A couple of weeks ago someone on twitter asked about people’s MBTI personalities, and I responded that I am an INFJ, but it’s difficult for me and I don’t want to be an INFJ. She asked if I would care to be a guest blogger on her blog, writing about this topic. I had some spare time, so I wrote an essay and emailed it to her. I never heard back from her, and I emailed her to see if she got my email. She said she had got it, she was out of town and she was sick, but she was planning on catching up on her emails over the weekend.
Needless to say I never heard back from her. So in the interest of not wasting a piece of writing I am posting it here on my blog. If you are not interested in MBTI personality types this is probably not very exciting for you. I find the whole thing kind of fascinating, although I’m not sure how scientific it is. Maybe it’s kind of like astrology. I’m a Taurus by the way.
I started to realize that I was different from most people when I was about 8 years old. My parents always told me I was perfect and had high expectations for myself. As I got older I realized that I didn’t fit in with the rest of the world and in my teens I learned how to act so that I didn’t appear unusual to others.
I have an ability to “feel” people’s feelings and to get them to talk about themselves. I do consider this a gift, however it can also cause problems. Feeling other’s feelings as well as my own can cause me to become overwhelmed. After all, most times one person’s worth of feelings is enough. And I am quite an emotional person with very strong feelings, so to take on everyone else’s can cause emotional overload. I am concerned with other people and how they feel and act. This combined with my perfectionist tendencies and my high expectations of myself can cause me to become overly involved in other people’s lives. When someone opens up to me I feel that it is my responsibility to take in as much as I can of them; to help them in any way they need. I rarely, if ever, try to cut short conversations with anyone, even if it means my time is spent unwisely. There are times when I have other things to do or places to go, but I get involved in conversation with someone. I keep asking them questions, getting them to talk about themselves, all the while trying to tell myself to “Stop It!”.
I tend to be insightful, with insight into myself, into others, and into patterns in society and the world. My mind is constantly analyzing the world around me and the people around me. I try to find meaning in everything – in relationships, in situations. This can be tiring at times! I have to work hard to get my mind and my thoughts to rest. Everything has possibilities and contexts.
I have strong values and principles and I try very hard to live my life accordingly, but I find I fall short. I also find that other people don’t understand my reasons for my behaviors, since most people don’t have such powerful principles working within them. I often make up excuses for doing or not doing things because I know that people won’t understand my motivations. Since I never feel that I am living up to my values I constantly have a feeling of self loathing, of imperfection. I always am striving to be a better person, to do more for humanity and for the world, and I never feel that it is enough.
On one hand I am idealistic, on the other hand I am cynical. I always have some degree of idealism about any situation or person, however I am often cynical that the true ideal will emerge. I am frequently disappointed in other people, even though I know from the beginning what the outcome will be. I have high expectations of myself and others.
I have a strong ability to focus and concentrate, and get frustrated when “real life” interrupts my thoughts or my work. I don’t work well with other people, I prefer to be alone with my thoughts and ideas and I prefer to do things myself rather than delegate. Due to this trait I am often overloaded with work that I take on instead of letting others do it. Combine this with my need to do everything perfectly and you can see that I have a lot of pressure on myself.
Although I have strong feelings and thoughts I keep things to myself and rarely let others in. I don’t think anyone would understand me and I don’t want to take risks of alienating people. I prefer to keep conversations going about the other person and not myself. I often say, “Give me an hour and a stranger, and I’ll know his whole life story, his goals, his fears, his dreams.”
I trust my intuition, and sometimes it is wrong. However, I will trust it above anything else, including facts and evidence.
I have an anxiety disorder, which is most likely due to my desire to be perfect, to always be productive, and to always be caring and attentive to others and to the world. It’s fairly impossible for me to talk about my problems with anyone which makes therapy difficult, and I’m a person who could benefit from good therapy. I have a lot of resistance with my therapist.
A perfect example of my life occurred this afternoon. I decided to sell my spinning wheel since I don’t have time to spin and I put an ad on Craig’s List. Today a young woman came over who was interested in buying the wheel and she brought her husband. He seemed like a very quiet introverted guy; he is actually a physicist. They spent some time at my house, and we chatted while she tried out the wheel. She ended up buying the wheel and sent me an email this evening. She said:
“Good evening Harriet,
I wanted to thank you again for the wheel and good conversation. My husband, Rick, had such a good time talking to you and was sad to go – coming from Rick, that means a lot (he’s not much of a talker unless he likes someone).
Have a good night,