I have recently become rather fixated on personality types. Call me a fatalist, or perhaps a tad OCD, but I just can’t deny the accuracy of most Myers-Briggs results. Of course, this is because I’ve seen the eerie similarities in my own life a few too many times — there’s nothing like the feeling of a stranger on the internet seemingly seeing right through you!
As a psychology student, I bewilderingly never remembered my MBTI type — possibly because I would often try to hack my test results so that I’d be an extrovert instead of the oft-misunderstood introvert that I am (whom I now adore — and also deem perfect excuse for shirking social events).
But having learned a thing or two about the particularly enigmatic INFP type, I thought I’d share a few findings to possibly help those still trying to figure themselves out — read on and see if these ring a bell with you:
1. The voice(s) in your head can be friend or foe.
As an INFP, you most likely have a rich inner world. Sometimes, this makes it hard to distinguish thought from reality; emotion from truth; optimism from insanity. It really can go either way, any which way… it all just depends on the parameters you define.
What I mean by this is: your mind is particularly susceptible to (over-)analysing and processing the stimuli around you, at any given time — whether you realize it or not — so it’s up to you to decide what meaning you ascribe to it. If, for instance, you’ve got a nightmare boss or frustrating coworkers (not speaking from experience here…), taking a step back to understand that it’s not about you can be life-saving.
On the other hand, this internal chattering can lead to some of your best work, your most thoughtful comments, and unusual perceptions. When you use it to your advantage and focus it on positive acts and expressions, you may just find the universe starts working in your favor.
2. Your childlike energy is just what the world needs.
One of the things I think the world doesn’t understand about INFPs is that, despite coming across as quite serious or “shy”, we actually have a very loopy sense of humor. The thing is, this is generally reserved for our nearest and dearest — we don’t just give away our best accent impressions to just anyone.
If you find yourself on the receiving end of comments about your withdrawn nature (“You’re so quiet” is a personal favourite of mine — by the way, we can also be pretty sarcastic), just take it in your stride. At the ripe old age of 28, I’ve realised that every Joe Blow has an opinion, and what they think of me is none of my business. Once you get that… well, the world is yours, my dear.
3. You need to harness your creativity.
The majority of INFPs tend to be highly creative, and this can take a variety of forms: writing, painting, dance, music, design… the list goes on. However, as generally receptive and analytic individuals, we can (at least in my personal experience) overthink our art to the point where we don’t produce it.
Again, it depends on what the voice in your head is saying — or, rather, how you channel this energy. Because at the end of the day, our minds just work with what we feed them. If you consciously decide to focus on living a creative life, your inner force of expression will rise to meet the occasion. Trust me, it works.
4. You absorb emotions like nothing else.
I feel like this point could also be called “Open-plan offices are your idea of hell”, but I decided against it. A lot (not all… but a lot) of INFPs are also empaths, which basically means that you suck up the emotions around you — whether you like it or not.
There have been days where I haven’t done anything productive at work (holla!) but have come home feeling like I ran a marathon — and it’s because of the immense amount of energy it takes me to absorb, reflect, and move beyond the emotional energy of my work colleagues (in the aforementioned hellish open-plan office).
Once I realized this, though, nothing could stop me. While I still have my days where other people’s gossip, negativity, or just emotional flatness gets the better of me, I’ve learned to create both mental and physical barriers around me.
Mental barriers include (but are not limited to): energetic shielding (yes, I work in personal growth), mindfulness, consciously focusing on one task at a time. Physical barriers: obnoxiously huge headphones, isolating yourself in a booth or some other area with a modicum of privacy, deep breathing. Mix these babies up and you’ve got yourself a recipe for peace and quiet!
5. Your psychic abilities will guide you.
Whether or not you believe in the supernatural, it’s hard to deny the intuitiveness and psychic connection most INFPs possess. There are times when, in my own life, my own gut feeling — apropos of nothing — has steered me in the right direction. There’s also been a lot of weird moments where my thoughts have seemingly sprung to life, as if in a movie; or when, in a conversation, I’ve felt that my comrade would spout certain phrases would and then they did… and then I follow that up with a bizarre look. It’s all a bit of fun!
It’s hard to explain; in fact, it’s probably impossible to explain… but just like a million other things in this world (venus flytraps come to mind), the fact that we humans can’t understand it doesn’t mean it’s not real.
6. You have gifts to share with the world.
At the end of the day, many INFPs are full of talents, gifts, and surprises — but all too often, we keep them to ourselves. We don’t believe in controlling others or bothering them (yes, we’re very considerate types), which often ends up with us erring on the side of keeping things bottled up. This can be troublesome — not only for you, but those around you.
Assumptions don’t tend to do much good, but INFPs in particular need to be aware when they are arriving to conclusions before actually consulting the individuals involved. What I mean is: if you have an idea, a story, a learned lesson that could benefit someone — it’s important to share that. It’s not always helpful to hold back, wary that others may be bothered by your contribution — when it could be just what they need.
Of course, you need to feel comfortable with this, and there’s a lot to be said for taking your time to get things right… but it doesn’t always have to be perfect. It just needs to get out there. Once you’ve done that, that’s when the magic can really begin (oh, and INFPs love a good bit of magic).
These are just a few of the pearls of wisdom that have helped me to understand myself. Hopefully it’s been of use to you — if you have any other INFP-specific suggestions (try saying that five times fast), I’d love to hear in the comments below!