Monday, April 24, 2017

Lost - an introvert in a crowd

Invited to a social just to be part of the crowd
invigorating the extroverts,
I feel lonely, tired, and lost.

I feel painfully invisible
amid the crowd.
I feel like the soft music of a wind chime
lost in the blaring of a band;
like a delicate pastel painting
washed out in harsh neon light;
like hushed country twilight
disturbed by garish partying;
like gentle candle glow
obliterated in flood lights.

My voice drowned out
by superficial chatter,
my identity is lost in the crowd.



Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Needing Each Other

He needs predictability
I need opportunity

He needs order
I need flexibility

He needs routine
I need variety

He needs time to work
I need time to think

He needs a plan
I need follow through

He needs my enthusiasm
I need his calmness

We both need each other

Saturday, January 7, 2017

INFJ Stress Basics- Balancing Others and Self

INFJs (introverted intuitive feeling judging) are the rarest personality type. Being only 1% of the population there are some stresses inherent with looking at life so differently from most people. There are also some stresses that just come with being an INFJ.

I am coming to understand that peace in my life is a matter of balance. One area I find challenging as an INFJ is balancing my desire to help others with my need to care for myself.

  • Mentoring People:  I don't easily give up on people. If one idea doesn't work, then I'll come up with another. I am an idealist and have great faith in people's potential (NF intuitive feeling). I can see many ways to help people develop their talents and rise to become the person they were meant to be, and I will invest tremendous time and energy into helping them flourish. Only when a person refuses to change; refuses to grow; refuses to learn; only when there is nothing else I can do; will I step away from a relationship. Some people are surprised when I actually walk away, but I will when I see that there is no possibility of having a positive relationship with that person. This isn't just with acquaintances, but even with close family members. I feel like I am saving myself when I see the ship going down, but I always stay close by and available if they decide to change. Since I am so empathic being around negative, critical, crude, and selfish people is like taking poison into my soul. I must get away or my sensitive spirit with wither. Yes, being so empathic and devoting so such time and energy to relationships can be quite stressful, but when I can help a person grow and be happy, it is worth it!
  • Nurturing Myself:  I can become so involved in other's lives that I forget to care for myself. It is like my scanners are focused outward, which they are. As an INFJ, my feeling and sensing functions are extroverted or focused on the outside world. I pick up all sorts of information from other people and my environment. I notice their verbal and non-verbal communication. I sense how they are feeling and what they need, and I have a desire to help them. I truly, and deeply, care for everyone I meet. Even strangers sense this in me and come up to me and begin sharing all their hopes and woes. This ability to empathize with others is a great gift, but if I don't step back from the world and assess what I am feeling and what I need, I will eventually collapse. I know, how can I not be aware of what I need. The same way I can so totally tune into others that I feel as they are feeling.  It is like having a telescope focused on the outer world. I have to stop and turn the scope around before I see myself. I must make time to focus on my inner world. I need time alone to check into how I am feeling, to listen to what my intuition is telling me, to align with my own values, to notice my needs, and sort out my own feelings from others feelings. If I don't regularly remove myself from all the outside input and center, I will become exhausted.

Could I simply ignore all this info I receive from others? No. To me it feels like they are broadcasting their feelings and thoughts on a loud speaker. I just sort of resonate to their "vibes". I feel their spirit. It is a part of who I am and how I function as an dominant intoverted intuitive feeling person (INF). Besides, I need this input from others to help me determine how I can help them. Helping people reach their potential is how I express my idealism. It gives purpose, drive, and energy to my life. I thrive on helping other people grow. Extroverting allows me to apply my tremendous introverted intuition and feeling values in the real world. This is why I love teaching, mentoring, and writing. It is me. It is my natural way of relating with others.  Some people wonder if those like me are "for real". They question how anyone could be so altruistic. If you are deeply feeling others feelings and are aware of their needs, what else could you be? Their needs are my needs.

 The problem comes when I focus on other people and their needs so much that I begin to feel responsible for their lives. Not only does this stifle their growth, but it drains my physical and emotional reserves. I have the ability to take in their feelings and needs to a point where they seem to be my own. To maintain my own identity and make sure I do not over extend myself or take responsibility away from others, I must step back frequently and check in with myself. I need quiet time to look inside and see if my actions are matching my goals and values. I need to separate myself from others. I have to recenter on how I am feeling.  Writing and Personality study help me do this. This is probably why many INFJ's write, and why personality study is the major research interest of almost all INFJs.  Also, meditation, scripture reading, and praying enable me to remain centered. All these activities help me keep in touch with who I am. They help me keep my identity separate and not lose it as I take on others feelings and needs. If I don't frequently step away from the world and "check in" with who I am, I will soon collapse in an exhausted heap. 

Friday, December 30, 2016

INFJ Under Stress

There I was, a miserable mess. I kept crying. I felt there was no purpose to my life. I didn't want to live. There was nothing for me to do. Life was just endless details. My husband was always grouchy. I felt that no one loved me. The world had rejected me and my abilities. I wanted to just cease to exist.

Yes, I had reached my low, "I'll go out and eat worms",  point in life. How did I get there? How have I gotten out? That's what I have been asking myself, because I sure don't want to go there again!

I looked at my life. My husband had just retired, so there were a lot of changes. Apparently, I was not adjusting well. What was I doing each day that depressed me so much? I was doing normal things such as dishes and laundry and dusting. I answered some emails and commented on Facebook posts. I visited with my husband, did some data gathering for him, went for a ride with him in the afternoon, and watched football or basketball with him in the evenings.

Just listing all that and I want to crawl into a hole. Everything was sensing details. I can see why I didn't want to even get up in the mornings! My husband is a very competent ISTJ (introverted sensing, thinking, judging). He happily fills his life with detail after detail, ad nauseam. Here I was the empathic, philosophical INFJ (introverted intuitive feeling judging) trying to be his shadow. I was picking up all my husband's orderly, detailed needs and desires and trying to meet them. I was trying to be an ISTJ!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

What Makes INFJ and INTJ People Unusual?


Generally, I have the feeling that I am going Up the Down staircase. My comments are frequently met by blank stairs and a sudden awkward pause in the conversation. Conversely, I stare blankly when other women conspirately share where to get the latest outfit or gadget.

Life can be very stressful for me. I find that I must consciously protect myself from a loud bustling world and the constant bombardment of feelings from other people.

To me a perfect day is definitely NOT made by a checked off task list, and lots of bustling around. Instead I long for lots of unstructured time to explore and create new ideas. I enjoy helping people individually to reach their potential through understanding who they are and why they are here. I ponder the purpose of life and enjoy the beauty and serenity of nature. I am the rose in the corn field, the philosopher in a world of doers. I am an INFJ.

Being an INFJ, it is my nature to question why am so different. How I do things seems "normal" to me. What am I doing differently than most people? My daughter, an INTJ, also experiences this sense of "differentness". Why?

Obviously, we are both intuitives. Around 30% of the population prefers to use intuition, impressions and inspiration, to gather information. Intuitives are ever looking for new possibilities, new patterns, new understanding. On the other hand, 70% of the people feel more comfortable with information which comes to them through their senses. Sensors love the tried and true and past experiences are valued, recorded, and applied in daily life.

But why do we often feel "odd" even among intuitives? I looked further and discovered that though less than one third of all people (in the US) are intuitive, we do not all use intuition in the same way.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Marriage between Detailed and Creative people

I saw this video and it made me think of learning to "pull together" in marriage.

He shops, cleans, does laundry,
and pays bills "for us".
Allowing me the quiet time
I need to study and think,
 so I can write "for us".

Forty-four years ago I never thought I would write something like this, but I just did. In fact, I wondered if our marriage ever work. We were miserable. He was always so critical of everything I did. I wanted him to be more relaxed, and have a little spontaneity. He never wanted anything to change, and that was what my life was about -- change. My credo was, "Why not?" and his was, "Why!". He was a firm believer in, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!", while I longed to help everyone achieve their potential. My husband lived in constant fear of his "irresponsible, immature, incapable" partner who he tried, unsuccessfully, to keep in tight control. I grew increasingly resentful and angry toward this ISTJ (introverted sensing thinking judging) person who kept trying to "correct" me and who treated me like I was a child. I felt like I had red lines marked all over me. I definitely did not want to be made over into some "proper, orderly" person. If that is what he wanted, then why hadn't he married someone who was like that. I had been me. I hadn't pretended (like I could!) to be any one different. I was who I am-- a gifted creative person, an INFJ (introverted intuitive feeling judging) individual.

Well, how did we get from that dismal point to where we are now? Mainly, with a lot of prayer. I'm not kidding. It took help beyond our own for us both to appreciate the other's strengths.

Friday, January 15, 2016

"Beach Master" Style of Leadership

Dark rocks rise above the foaming waterline in Hawaii.





Have you every worked under a "Beach Master" (ESTP) employer. They are superb at utilizing resources to accomplish a specific task. The have "Staff Briefings", then "deploy the troops" to get the job done.  They are strong with immediate goals, but weak in long term planning. They are people of action. They need to talk out their plan verbally. They do not want to be questioned. They only want their ideas listened to and implemented as directed. They do not tolerate their authority being questioned and must be in total control. They will not abide "insubordination in the ranks". People are viewed more as resources to accomplish a specific task. They usually do not notice, or are insensitive to people's feelings and therefore frequently unknowingly insult the people they work with. Though they do not create collaborative teams, the are the supreme masters of making task teams with themselves as the undisputed leader. They are frustrated when the task requires long term planning, working in a committee, and follow-through. They often do not have the patience to work out procedures and goals. Given large complex projects, their one-task, commander, style of management is inadequate.  When they are unable to accomplish the large goal, they have no idea what the problem is, or what can be done about it. Often they think that having more people or resources will solve the problem. They can not cope well with jobs where responsibilities involve many tasks that interrelate, deal with personnel, require delegation, are complex with many details, have long term goals,  require adhering to procedures, follow-through, or global thinking, unless they enlist the assistance of other people who can supply the abilities they lack.