Know Thyself

I recently came across a quote that spoke to my personality in a way that nothing has before. I’ve always been a sensitive person, emotive and expressive. Being around persons who are mostly contained was hard. There was a time when I thought I was crazy. I was told growing up that something was wrong with me. I was told I was willful, rude, feisty, stubborn and even cold. In hindsight, I can see what made people so uncomfortable around me. It was the way I expressed myself fully, the way I immersed myself in literature, the way I couldn’t seem to help but speak my mind honestly, the way I saw past what people were saying or even doing and saw instead who they actually were and what they actually intended.

At the tail end of my longest relationship I felt a need to figure myself out. I had come to a point where I felt forced to concede that something was in fact wrong with me. I just couldn’t accept it. It didn’t feel as though something was wrong. So I remembered that I had done the Myers-Briggs Typology Index personality test before and that it had been somewhat insightful. I had tested as an INTJ and while some of the elements had resonated with me, there were some elements that just didn’t seem to fit. I couldn’t recall the results though so I figured I’d just take it again. I was deliberately, brutally, desperately honest. I pored over every statement and made sure to answer as accurately as I possibly could. This time, the result spoke directly to my soul. I am an INFJ! I am a special snowflake. I’m not crazy. There’s more people out there like me… somewhere. Not that many though it seems and that’s one of the reasons I always felt so weird, so different, so out of place. Maybe even the reason why so few people know how to deal with me; they don’t know anyone else like me.  

I always wondered why people were so puzzled by me, so fascinated. I thought they were exaggerating, but it seems they weren’t. Every single interview that I’ve ever been on, one of the interviewers has commented on my expansive use of body language and hand gestures. I’d grown self-conscious of so many of my personality traits and tried (and mostly failed) to hide them. All that resulted in was the emergence of a more expressive attitude. Now, with the power of self-awareness, I’ve found myself possessed of and completely comfortable with all these traits, much to the consternation of my friends and acquaintances who can often be found holding their heads in their hands after being in my company for more than 15 minutes.

Now, I know that I’m unique, odd, weird even, and I’m cool with that. I recently joined an online community of INFJs. Nothing really interactive (duh). It’s more like a support group. People post their thoughts and feelings, usually in the form of quotes, prose and memes and it’s amazing. Everything simply resounds. So when someone posted this quote, I wasn’t surprised by how deeply it struck me… It very simply states:

“I don’t know what it’s like to not have deep emotions. Even when I feel nothing, I feel it completely” ~ A. R. Asher

God bless you sir or ma’am, for so aptly summing up my existence. I have no idea what it is like to feel a little sad, or a little angry or a little tired. I’m devastated. I’m furious. I’m exhausted. I cannot love halfway. I will give until I am completely depleted. I will adjust, adapt and amend in order to make others happy and comfortable. I feel every emotion, mine and other people’s as though my life depends in it. And when I’ve expressed and emoted, when I’m no longer interested, I’m simply finished, nothing more….ever – which thank heavens has a name as well because I thought I was just a bitch. It’s called the INFJ Door Slam and damn do I do this. Ha!

The path to self-awareness is not a smooth one. There are things to be learned that will not always sit well with you. But it’s better to know – “…and knowing is half the battle” (shame on you if you don’t know where that’s from). Above everything else, it’s been refreshing to become comfortable with simply being. Knowing my Self, being my Self, accepting my Self, loving my Self. I’d encourage anyone to take that test. It provides a level of insight and perspective that not even therapy can deliver (I know of what I speak). Most importantly, it kickstarts an integral conversation – the conversation with yourself that leads to self-awareness.

9 thoughts on “Know Thyself

  1. I’m an INFJ too, and proud! Finding out made me feel so much more comfortable with all the weird and awkward things I do.
    And the INFJ Door Slam… Oh, I’ve done that so many times!
    I’d love to know which INFJ community you’ve joined – I’ll check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

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