Dear fellow INFJ,
You are “The Advocate.” You are insightful and often understand people better than they understand themselves. You tackle problems with creative solutions. You can inspire others with passionate writing and speech. You long to scatter daffodil seeds over withered fields, forgotten graveyards, and abandoned alleyways. You plan, you commit, and you follow through.
And if you align with current statistics, you’re probably depressed.
A massacre on someone else’s continent plagues your sleep. The unpaid electric bill on someone else’s table engulfs you with grief. You can even sense the absence of a soldier from someone else’s family.
I am an INFJ, and many of my close friends are INFJs. We all have clinical depression. We battle anxiety 1,440 minutes a day. We see therapists. We take medication. We wake up four times a night, dreading how the world will fail us tomorrow. Like many INFJs, our anxiety manifests itself in a variety of unpleasant ways—addictive behaviors, social withdrawal, eating disorders, OCD, bipolar disorder, and panic attacks.
It may seem easy to conclude there is something wrong with you—with us. But it’s not us.
It’s our environment.
We exist in a world where xenophobia is flourishing and discrimination is as familiar as a stoplight switching from yellow to red. “Personal responsibility” has become a phrase used to justify selfishness. Your compassion has imprisoned you in heartache. You must watch extremists obliterate historical landmarks on CNN, read racial slurs in the comment section of every YouTube video, and listen to politicians enact laws stealthily concocted to disenfranchise minorities.
We exist in a world where quantity is favored over quality. Tasks are to be ticked off as quickly as possible. Data, numbers, scores, and percentages are the end goal. Your high standards and attention to detail have become a waste of time. Your job has become a race. You must now grind out the best work you are capable of as fast as you can, only to have your work quantified into a statistic for a quarterly report.
We exist in a world that trusts the loudest voice. The first to raise their hand reigns supreme. Your quiet intelligence and attentive insight have become lost in the chaos of hasty opinions. You must now suffer through decisions that you know will backfire, plans that you know will fail, simply because they were uttered by the flashiest person at the table.
We exist in a world where saving money and taking shortcuts direct every decision. Your idealism has become nonsense. Your vision for anticipating and preventing harmful consequences is cast aside. It’s “too much work.” Your ideas are “unrealistic” because they demand others do the right thing instead of the easy thing.
We exist in a world that allows injustice in every arena for the sake of preserving social and political power. Your dreams for equality have become a hopeless fight. Others accuse you of caring too much. “Political correctness” has become a phrase used to mock your empathy.
We exist in a world where the humanities are viewed as a useless pursuit—a world where corporations focus solely on profits, schools throw their limited funds on science equipment, and exams measure the art of reading with numbers and scales. Caring about people and the thoughts, dreams, ideals, and emotions that connect us have become inferior to the sprint for the newest invention, the fastest delivery time, the cheapest labor cost.
We exist in a world where size 2 models are airbrushed to oblivion and size 10 actors are used for comedic relief. Headlines tempt us with the secret to KILLER ABS and our BEST BOD. Your perfectionism has become an illness, slowly poisoning you on your quest to have the perfect body, the perfect grade, the perfect résumé, the perfect outfit, the perfect credentials. Flaws and shortcomings pollute your thoughts and push you to be smarter, better, stronger, thinner.
Until you’re having your next panic attack. Until you’re methodically executing your next compulsive ritual. Until you’re meticulously calculating your next meal. Until you’re devoting the day to your pillow because past your bedroom walls is a toxic blend of animosity, negligence, complacency, and injustice.
But it’s not you. You are not flawed. You are the Nelson Mandela. The Mahatma Ghandi. The Mother Teresa. The Martin Luther King, Jr. While the world devalues your strengths, underestimates your intelligence, and shrugs off your agony, you are one of the powerful threads stitching this frayed planet back together.
So to you, my fellow INFJ, be brave enough to disagree. Trust your ideals. Let your compassion be your blueprint, not your defeat.