What it’s Like to be Me
I have a very internal focus. I think I look at myself through other people’s eyes, but sometimes I can lose touch with how things work for me. Then I can get introspective, going very deep and staying there, not coming out too quickly or easily. Somehow I find it very difficult to put into words and communicate the things that really matter to me. Most people don’t have the foggiest notion about what goes on with me.
I like harmony and seek consensus and do well with the deep issues. My values and the things that are important to me often feel outside the mainstream in the sense that I feel impinged upon and uncomfortable with so much of what goes on. I’m too private to push my values on to other people, but I am convinced that one ought to be congruent in their own life if they are going to expect congruence from others. In a sense I hold other people to that standard, and I worry about my own incongruities, inconsistencies, and contradictions. Groups can be hard. I can put myself in the group process so rapidly and so completely, and it’s important not to get sucked in. I need to be predictable about what I believe.
I am a global thinker and I like to learn interactively. My thoughts need to be connected with some person or value. On reflection, don’t all thoughts have to be connected to something? I feed new information into other things I’ve read and my thoughts, and I can have a marvelous time just sitting with ideas. And I like to discuss or write things because I seem to have a lot in my head and I’ve got to get it out. I love bringing together different eclectic ideas and seeing what’s similar. I like to have my own ideas, hear others ideas, and have ideas challenged, bantering back and forth. Chitchat has no interest for me. I tend to do a lot of mental rehearsal and play in problem solving, and the fun part is figuring out how to do something. Motivation comes when something has real meaning or value for me, and while I enjoy ideas I don’t like having my values challenged.
For me, asking questions is just a different form of being quiet, a way to explore an inner thought stream or check out of reality and back into my thoughts. Sometimes I chuckle at myself that there is really no sequential way that I work though tasks…
I’m concerned about how others feel when they are around me. Lack of honesty or ethics or integrity in interactions-when someone is saying one thing but doing another-really puts me off. So does when someone doesn’t honor, or accept as valid, my communication or feeling as I try to talk to them about something that matters to me. And I don’t need to talk about myself. I don’t enjoy it. Sometimes I’m frustrated trying to communicate, and sometimes a metaphor or a joke or a story is a way to effectively express myself so what I’m saying can be heard by someone who hears or experiences things differently.
I don’t know what I am going to do next, but I trust in myself that something will come in as a new idea, with challenge and inner meaning. Whatever it is, it will be right. Although I would never actually say it, it feels as though I am grounded in the very being of who I am when I talk like this.
Of any personality type, INFPs are the most obsessed with personality typology and if you meet an INFP that knows what personality typology is, he or she will be highly likely to ask you about your personality type. It is a system by which we can understand ourselves, a system by which we can understand the rest of the world, a system by which we can understand our interaction with the world. For our entire lives, we have felt fundamentally orthogonal to the world. Many of us have felt tremendous pain over how poorly we feel understood and how important it is that we feel understood.
So many of us flock to this system because it finally explains who we are.
And it praises us for it. It is not surprising that we like this system; virtually every summary of the type includes highly complimentary language…at least from our perspective.
- meaning in life
- good listeners
- value system
- good mediators
- fighting passionately for a cause
- talented writers
- dislike of conflict
While many of us look down upon our tendencies, it is only due to the expectations of a society that places practical value on the opposite of our nature. All of us need to recognize that we were not designed for that system, and our purpose is to provide that which brings balance to this societal force.
Be proud of who you are. Be unabashed in being yourself.
Here’s a great article about job/career directions for MBTI INFPs, like me*. Learn to use your employees’ skills and motivations effectively, employers!
*Granted, I have worked myself so I’m much less P and more balanced with the J skill sets, but the INF applications still apply, and my heart yearns for the liberty that the P provides.
This is a wonderful article! It’s nice to know there are others looking for the same things in a job (and having as much trouble)…
Haha yes you’re right it is, but I decided to use it anyway cause I liked the picture. I was going to change it later but at this point I should probably just change the name to INFP tortoise…
INFP Description by INFPs
This is an awesome INFP profile drafted by INFPs themselves. Definitely one of my favorites:
“For INFPs, life is a journey to understand themselves and the world. Where some others may strive for achievements such as degrees and promotions, an INFP tends to consider these as important mainly for their value in making it easier to fulfill the INFP’s life goals.
INFPs value authenticity, acceptance, and the search for meaning in life in both the ordinary events of life and the grand scheme of the universe. One source of sustenance for INFPs are those small, genuine gestures from the heart, be they from loved ones or strangers.
INFPs have many interests and talents. They are generally good at perceiving possibilities for improving the world and understanding others. They are often clear at expressing ideas through language, writing, poetry, and other talents. When an INFP supports a particular project or goal, they can get an extraordinary amount of work done in a short time. On the other hand, INFPs tend to procrastinate and are dissatisfied by detailed work not related to one of their important values. This is one reason INFPs are happier when working at jobs which are related to their values.
Ideas and feelings (and particularly ideas about feelings) form the center of an INFPs existence. As INFPs explore the world, they discover new relationships, concepts, and connections about the universe. This exploration guides INFPs to find values important to themselves.
Many INFPs do not like attempts to impose shoulds and have-tos. These INFPs find absolute systems of rules that everyone must abide to as confining and arbitrary and simply unfair. As such, INFPs may rail against words that imply that a value system can be imposed from the outside.
Sometimes INFPs deny having ideals or principles since it’s possible to equate a reliance on principles with dogmatism and inflexibility. Instead, they prefer to talk about feelings: not momentary emotional states but the personal values on which the feeling function operates.
INFPs often place a high value on harmony, and avoid conflict unless confrontation becomes necessary. Minor, detail oriented, administrative problems are ignored until they stop the progress of any current projects. When his or her projects are threatened, an INFP will either fight for the project/ideal if it’s important enough, or concentrate on another one of his or her interests to avoid a confrontation.
INFPs do not measure life in terms of the number of friends and acquaintances they have but rather by the quality of their friendships. For INFPs, the distinction between friends and acquaintances is very important; an acquaintance is someone they spend time with while a friend is someone with whom an INFP can share ideas and feelings. Their most valuable friends are people who understand their important values and accept them unconditionally.
An INFP’s feelings form the foundations of the individual. They are sacred and binding, in the sense that their emergence requires no further justification. An INFP’s feelings are often guarded, kept safe from attack and ridicule. Only a few, close confidants are permitted entrance into this domain.
INFP’s look at humanity at both the individual (human-to-human) and societal levels. One common discouragement for INFP’s is that societal change often seems impossible. When INFPs become discouraged, they may need some time and space to rediscover their values and a sense of inner peace. The conflict between their ideal world and “reality”, as they see it can cause depression or withdrawal from the world unless they have people that support them in their projects.”