horace uses a Latin phrase– “carpe diem”– which is usually translated to “seize the day” in English.

What does carpe diem mean, anyway? The idea of carpe diem is to make the most of the present moment. Whether we like it or not, life is fragile. Although we all make plans for the week like we are going to live to see it, even tomorrow is guaranteed to no one. All that we truly know we have is today, so we should seize it and make the best of it.

So why do I write this phrase on all of my posts? I write it as a daily reminder to make the most of time time I’ve been given right now. I have a tendency to dwell on things that happened in the past or worry about the things that might happen in the future. I need that reminder to realize that the past is gone and that the only way to make my future better is by my actions today.

If you are feeling downtrodden about something that has happened in the past, I ask you to use today to show how you’ve grown and become a better person from it. If you are feeling anxious about something that could happen in the future, I urge you to use today to give yourself the best shot at succeeding down the road.

This moment, right now, is all that we have, so seize the day.
Ryan
23 October 2016 12:10 PM

XIII. The INFJ Door Slam

Hey, dearest reader! Great to see you!

You guys asked for it, so I am delivering. Here is my take on the infamous INFJ door slam. What is the door slam, why do we do it, and is there a way to avoid it?

First off, I’ll provide my definition of what the door slam is. It is when an INFJ suddenly “closes the door” on someone, completely shutting them out of their lives.

Next, I will mention that I have been on both sides of the door closing. I have slammed the door on people as an INFJ, and I have had an INFJ slam the door on me (that one was very disappointing because I was so happy to have found another INFJ in my life– we are a rare bunch after all!). I say this because I want to point out that I can see this topic from both sides and hopefully provide a relatively unbiased viewpoint on the topic.

I also should point out that there is a difference between when I exit a friendship gradually and when I slam the door. The gradual exit comes from when I believe a person doesn’t want my friendship anymore, and the door slam comes when I want to be friends with someone, but they repeatedly treat me in a way that I don’t like.

Okay, with that all out of the way, let’s get to it. Why have I slammed the door on people before? Essentially, when I have a friend that does not treat me well, it affects my emotions very intensely. When I become emotionally overloaded, I need to withdraw for a while. When I come back out and get the same treatment again, it’s even worse. I can only take so many rounds of emotional overload before I get fed up. However, slamming the door is NOT something that I take lightly. If I like a person, I do everything in our power to try to mentally make it work, until I realize that it won’t. Once I make that realization, though, my demeanor changes drastically. Here’s where the usually warm and caring INFJ goes stone cold. At this point, my introverted thinking function takes the wheel, and I am in pure logic mode. This is kind of like an emergency stop valve for my emotions. Usually, once a person makes me get to this point, there is no going back. I do not hate the people that take me to this point. I do not curse at them or insult them. I actually am quick to forgive them for what they’ve done to me. But I move on, and I feel nothing about them from then on out. In a very real way, it is like they are dead to me. The final strands of the emotional tether that connected us have frayed and snapped. The opposite of love is not hate, the opposite of love is apathy.

So, on to the story of having the door slammed in my face by a fellow INFJ.

She is so beautiful.

I do not fall in love with people easily. Because being in a romantic relationship is a massive commitment of time and emotional resources, my standards for a potential partner are very high. Before I met her, I had only been in love with one person previously (An INFJ again– go figure! That’s a completely different story, though.). This girl, she just took every one of my high expectations and completely surpassed them. She is soft-spoken, but when she does speak up about one of her opinions, her elocution is mesmerizing. She is very well-read and cultured. Some might call her a nerd or a bookworm for that, but I greatly admire people that actively seek out knowledge. We have many interests and hobbies in common. She is thoughtful, warm and caring. Her inner world is so rich that I could lose myself in it over and over again. And she looks amazing in glasses.

She passed my compatibility as soon as I heard her speak one sentence. My intuition was screaming to me, “This person is something special, don’t miss your opportunity to get to know her”. I just knew. And that might not make any sense to other types how I could get a read on someone so quickly, but I trust my intuition completely. It did not let me down. So I talked to her, we exchanged contact information, and we went on our way. Not much happened after that for a while until we met again by chance a month later. After that meeting, we started talking a little bit more. I was amazed at how much we had in common. We listened to the same bands, liked the same books, did the same sports. The way we thought was very similar too. Our conversation flowed like water. I didn’t have to ask her if what I was saying made sense every two minutes; she was able to pick up on my abstract concepts and build on them in the conversation. Here I was starting to see what my intuition was telling me about. It was almost like I was speaking to someone exactly like me but just in a girl’s body– almost uncanny in a way. I had her take the MBTI test even though I knew what the results would be. Our cognitive functions simply matched up too well. As I expected, she was an INFJ. When I told her I was the same, she was surprised– she thought I was an extrovert because of how talkative I was! I was just so driven by my intuition to get to know her that I was able to come out of my shell a little bit.

So over the summer, we would go on for weeks having these conversations that went on and off all day as we had the time to reply. As I started to learn more and more about her inner world, I thought something that I had never thought about any other girl before: If given the chance, I think I would spend the rest of my life with her. I was truly, deeply, madly in love. Then, college started. At this point we both took on a heavy work load compared to most students, and I think she started to realize my feelings for her at the same time. She changed the way she interacted with me, and I picked up that change immediately. It was now only me initiating things first, when that was shared equally over the summer. When I did get a response, it was a one-sentence, dead end answer instead of a free-flowing conversation like before. When I asked her what the problem was, she said she was busy. I told her that I understood that, I would just like to catch up when she has a little bit of time. She essentially told me she was always going to be busy like she was, and that I shouldn’t let her hold me back.

And that was it. She was done with me.

I don’t think that she is truly busy every waking moment, because I hear her making plans to hang out with her other friends in class quite often. That was (is) very difficult for me, because I liked her so much as a person too. I would have been more than happy to have been just friends with her. Maybe she thought the friendship that we had over the summer was unsustainable with her schedule, maybe she just wanted to let me down easy because she knew I had feelings for her.

The point is, I’m still not completely sure why she did what she did.

And now, after looking at my personal experiences from both sides, I can start to come to my conclusion about it. It’s a tricky subject. I can see from an INFJ viewpoint how it can be necessary, and I can see from an outside viewpoint how confusing and sudden it can be. The things that a friend can do can hurt an INFJ, but I think that many times that friend doesn’t even know that they’re doing anything wrong. I think INFJs are very afraid of conflict, especially if they are the ones causing it. The fact that INFJs are so private with their true feelings to try to make their relationships work can sometimes cause them to not even tell others about their feelings in the first place.

That leads me to my final question: How can the door slam be avoided? I think at the very end stages, when an INFJ says “enough is enough”, the door slam is unavoidable. Once we are at that point where we cut someone off, we have tried very hard to make it work– it is not a decision we take lightly. However, I do not think that INFJs are completely faultless for getting themselves into a situation like that. I feel like we really do need to work on setting boundaries and telling people what is and isn’t acceptable in a friendship or a relationship, or else we end up hurting ourselves and others. If we set up boundaries and a friend crosses them, we have legitimate reason to terminate the friendship. I would think that most of the time, our friends don’t know what we want or need though. I think that many people would be willing to adjust once the expectations are clear, and we save ourselves and others a lot of pain.

I know this post was a long one, but I really wanted to make sure I went deep into detail about what can be an otherwise mysterious phenomenon. Hopefully this sheds some light for other personality types and INFJs alike.

What are your experiences with the door slam? Have you been on the giving or receiving end? How do you think setting boundaries would have helped? I would love to hear what you all have to say in the comment section. Talk to you all soon!

Seize the day!
Ryan
22 October 2016 11:33 AM

XII. I Am A Walking Contradiction

Hello again, dearest reader! I am feeling very inspired to write today, so here I am again!

Tonight I plan on writing about the often paradoxical nature of INFJ thoughts and feelings. Here are some examples:

1.) As an introvert, I need alone time to recharge my batteries, but I have a constant desire to interact and make connections with people regardless. As strange as it may sound, I am an outgoing introvert.

2.) Because of the first point, many people initially mistake me as an extrovert. This is especially true if I am having a one-on-one conversation with a new person that I take a liking to. That perception usually disappears when they see me in a big group setting or when they have to figure out why I have to withdraw from the world every now and then.

3.) I am either extremely private or extremely open, depending on how I see a person’s compatibility with mine. If I like a person, they’ll know more about me in a week than many people I’ve known for years.

4.) I give amazing advice to other people about their problems, but I have trouble deciphering how to handle my own issues and feelings.

5.) I can fit in with just about any group of people, but still at times feel like I don’t truly belong with anyone at the same time. I would not call myself a social butterfly, but rather a social chameleon.

6.) I am usually very serious, but there is a silly/goofy side to me that is begging to be let out.

7.) I feel like I understand the people I meet pretty well, but I do not often feel that understanding is reciprocated.

8.) I am quick to forgive others and slow to forgive myself.

9.) I am at heart a very warm and caring person. However, when I am under too much emotional stress, I can be completely cold and calculated.

10.) I can care about someone so much that I never talk to them again (I swear I’ll write that door slam article soon… this keeps popping up in everything that I post!).

11.) Even though I feel like a kind and caring person, some people initially perceive me as aloof, distant and intense.

12.) I find sadness to be a painful emotion to experience, but I also find it beautiful at the same time. I do not run away from being sad like many people might. I feel like life as a whole should be experienced in all of its ups and downs.

13.) I am not necessarily materialistic, but I do like having quality things in my life. In other words, I have no desire to buy a Ferrari, but I do like having a comfortable mattress to sleep on and nice headphones so I can enjoy listening to music.

14.) I am open-minded to hearing new ideas, but when my intuition tells me I am right about something, I am very stubborn when it comes to changing my mind.

15.) I love the fact that I have a rare personality type, but sometimes I wish I was more like other people too.

What do you guys think? Could you relate to any (or all) of the things that I said? Let me know in the comments section. I would love to hear what you have to think. Talk to you all soon!

Seize the day!
Ryan
21 October 2016 8:21 PM

XI. I Am Hard On Myself

Hi, dearest reader! Glad you can be here today.

Today I am writing about a rather sensitive subject for me. This blog is to show the world what INFJs are like behind their walls, though, so I will not hold back.

To put it simply, I am very hard on myself. Like many of my INFJ traits, this is both one of my greatest strengths and one of my greatest weaknesses. On the positive side, it drives me to be the best I possibly can, because I set high standards for myself. It allows me to excel in the things I do, not just pass by doing the bare minimum. On the not-so-positive side, I am cruel to myself whenever I make a mistake.

Although I am very able to forgive others for their mistakes, many times I do not allow myself that same grace. I feel like I “know better”, and therefore should not be allowed to make any errors. Don’t get me wrong, reflecting on mistakes is a great thing– in moderation. Acting too carelessly or beating yourself up too much when you mess up are both very bad things, however.

I tend to gravitate toward doing the latter of those two choices. When I let someone down or hurt their feelings, it’s hard for me to deal with, because my intentions are never malicious. I will lie awake in bed, replaying the situation and every possible way I could have avoided making that mistake. I am my own worst critic.

But you know what? Learning to forgive yourself is just as important as learning to forgive others. It’s something I try to improve on every day. Deep down, I know my intentions are good, and I am quick to forgive others for the hurtful actions they commit against me. So why can’t I allow the same kind of forgiveness for myself? That is not to say I will not feel remorse when I do something wrong, I just want to be able to look at the situation in a more constructive way. I want to be able to learn from my mistakes. I want to be able to move on and be a better person because of my experiences, not just be shackled to my past. Because of this, I am trying to take it a little easier on myself while still continuing to strive for greatness. Again, balance is what I truly seek– I hope that one day I will be able to find it.

Are you guys critical on yourselves too? I would love to hear what you have to say in the comments section. Talk to you all soon!

Seize the day!
Ryan
21 October 2016 10:10 AM