INFJ?

You'd have to be living under a rock to not know that I have been on a path of self-discovery the past few years. The fact that I have opted to share this journey with the general public through various blogs has been selfish in a sense as it for some reason has provided me an outlet to understanding and a release from the battles in my head.

And now I know why.

As well as the answer to several other things such as why I'm not satisfied (and frequently frustrated) in my job, why social situations exhaust me even though I frequently organize them, and why my boyfriend can't seem to marry me.

God, otherwise known as "Martha" (God is relative) recommended a book a few months ago called
Please Understand Me, Too. Turns out, it's actually Please Understand Me II, minor detail. Never a fan of self-help books, I for some cosmic reason nonetheless bought the book.

It starts off with with an exercise called the Keirsey Temperment Sorter, which is essentially a Myers-Briggs test. I know, I know, something you had to take in college to tell what you had to be in life. But this was a little different.

On the drive home from Thanksgiving we decided to do the exercise--eight hours to kill, why not? We did the man first, and while his type didn't come as too much of a surprise, some of the traits, behaviors and ideals of the type were eye-opening. More on that another day.

Then it was my turn. And yes, this post is all about me.

In the
temperment sorter, there are basically four types--Guardians, Artisans, Idealists, and Rationals. There are then four roles within each of these types and all are determined by the four little letters you test as--I(ntorverted) or E(xtroverted), N(tuitive) or S(ensing), F(eeling) or T(hinking), and J(udging) or P(erceiving). Long story short, at the end of the exercise you end up with four letters, a type and a role.

Me, I'm an
INFJ. Idealist--Counselor.

Um, no. That cannot be right. I must have done it wrong. Introvert? Feeling versus Thinking? Who is this person?

So in true Courtney fashion of seeking the "true", I went back and reviewed all of my answers. I explored how I would have scored differently on answers I was unsure about (even though the test is designed to sort discrepancies). It evened me up a touch in a few areas, but in the long run nothing led to a greatly different outcome thus the original "INFJ"was genuine.

Well, then. At first, I just wrote it off. Whatever, it just wasn't right.

But over the next couple of days out of curiousity (and in need of an explanation as to how this could have possibly been the result), I started reading about the Type in the book and online. I also read about the possible variations based on those "could-go-either-way" answers--i.e. an ENFJ, ESFJ or an ISFJ--and found I did have some characteristics of all of them (I later found out that you can be one Type, such as an INFJ, but have preferences in some areas that lean toward other Types).

Slowly, in the course of my reading and internalizing the outcome I began to come to a realization. And that is, that I have not been living life as
me. Seriously. Once I accepted it, and began to look at things from a different perspective it was crystal clear and one of the most profound ah ha! moments in my 32 years.

I tested to who I really am. I live my life by what I feel I have to be.

And now I'm crying, again. Been a lot of tears this week, mostly of joy and some of how the hell could this have happened? Folks, this a game changer. Imagine waking up one day and someone telling you that what you thought was red your whole life is actually blue. That's about where I am right now.

For about a week, I've been pondering the experience, not wanting to make the mistake of changing directions based on a silly test. What has happened is that the more I think about it, the more I see the truth in it and how it's been demonstrated through past event and situations of my life. I did also seek professional counsel about it with God, who validated the result and talked me through the variations and applications. Not such a silly test.

While there were a lot of personally recognizable traits in the INFJ type, the biggest discrepancy in my test result versus "who I am" was the lack of "dutiful, responsible, controlling" traits. As a "J", some of these characteristics are innate, but I expected them to be the most dominant versus a side-bar.

Truth is, I'd rather NOT have control. As is evident in the simple example of my consistent inability to make a decision as to where to go for dinner. But as a "J", I do like structure and closure--couple this with my "N" and it makes me the rare (as I now know) combination of a "doer" and a "dreamer".

I was also a non-believer in the Introvert outcome. I mean c'mon. I host parties, speak in front of large groups of people and in general am pretty sociable.

Truth is, I am more fulfilled by what's inside of me than the external, but I like people and am extremely adept in relating to them (hence the assumption I was an extrovert). That's the "I" and the "F" in me. By the way, throw away of your definitions of Extrovert and Introvert. They do not mean "gregarious and social" or "shy and conservative"- it's more about how you approach and process, and ultimately where you get the greatest fulfillment.

I could write a book (wait, not a bad idea) of all the realizations and explained situations I have come to understand (and why I went the opposite of true self in the first place), but you are probably not that interested and the bottom line is this:

Understanding myself has lifted a 700 lb weight from my shoulders and it is a truly liberating feeling--hence the tears of joy. It has validated my deepest feelings about myself and brought them to the surface. What I wanted to be is actually who I am (is that irony?). And this is only the beginning.

Any why do I tend to share this deeply personal and profound insight on a blog? Because, and I quote, "usually self-expression comes more easily to INFJs on paper, as they tend to have strong writing skills".

Imagine that.

P.S. Click for more on the
Keirsey Temperment Sorter and Please Understand Me II. And if you just want to read about me, go here for the short version and read the article at the bottom. Oh, and if you'd like to talk to God, I can arrange that too.

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