November 11, 2015

The Calamities & Joys of an INFJ.

The realm of psychology (the scientific study of the human mind and its functions) has always been fascinating to me. I remember the first time I ever heard the terms "extraversion" (which is being concerned with obtaining gratification from outside the self) and "introversion" (which is being concerned with gratification from inside the self via introspection). And I couldn't help but notice right away that I was an introverted soul.

It totally explained why I never looked forward to basketball practice or choir practice after school, because I had already spent 7 hours at school surrounded by people. I just wanted to go home, be alone, and regain my energy after so many hours of social interaction. It also explained why I loved being home alone as a kid because I could just be totally by myself for once and have free reign! I could focus on myself, work on my skills, and write my little heart away! It was rare but it was wonderful!

And then a few years later, I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test. If you've never heard of this before, I'll explain it the best I can. Basically in this world there are 16 personality types based on 4 divisions:

1) Do you prefer the outer world or the inner world? (Extraversion or Introversion?) 
2) How do you process information? (Sensing or Intuition?)
3) How are you with decision making? (Thinking or Feeling?) 
4) How do you deal with structure? (Judging or Perceiving?)

My result was of course:

I: I'm introverted. I gain energy by being alone and indulging in much introspection. :)
N: I take in information using my intuition more than I do with my 5 senses. For example, when I remember a past event, I remember the impression of it more-so than the facts. I sense patterns and trust my gut-feeling.
F: I am a feeler. I am community and relationship oriented, and want nothing more than complete harmony in every situation. If I see someone having a bad time I will notice right away and try to make them feel better.
J: I approach life in a structured way. I love to make lists. I get anxious when there's no plan, and I'm definitely not a huge fan of "surprise visits" or out-of-the-blue phone calls.

After I read my personality description I felt...amazing. It was as if somebody dissected my whole being and wrote it out in bullet points. I finally felt understood, like I wasn't weird after all. (Well, I am pretty weird, but a good weird. :P) I know there is a certain population of people who detest learning about personality types because they don't want their whole being to be dwindled down into a box. I'm the total opposite! I get so excited reading about my results and being described so perfectly. I love being "put in a box", labelled, and shipped off to an exciting land of belonging.

What was even more fascinating was reading that the percentage of INFJ's in the world is a super small number; we're talking less than 3%! How unique am I?! Hee hee. Not gonna lie, I love being considered a rare personality. But at the same time I love thinking about the tiny little community of us. I may be a rare one, but I'm not the only INFJ. In fact, the other day at work, after meeting a girl, having one of the most effortless, flowing, and in-depth conversations, we discovered that we were BOTH INFJs! We got SO excited and wanted to hug but that would have been physically awkward as we were sitting across from one another at a table. It was the first time I had ever met the same personality type as me. I even told her, "I feel like I'm talking with myself right now!" It was as if an instant bond formed between us. :)

I also found this blog called "Introvert Dear", which just feels like home to me. The articles are informative and meaningful, and the comics are just plain humorous in a I-TOTALLY-RELATE-TO-THIS sort of way. I highly recommend you checking it out!

I think I have mentioned this before in previous blog posts, but when I mention to someone that I am indeed introverted, it always seems to surprise and catch them off guard. "Are you serious? But you're not shy, you're lively and you converse with us, and you actually went out of your way and said hello to me first!"

My response is always the same: "I'm an introvert through and through. I love to be alone and I am pretty shy. But just because those things come natural to me doesn't mean I let them control me..."

I am a fallen sinner, and I always need God, but this is ESPECIALLY where I need God's strength and help.

For example:
I: I'm introverted and I'm really good at being shy. Therefore, if I didn't challenge myself to start conversations with others or put myself out there...I'd never leave my apartment or my own head for that matter. I can become comfortable by myself way too easily, which is dangerous. How can we be of any help to others or spread the Gospel of Jesus by never giving other people the time of day? It is a conscious decision that I have to make consistently.

N: I rely on my intuition. This is something I have to be really careful about because many times my intuition has been wrong, especially when meeting someone for the first time. I'm more incorrect about somebody's first impression than I am right about it. In the past I have trusted my intuition more than I have trusted God's voice. I may be a really good listener, but for some reason I don't listen to the things that God is trying to teach me.

F: I rely on my feelings...alot. I'm "highly sensitive" as they say. I can easily turn somebody's loving criticism into an attack on me. This is an area where God has really done some great work, to say the least. I used to let my feelings control me. If somebody said something mean to me in the morning, my entire day would be a mess, and I would negatively effect the people around me. I don't mean to say that I've totally escaped from this weakness, but I've certainly learned how to deal with it in a healthy way. One of my favourite quotes in the entire world is by an amazing woman named Lysa TerKeurst who said,
"Feelings are indicators, not dictators. They can indicate where your heart is in the moment, but that doesn't mean they have the right to dictate your behaviour and boss you around. You are more than the sum total of your feelings and perfectly capable of that little gift...called self-control".
As Galatians 5:22 tells us, one of the fruits of the Spirit is indeed self-control, and this is what I strive to have.

J: I love having structure and routine. I appreciate going to bed at night knowing exactly what is going to happen the next morning all the way until I go to bed again because it gives me a sense of confidence. I fear the unknown and I always have. Structure is a great thing, but how often have I denied people because they don't fit in with my cozy comfortable routine or plans? How often have I had a bad attitude when those surprise visitors show up at the door? 1 Peter 4:9 states: "show hospitality to one another without grumbling". Does it get any clearer than that?

Last night I got Jarryd to do the Myers-Briggs test. Apparently I know him REALLY well, as many of the questions I could have answered for him. Haha! It's also funny how I don't understand how he could answer a question a certain way and he doesn't understand how I could answer a question a certain way. For example, one question asked something like: "how are you with giving others constructive criticism?"
Jarryd: I am very direct and honest, not afraid of offending anyone.
Me: Well...I avoid hurting people's feelings at all costs...
Jarryd: ...Hahahaha!

Anyway, :P ... Jarryd's personality result was: ENTP.
I immediately died of excitement because INFJ's and ENTP's are one of the best relationship matches. (Google it! It's a known fact!) I obviously didn't need Myers-Briggs to tell me that, because I have always felt like Jarryd and I's personalities mix so well, but it was certainly awesome validation! We are opposites (which I love!) on every Myers-Briggs dichotomy except for our intuition skills. And I think this aids our relationship because we can ALWAYS sense when the other person isn't OK. We just plain "get" each other and it's awesome.

INFJ to ENTP: "You are fantastic conversation partners. We both like ideas, concepts, and value each others ideas. If we weren't both major procrastinators we would already rule the world".
ENTP to INFJ: "We enjoy figuring people out. Us INFJ's embrace the fact that we have a minimum 9,032 layers and are going to take our time letting you (ENTP) get through to any of them".
INFJ to ENTP: "You are witty and funny and can keep up with our total smartassness". 

I think one of the best parts about being married to someone who is so different from me is that aside from balancing each other out, we are fascinated with each other's personalities. I tell Jarryd all the time that I love his personality of fearlessness and passion and how I sometimes wish I could be that way too! And Jarryd really admires my personality because I'm so calm, patient, and stable...(but everyone knows that INFJ's are tornados on the inside, haha)!
If there's anything I could say to a fellow INFJ or an introvert for that matter (AND myself!), it would be: Challenge yourself once in awhile. Step out of your comfort zone but also take the time to step back into it to get some rest and recharge. Seek God in all that you do and be thankful for the unplanned and unexpected bumps in the road. It's the moments you don't plan for that have the potential to shape and grow you the most, if only you'll let them. :)


  1. Replies
    1. Jolene!! I don't know why it never clicked for me before, but you TOTALLY are! Yay!!! :)