Friday, October 2, 2015

The Advocate

I like taking personality tests. Some I have found to be more accurate than others. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is one that is more on the less accurate side because your results can change. In fact, they can change frequently. Still, I took it recently because I wanted to get a better gauge at where I am at emotionally and mentally. I figured I could use a small snapshot. There are 16 different combinations from 4 pairs of traits. There is introversion (I) or extraversion (E), intuition (N) or sensing (S), thinking (T) or feeling (F), and judging (J) or perceiving (P). My result was as follows:

INFJ Personality

The INFJ personality type is very rare, making up less than 1% of the population, but they nonetheless leave their mark on the world. As Diplomats (NF), they have an inborn sense of idealism and morality, but what sets them apart is the accompanying Judging trait - INFJs are not idle dreamers, but people capable of taking concrete steps to realize their goals and make a lasting positive impact.
INFJs tend to see helping others as their purpose in life, but while people with this personality type can be found engaging rescue efforts and doing charity work, their real passion is to get to the heart of the issue so that people need not be rescued at all.

Help Me Help You

INFJs indeed share a very unique combination of traits: thought soft-spoken, they have very strong opinions and will fight tirelessly for an idea they believe in. They are decisive and strong-willed, but will rarely use that energy for personal gain - INFJs will act with creativity, imagination, conviction and sensitivity not to create advantage, but to create balance. Egalitarianism and karma are very attractive ideas to INFJs, and they tend to believe that nothing would help the world so much as using love and compassion to soften the hearts of tyrants.

INFJs find it easy to make connections with others, and have a talent for warm, sensitive language, speaking in human terms, rather than with pure logic and fact. It makes sense that their friends and colleagues will come to think of them as quiet Extroverted types, but they would all do well to remember that INFJs need time alone to decompress and recharge, and to not become too alarmed when they suddenly withdraw. INFJs take great care of other's feelings, and they expect the favor to be returned - sometimes that means giving them the space they need for a few days.

Live to Fight Another Day

Really though, it is most important for INFJs to remember to take care of themselves. The passion of their convictions is perfectly capable of carrying them past their breaking point and if their zeal gets out of hand, they can find themselves exhausted, unhealthy and stressed. This becomes especially apparent when INFJs find themselves up against conflict and criticism - their sensitivity forces them to do everything they can to evade these seemingly personal attacks, but when the circumstances are unavoidable, they can fight back in highly irrational, unhelpful ways.

To INFJs, the world is a place full of inequity - but it doesn't have to be. No other personality type is better suited to create a movement to right a wrong, no matter how big or small. INFJs just need to remember that while they're busy taking care of the world, they need to take care of themselves, too.

INFJ Strengths

  • Creative - Combining a vivid imagination with a strong sense of compassion, INFJs use their creativity to resolve not technical challenges, but human ones. People with the INFJ personality type enjoy finding the perfect solution for someone they care about, and this strength makes them excellent counselors and advisors.
  • Insightful - Seeing through dishonesty and disingenuous motives, INFJs step past manipulation and sales tactics and into a more honest discussion. INFJs see how people and events are connected, and are able to use that insight to get to the heart of the matter.
  • Inspiring and Convincing - Speaking in human terms, not technical, INFJs have a fluid, inspirational writing style that appeals to the inner idealist in their audience. INFJs can even be astonishingly good orators, speaking with warmth and passion, if they are proud of what they are speaking for.
  • Decisive - Their creativity, insight and inspiration are able to have a real impact on the world, as INFJs are able to follow through on their ideas with conviction, willpower, and the planning necessary to see complex projects through to the end. INFJs don't just see the way things out to be, they act on those insights.
  • Determined and Passionate - When INFJs come to believe that something is important, they pursue that goal with a conviction and energy that can catch even their friends and loved ones off guard. INFJs will rock the boat if they have to, something not everyone likes to see, but their passion for their chosen cause is an inseparable part of their personality.
  • Altruistic - These strengths are used for good. INFJs have strong beliefs and take the actions that they do not because they are trying to advance themselves, but because they are trying to advance an idea that they truly believe will make the world a better place.

INFJ Weaknesses

  • Sensitive - When someone challenges or criticizes INFJs' principles or values, they are likely to receive an alarmingly strong response. People with the INFJ personality type are highly vulnerable to criticism and conflict, and questioning their motives is the quickest way to their bad side.
  • Extremely Private - INFJs tend to present themselves as the culmination of an idea. This is partly because they believe in this idea, but also because INFJs are extremely private when it comes to their personal lives, using this image to keep themselves from having to truly open up, even to close friends. Trusting a new friend can be even more challenging for INFJs.
  • Perfectionistic - INFJs are all but defined by their pursuit of ideals. While this is a wonderful quality in many ways, an ideal situation is not always possible - in politics, in business, in romance - and INFJs too often drop or ignore healthy and productive situations and relationship, always believing there might be a better option down the road.
  • Always Need to Have a Cause - INFJs get so caught up in the passion of their pursuits that any of the cumbersome administrative or maintenance work that comes between them and the ideal they see on the horizon is deeply unwelcome. INFJs like to know that they are taking concrete steps towards their goals, and if routine tasks feel like they are getting in the way, or worse yet, there is no goal at all, they will feel restless and disappointed.
  • Can Burn Out Easily - Their passion, poor patience for routine maintenance, tendency to present themselves as an ideal, and extreme privacy tend to leave INFJs with few options for letting off steam. People with this personality type are likely to exhaust themselves in short order if they don't find a way to balance their ideals with the realities of day-to-day living.

INFJ Relationships

When it comes to romantic relationships, INFJs take the process of finding a partner seriously. Not ones for casual encounters, people with the INFJ personality type instead look for depth and meaning in their relationships. INFJs will take the time necessary to find someone they truly connect with - once they've found that someone, their relationships will reach a level of depth and sincerity that most people can only dream of.

Getting to that point can be a challenge for potential partners, especially if they are the impatient type, as INFJs are often perfectionistic and picky. People with this personality type aren't easily talked into something they don't want, and if someone doesn't pick up on that, it's a trespass that is unlikely to be forgiven, particularly in the early stages of dating. Even worse is if a suitor tries to resort to manipulation or lying, as INFJs will see right through it, and if there's anything they have a poor tolerance for in a relationship, it is inauthenticity.

Is This for Real?

One of the things INFJs find most important is establishing genuine, deep connections with the people they care about.
INFJs will go out of their way to seek out people who share their desire for authenticity, and out of their way to avoid those who don't, especially when looking for a partner. All that being said, INFJs often have the advantage of desirability - they are warm, friendly, caring and insightful, seeing past facades and the obvious to understand others' thoughts and emotions.

INFJs are enthusiastic in their relationships, and there is a sense of wisdom behind their spontaneity, allowing them to pleasantly surprise their partners again and again. INFJs aren't afraid to show their love, and they feel it unconditionally, creating a depth to the relationship that can hardly be described in conventional terms. Relationships with INFJs are not for the uncommitted or the shallow.

When it comes to intimacy, INFJs look for a connection that goes beyond the physical, embracing the emotional and even spiritual connection they have with their partner. People with the INFJ personality type are passionate partners, and see intimacy as a way to express their love and to make their partners happy. INFJs cherish not just the act of being in a relationship, but what it means to become one with another person, in mind, body and soul.

INFJ Friends

There is a running theme with INFJs, and that is a yearning for authenticity and sincerity - in their activities, their romantic relationships, and their friendships. People with the INFJ personality type are unlikely to go for friendships of circumstance, like workplace social circles or chatting up their local baristas, where the only thing they really have in common is a day-to-day familiarity. Rather, INFJs seek out people who share their passions, interests and ideologies, people with whom they can explore philosophies and subjects that they believe are truly meaningful.

Closed Book and Speed Reader

From the start, it can be a challenge to get to know INFJs, as they are very private, even enigmatic. INFJs don't readily share their thoughts and feelings, not unless they are comfortable, and since those thoughts and feelings are the basis for INFJ friendships, it can take time and persistence to get to know them. Meanwhile, INFJs are very insightful and have a particular knack for seeing beyond others' facades, interpreting intent and compatibility quickly and easily, and weeding out those who don't share the depth of their idealism.
In friendship it is as though INFJs are searching for a soul mate, someone who shares every facet of their passions and imagination.
INFJs are often perfectionistic, looking for ultimate compatibility, and yet also look for someone with whom they can grow and improve in tandem. Needless to say, this is a tall order, and INFJs should try to remember that they are a particularly rare personality type, and even if they find someone compatible in that sense, the odds that they will also share every interest are slim. If they don't learn to meet others halfway and recognize that the kind of self-improvement and depth they demand is simply exhausting for many types, INFJs are likely end up abandoning healthy friendships in their infancy, in search of more perfect compatibilities.

Like Finding a Needle in a Haystack

Further complicating things are INFJs' eloquence and persuasiveness, which lead to a lot of (unwanted) attention and popularity. Their quiet, determined idealism and imaginative expression naturally draw influence, and if there's anything INFJs avoid, it's the accumulation of power over others - and the people who are drawn to that type of power. INFJs will find themselves more sought after than they'd ever care to be, making it even more difficult for them to find someone they truly have an affinity with. Really the only way to be counted among INFJs' true friends is to be authentic, and to have that authenticity naturally reflect their own.

Once a common thread is found though, people with the INFJ personality type make loyal and supportive companions, encouraging growth and life-enriching experiences with warmth, excitement and care. As trust grows, INFJs will share more of what lies beneath the surface, and if those ideas and motives are mutual, it's the sort of friendship that will transcend time and distance, lasting a lifetime. INFJs don't require a great deal of day-to-day attention - for them, quality trumps quantity every time, and over the years they will likely end up with just a few true friendships, built on a richness of mutual understandings that forges an indelible link between them.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

What Makes Me Different?

My parents have been doing there best to give me a strong kick in the butt to help me be happier. I think all it is doing is making us both sore and annoyed at each other to be honest but I do appreciate the effort at the same time. And since it seems to be the continual center of any kind of discussion, I feel like I have no choice but to think about it since it is being placed at the forefront of my mind: What makes me happy? And more specifically, what can I do myself to be happier?

I hate this conversation so as a starter, stop talking about it.

Most of the things that come to mind aren't even things that truly make ME happier. They are things that would make OTHERS happier. Over the last few weeks/months, I have had a few health scares so I know I need to work on my diabetes. If you aren't diabetic but have the potential to become so, change your lifestyle and eating habits now. Diabetes can be summed up in the first syllable... Die. It is terrible. So get your act together and avoid it all costs, all you Type 2's out there! So I know I need to work on that. I have been testing a lot more but I need to set some appointments with doctors (LOATHE) so I can get my prescriptions in.

The next thing I need to do is start going to the gym. I have never in my entire life have held a gym membership. I never wanted one. I avoid them. I don't feel that I need it. I know I am not as fit as I used to be. I know that I am clearly not as active as I want to be. I even set up my desk at work to be a standing desk to avoid sitting all day long when I am on the phones. The question is how have I avoided it for so long? Even with going to 7 years of college, I looked to be active wherever I lived. I had friends that I could play pick up soccer matches, ultimate frisbee, bubble soccer, volleyball, rock climbing, etc. If I needed to think or get away from people I would go for a run.

I don't have those types of friendships right now. I was hired after the work leagues had finished their sign ups for the year. So any exercise I have to do now, I have to do independently and I have to organize and do by myself. It is not something I am super excited about or look forward to because partially, I don't want to go to the gym and it is a reminder that all of my friends I used to do that stuff with no longer live anywhere near me. Still, at my heart I am an active person even though lately I haven't had the desire to do much.

The next thing I have on my "To-Do List" is reading and writing a novel. I have so much more time after work when I can read for my own enjoyment. I also can start working on my novel that I have outlined and think about in my spare time. It will be a good exercise to legitimately start putting pen to paper so to speak and start moving forward on the process. This is one of the things I actually want to do for me however, you need to feel inspired to really have exceptional writing. Writing for the sake of writing does not always produce anything of value but at least it helps the project progress.

Things that also make me happy include:

  • Kayaking
  • Snowshoeing
  • Going to the movies
  • Going for walks
  • Traveling
  • Golfing
  • Geocaching
  • Going out to dinner
  • Visiting friends
  • Rock Climbing
  • Racquetball
  • Games
  • Soccer Matches
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Hanging out with friends
  • Dating
"I didn't lose you, you lost me. You'll search for me inside of everyone you're with and I won't be found."

Typically in a breakup you will go into some sort of routine. I grow a beard for a while and my hair grows out. I watch old TV shows that make me laugh. Eventually I find myself again but this time I need to work on improving myself. I don't want to simply go back to who I was. I want to learn from this. I want to be better. Unfortunately like anything else in life, it won't be easy but it will be worth it. I have to be ready for the long haul again.