July 23, 2015

Confessions of an INFJ

 Hello, all!  Today's guest post is by Elizabeth Kaiser, here to teach us about her personality type!  Don't forget, if you want to be part of the 16 Personality post series, take the test (http://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test) and email your results to christiellaryder[at]gmail[dot]com.  If the slot for your personality type is still open, you will get a chance to help people understand YOU!  

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 First of all you should know that some have called into question the veracity of the MBTI testing system, and proposed the whole thing be thrown out. 
 If you're an INFJ, though, that suggestion is just plain silly.
 Because: so what if the test is not fool-proof, iron-clad, test-to-end-all-tests categorically classifying every known or possible personality tendency?
 INFJ's are okay with ambiguity!

 And if it helps someone to understand themselves better, even a little bit, then off course it's worth it.

 Because INFJ's are really about trying for perfection, while simultaneously realizing perfection is impossible.
 This breaks our hearts a little bit at all times, and so leaves us just about two steps away from sad perpetually.
 But that's also okay, since great wisdom can come from great sorrow. (If you use it right.)

 And that's about this personality type in a nutshell; we're okay with ambiguity. The entire life experience is a mixed bag of happy/sad, because we consistently see the reverse of every coin we're looking at... which can help us weather down times and hopeless situations because we can see hope in the middle of the fog, as well.

 So we're rarely uber-happy, and this makes it kind of fun to be around those personality types that are just mindlessly ecstatic about stuff. It's a refreshing break from our own swirling thoughts and multi-angle view points... sometimes having someone else show us what it's like to take life merely on face value, at this moment... it's fun.

 But not for too long, because the shallowness will depress us and then we have to have space to regain our even keel.

Down sides of being an INFJ:

We worry.    ...A lot.

We remember everything.... including all of our mistakes. In fact, our own mistakes bother us more than others', and this is just depressing.

We try to figure out how to make everyone happy.... which is impossible, so ends up depressing.

We try to out-think the world for everyone's best interests.... and then other people, and the world, don't cooperate.

We don't accept our own faults... and therefore have a hard time believing anyone else could, either. So it can be difficult for us to feel loved... and like most of the "I" types, we yearn to belong.

 We feel like strangers, outcasts, and aliens, and we know this is because we're so different from Most People. 

Up-sides of being an INFJ:

 Yep, we really do read minds, and can "catch" what you're feeling even before you realize you're feeling that. It's basically acute observation, with an intense ability to predict coupled with a deep ability to care. (This makes us vulnerable, because other's bad attitudes invade our brain space and we can't fully shut them out. Even with practice, the "green smoke" sneaks in and wisps around our feet, and we have to work really hard to pretend it's not happening. But it is.)
 We want to help, but don't want to be intrusive. We'll got to great lengths to thoughtfully map out the very best plan of attack for you to use... and if you throw it away, and laugh at our reasoning, than pretty soon we will distance ourselves from you. Because you've rendered yourself as a threat to our equilibrium; we can't be around you while you sabotage yourself, it hurts us inside. 
Therefore we can become angry and drive the self-saboteur away, because our energy is dangerously sapped by their hurtful presence. 

 We're really good at predicting outcomes, not because we've got some sixth sense, but because we can see cause-and-affect really well, and we've been studying the world from the time we could talk... the way some people obsess over chess or football, or any other kind of sport. In fact, we don't care for "silly games" (i.e. all games) because Life is the game we're constantly challenged with. 
 And we do memorize the plays... so yes. We're pretty good at that.

 We can be really good at figuring out what's really important to us in life, and so we can trim away everything that isn't. Since we're not herd-followers, this can make us appear eclectic, or even eccentric, but it's just us being honest.
 There is great freedom in being honest.

 Because we delve so deeply, we can get a huge amount of enjoyment out of simple things. Like a particular day, or that one great friendship. We don't have to fly to Paris (actually, that sounds really awkward... do you even speak French? How could you thoughtlessly fly somewhere you'd be incapable of communicating with?) or have a thousand rose petals showered over us. (Again; who's going to clean those up? Are they going to be left to rot right there?) But we can completely savor a companionable afternoon stroll and a carton of Breyer's, one slow spoon at a time.

 We make less mistakes than Most People. This is a serious upside, for while we obsess over the mistakes we do make, (yes, like we actually expect we Should Have Been Able to live a perfect life... and are disappointed in ourselves when we fail to measure up to that) we in actuality make far fewer stupid missteps than most, because we watch and learn from others. 
This can mean that we find ourselves mid-way through life with very few regrets, and this is a beautiful thing for an INFJ. (So take heart, all you Introverted Feelers... you may be ridiculed when young for your attempt at caution & wisdom, but it definitely pays off later on!!!)

Bullet list of Interesting Things about INFJs:
  1.  We are loyal. To people, to causes, to groups... It takes a lot of abuse to make us walk away, but once we're gone, we're never coming back. Don't say "I'm sorry, forgive me and come back." It's nice you're sorry (though we can tell you aren't really,) we already forgave you/are working on it, because it's intruding on our personal peace, and nope; NEVER standing there again. EVER. Deal with it. You've lost, because you've lost us... completely. We now have worthier things to be loyal to.
  2. We are not anti-authority. We simply recognize not all authority is competent, and so rule out any form that's just blustering and going nowhere. We're a bare-bones type of mystical-seer-person, and yep... being a boss is not the same as a leader. And don't even try to convince us "it's for our own good". We've long ago deduced exactly what you're getting out of it, and how & why that's coming from us. And no, we're not falling for that.
  3. If we can use our ability to see around a problem to re-frame the things we dislike about ourselves, to view them as strengths in disguise, or messages of what we need to change... then we can reach a balanced perspective of our self. This is our greatest super-power, and the one thing we INFJs should definitely do. Because our ability to help people is hindered if we're crippling our own selves with our internal criticism.
  4. We are great researchers. With our attention to detail only if/when it actually matters we can look it up on the internet then walk away and perform brain surgery and it'll likely be successful. We won't be able to explain it to anyone else, making other more concrete types scoff at our "research", but we'll be able to make it come together well and probably save the life if it needs saving. We may never use the information again, and if ever needed to do the same thing twice we may need to pop back on the internet and brush up... since we don't carry abstract, "unimportant" details well. We're all about the personal connection, so any tidbit that helps us toward the goal will be dumped as soon as the goal is achieved. It's the goal that counts... and our thought processes are the same way. That's why we can often leap to correct deductions with the speed of light, but can't explain how we got there. The info we sensed and sourced is jettisoned as soon as the obvious path becomes clear.
  5. We are confusing to everyone... and that can even include ourselves. This is why it's very important for an INFJ to try to understand itself as well as we try to understand others... and if we meet someone who cares enough to try to understand us to, this is very endearing. But no one should take this lightly, since "fake empathy" turns us off worse than anything else.
  6. We love to live in a joyful moment, and love people who help us do this, especially if they're nurturing, gentle sort. We take criticism very seriously, so if it's broached softly it will actually be the most effective. Harsh negatives can crush us to the point where we're no longer able to act on the critique, we're too busy trying to stop the gushing blood. Carelessly critical people are deadly to an INFJ... and being told they "are too sensitive" is no cure. (It's actually really callous and uncalled for... and has totally to opposite effect on us... and yes, we'll always hear your words ringing in our ears whenever we look at you. Or hear your name... or, pretty much anything.)

 Being an INFJ is great. But it can be lonely, as the second rarest type, and we help people misclassify us all the time, because we're highly able to chameleon into a facade of just about any other type. We can be completely opposite to us for a short while if called for, and because we're always paying attention to what goes on inside, we can easily nurture just about any attribute from any of the types. This is exhausting work, but if the good of all requires it, we'll basically kill ourselves doing it.

 In short, if you're lucky enough to have a relationship with an INFJ, cherish it!!! Feel free to take their advice, 'cause they're really good at it. They may be cautious to give it, so you have to earn their trust before they'll be truthful with you, 'cause some times the truth hurts and they'd never want to do that unless someone really, really sincerely asked for it.
   If by some chance the advice they gave doesn't work right, they will probably feel even worse about it than you do. So don't beat them up about it (they'll be beating themselves up about it!). Work together to create a patch-up plan, and let them know you don't blame them. Help keep them focused on the big picture, and make sure they see it. 
 Here's a quote to leave you with...

"INFJs; don't write an email, they write an essay." This is kind of true... ;-) But there's usually so much to be said on a subject before it's fully communicated, with no possibility of being taken wrong! :-)

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Want to be part of the 16 Personality post series?  Take the test (http://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test) and email your results to christiellaryder[at]gmail[dot]com.  If the slot for your personality type is still open, you will get a chance to help people understand YOU!  

EKaiser Writes
Author, Artist, Illustrator

  E. Kaiser Writes began publishing professionally in 2011, and has been read internationally. Reviews and interviews from all over reflect a growing recognition for her immersive worlds, high-definition three dimensional characters, and uniquely flavored plot lines.
  She credits her nearly nomadic childhood for the vast reach of her fictional worlds; she has lived (and gotten to know the locals) in the Rocky Mtns, the Smoky Mtns, the plains, the deep forest, the searing Texas summer and frozen Minnesota north.

Her first novel, Jeweler's Apprentice, (2011) was a light-fantasy adventure for teens, where a shy, bookish heroine is thrust out on the first step toward the adventure that awaits, and the difficult thing that is called ‘growing up’.
  Traitor's Knife, 2nd in the series, (2013) ups the stakes as the apprentice Fia Brithin grows bolder, and so do the agents of the enemy. When sabotage stalks her new home, it is hard to tell if assassins are right behind, and her life may be forfeit for the friendship she treasures.
  King’s Ward, 3rd in the series, (TBA) sees Fia becoming more entangled in the war across the mountains, because the war is no longer staying across the mountains. Once again she must pull herself away from her comfort zone and tackle new challenges, and this time a life she holds very dear hangs by a thread she must carefully spin under the noses of dangerous eyes.
(More in this series to come.)

In her second series, the THAW: quartet starts off a new collection of Fairytale retellings which will span over fifty years in the tumultuous realm of three worlds, entwining several family lines. The adventure sprouted with a combination of The Snow Child, Snegurken, & The Snow Queen. The series debuted Jan. 2015; with origins novella Winter's Child swiftly joined by Winter Queen and then Prince of Demargen. The Thaw Quartet will be wrapped up when Reindeer King releases, but the series continues with Council of SwansPrincess of NoranBeaded SlipperTwelve Dark Knights, and The Book of Keld (to name a few) will forge further into many more fairytales, both old and new.

  She also hosts and edits the Space Kitties Anthologies, (submission period open July-August!) Please do join us!

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