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What I Wished I Had Learned 20 Years Ago

I am an INFJ and I wanted to share what I wish someone had told me 20 years ago.
1. An INFJ is only 1 to 2% of the population consequently stop wasting energy on trying to get 98% of the people to understand you.  Its a waste of your energy. The energy is better spent making sure you understand yourself.
2. IF you are one of those INFJ's that is highly empathic as I am you are going to be pulled to those people that are seriously damaged.  You tend to be highly protective of your inner-self and the only ones that can get through generally are those in a great deal of psychic pain and you are going to want to fix them so that you don't have to feel their pain. Go with your spirit on that as you will make the world a better place however you must make sure you actively ASK God and the Universe for people who will bring Balance into your life or the damaged people can ruin  you.
This also goes for people who are physical healers like doctors and nurses(Reiki healers, shamans laying of hands ect).  You need balance. Ask for it.
3.  You are going to be hurt by people you love the most.  That being said don't be a victim about it and don't castigate yourself because you may continue to love that person long after they have violated you.  Trust that love has a reason that you may not see YET. Don't be bitter and don't hold on to the hurt.  Love sees further then you do.  It sees beyond the bounds of physical life and INFJ's definately know how to love but we sometimes don't know what to do when it appears to have backfired and hurt us.  When that happens trust your spirit and not your mind and don't waste the energy to analyze what went wrong.  Trust nothing went wrong except where you know it was wrong on your part.  Learn from what you did and move on. 

Recently I had the experience of having a stroke.  People who I loved but with whom I had a falling out with , some years ago: Perhaps because I dragged them some places psychically that they weren't able to deal with at the time but the message I brought was one they needed to hear. 
I was shocked out of my head when some of them walked into my hospital or made contact with me over the distance of time.  I saw I wasn't wrong to have loved them. Only that being human I doubted myself when things appeared to go wrong.  But truly loving someone even if it appears to backfire on you is never wrong . It is a blessing you send out into the world and sometimes you get to see it come back to you when you least expect it.
Also when you love pay attention to the details, be in the moment because there is no guarantee that the object of that love will be there with you always.  You can grieve when they pass or you can know that you relished every moment with them and have enough to get you through.
Addendum added  Dec 3, 2010
4.  You have the right to be happy so aspire to it.   Be very careful around people who tell you- you are too sensitive.  The people most likely to tell you that are likely family members.  Its probable that they are NOT sensitive enough.  These same people will offer advice on what you should do   in your life.  Quickly do a fact check.  Are they happy in their lives?  If they are unhappy then they probably can't tell you a whole lot about being happy.   That doesn't mean though that you can't learn from their unhappiness.  Also it will be really easy for people to guilt you into making decisions that will make life easier for them.  You have a strong sense of responsibility and it will be super easy for you to fall into this trap.   Ask yourself if the person thats asking you to do this has shown by their own behavior that they care about whether you are happy.  If your happiness doesn't seem to matter to them, if your pursuit of joy seems impeded by them no matter how much they try to guilt you into something, don't do it.  It will be much harder to walk away later and you will be further away from your own happiness.  Helping people is your nature but some people are psychic vampires and they need to leech on to a willing victim and suck them dry.   They may actually genuinely need help and as stated above go with your spirit but do not do so in exchange of your own well being.   Maya Angelou says if someone tells you who they are listen!!!!!  If someone has told you , you are too sensitive then understand what they are really saying is they are insensitive to you and your joy/pain.   DO NOT LET THESE PEOPLE into your head.  They will send you into a detour of your own spiritual journey.     You can't really help them, their karma and life choices have consequences for them and your getting in the way will end up getting you bashed. Love them from a distance.

Here is my addendum for 2014:
Learn to forgive: This is a big one and hard sometimes to do.
Forgiveness isn't something that means you forget..... It means accepting the past and then choosing to walk away from it. It means not letting your past control your future. It means not letting people continue to work your strings. Forgiveness is something you do for yourselves because not forgiving means you have a wound that won't heal. Usually the other person will have reduced the circumstance to something trivial in their lives but we will be the ones constantly bleeding from the blow they dealt us. Not forgiving is like carrying around a ball and chain shackled to us. Sometimes you may need some space between the person who dealt the blow and you. If not you will always feel in defensive mode and you will not be able to forgive even if you know its for you. Get away if you have to and find the space to heal yourself.

 KEEP A POSITIVE MINDSET.  Make it a discipline and expect that as soon as you decide to practice controlling your own mind, the universe is going to challenge you.  A lot of negative stuff is going to challenge you to see if you really mean to control your thoughts and stay positive.  Even if you are in negative circumstances learn to look for the positive.  This doesn't mean that only positive things will come your way but it does mean that you will be steering your course instead of being cast adrift in uncertainty and despair. It is a discipline that you must practice day and night and hour by hour but you will have better health for it and it will be much more difficult to keep you down for long. God bless you all.
Peregrin Peregrin 51-55, M 65 Responses Oct 21, 2007

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Thank you so much for posting this. I've read it and re-read it countless times. It's almost like you've helped me cultivate a mantra.
Everyone faces their own set of challenges in life- and being an INFJ comes with its own unique collection. Being a male INFJ adds a whole other layer- Ni+Fe can be a beast, pushing you to fit in all the while knowing you really don't. It can often feel like you've been marooned in a foreign place where you don't know the native language.
Everyone has the ability to learn from their life experience and allow the good and bad to foster growth. I learn a little better each day to show the same kindness, acceptance, and appreciation to myself that I always try to show others- and you speak to the sentiment so beautifully.
Your advice is wise, the sort which comes from living. I, for one, hear it. I just wanted to share my gratitude.

Your story helped me a lot. I've been looking for people who can understand me and so far haven't seen one. So it was because we are only few. Thank you for sharing this ^.^

Yes INFJs are very rare. Ironically on facebook we are the largest group. INFJs prefer writing as their favorite form of communication so maybe thats why. Join us on facebook. I should warn you that the facebook group is open to other types and sometimes they can be disruptive. But there are over 5000 of us who are INFJ in the facebook group. And there are smaller groups of INFJs which are much less turmoil filled which are off shoots of the main INFJ group.

From a young infj: THANK YOU SO MUCH. Your directions + a spiritual practice is all an infj needs! Namaste.

Also struck by the coincidence that I read this on the day of Maya Angelou's passing.

I'm so sad about loosing Maya in this life. But her works will live on after her. Thanks for the kind thoughts and words.

Me too. Finding out who I am helps me understand a lot I wish I had known 40 years ago! Lol

I hear ya spencerpete.

I am impressed by how many people this post seems to have touched. My question is: What if you married a person who is very insensitive to your own sensitivities? We have two young children, and I feel very much like the little girl with the little curl right in the middle of her forehead. And right now, it is very horrid...

Pepperpiepie my comments were directed toward INFJs. Yours sounds like a question of a different sort. My answer to you may sound a bit rough. 1) Why would you marry such a person?
2) Go back to who this person was when you married him. What was it about him that you thought was worth marrying?
As I stated in my post its hard to blame blind people for not seeing your distress. Perhaps talking to someone who you trust an expressing your frustration will help. Then for yourself write down 5 things you need. Be very thoughtful about those things and make sure that they are things you absolutely need. Then show your husband those 5 things. If he is not a feeler then you will have to tell him what to do to satisfy those needs.
You also have to ask yourself if you gave up your power when you married him. If you did then you need to figure out why you felt you needed to be taken care of more then you needed to grow into you. This may mean that eventually you two may have to split but don't put all the blame on him.
You need to be really clear why you made the choices you did to yourself or you will be destined to repeat the same mistakes. If you have daughters realize that you are their model for how male and female relationships should go. Don't present them with a bad model. Bon Chance

Thank you so much. I have been in my shadow for years and struggling with some issues you've given advice on in this post. I really appreciate your insight.

I am A christian so some of your mentioning of the universe and stuff I don't agree with BUT the other stuff, I have experienced. People call me sensitive when I do not do things the way they want to. At times it has angered me but eventually I realized that this is MY life and only God has control over it. I am not meant to jump to everyone's expectations. I am naturally a fighter and a person that gets things done but I refuse to rush into anything. I am very empathetic, very much into helping others and putting their needs above my own to the point that I lose myself. I have made it so that I spend more time alone than with others because it is draining. I have no friends because all my friends were either insensitive, rude, or jealous. I had people around me that were just interested in me because I was so mysterious or closed off not because they truly cared for me. It was annoying to deal with but I just dumped them like trash. Also dating is hard because I can become self sacrificing and then the person becomes a pampered baby and forget about me. At the end of the day, I just stay to myself and I am much happier this way. Thanks for sharing.

I am a christian as well and I believe that God created the universe and that the universe operates by laws that God set up. I believe in the laws of causality just as I believe in the law of gravity. The bible talks about principalities but it doesn't really go into a lot of detail about them. Only that some are good and some are bad and that the good ones are appointed by God. There are entities that are responsible for running the universe. But nothing they do is without God's permission. But not every one is a Christian and I wanted my post to be accessible to them as well. I hope you find your way. I would say let go of the anger. Don't do it for other people. Do it for yourself. Otherwise you have a stroke or depression in your future or some other physical manifestation. if you will accept this analogy, you are like a sighted person in a world of blind people. It really doesn't do any good to be angry at them because they are blind.

Be the light set on the hill. The Lamp in dark places. You weren't sent here to hide who you are. Some people will not understand they won't be able to hear the message you bring-let he that hath an ear hear-- That does not mean you should not deliver your message. In regards to dating--keep praying about the person you should meet and stop giving up your power because you think that's what the other person wants. You are the one committing suicide virtually.
Dating is suppose to be about winnowing out the chaff:)

Wow, great post. I have just recently discovered I am an INFJ, and I wish someone/I had found out earlier then I wouldn't have been so confused for so long.
However I guess I can count myself lucky I haven't found out that late.
The points you have shared here are so valuable, thanks.

@A11TheWorldsAstage Wow,I had to smile as I read your response and ponderings. Have you ever read "Stranger in a strange land" by Robert Heinlein? I think you would enjoy it.
I wish I had your joie de vie. You seem full of life and not cowed by being different.

I think Peregrine applies to all INFJ's actually. Its alternate meaning means stranger or foreigner and you were right the reference was not to Peregrine Took.
I also find the meaning of names fascinating. I was curious after reading your missive what your name was.

I actually like words period. Most INFJ's are better at writing then they are at speaking because when we speak we are almost always guarded.unless its for a cause we champion.

I'm 20 years old and am definitely an INFJ type. Many fancies have run away with my mind in these years. //// But sometimes, when I was young, I would imagine I was a Peregrine Falcon soaring and soaring---and DIVING at 200 mph. For recreation. I never struck any prey at the end of those dives. Free and fast. Free at last. I love that bird in particular, I think, because it is aggressive, elite, uninhibited, free; It's everything that is not me. As a child, the Peregrine Falcon was my mental animagus. //// I think the INFJs life is a path of exquisitely purposeful timing and events. //// I find myself constantly, almost obsessively looking forward to where my life will go...which is exactly why I came to read your post about where your life has been. I also believe names are powerful and that it is no mistake Peregrin was here to illuminate my way as I start exploring this site. INFJ is my one and only stop here. (Of course, if you're "Peregrin" as in the Took from Lord of the Rings, then I hope you at least enjoyed reading my little anecdote about the bird and even still---great movies. I digress.) //// As I read through you touched on two of the BIGGEST, most POWERFUL words floating daily through my recent thought processes: love and happiness. What they are, what they mean, how they affect you, me, everybody, and how they are attained (or, for that matter, are they attainable?). But I don't mean to be negative, I mean only to get to the point. The idea of seeking physical balance is wonderful. I feel a deep satisfaction when I imagine that course of action...like I know it will help me. You're absolutely right, there must surely be a toll taken on our bodies from the damaged energy we process in our minds. The fruitful pleasures of our mind's work decomposing into damaging physical manifestations. Oh this life we live, huh. It is a strange and fickle pickle, indeed. ///// I inherently trust people because I believe true faith yields true faithfulness, but you're right about the vampiric leeches on the psyche. Since I was 3 years old I have felt attuned to a strong sense of intent/motivations within people's actions or words. This gift has ENABLED me to guard myself from the negative. With strong convictions and proper motivation our abilities are useful and strong. I feel like we INFJs, though few in number, can protect our extraordinary minds from the pressure of 98% no problem. ///////// One last thing I would say is in regards to this quote: "It is a blessing you send out into the world and sometimes you get to see it come back to you when you least expect it." ----I love it. Paying it forward. Blasting a blessing into the world for our fellow brother to cling to in a world with nothing real enough to grab anywhere else. With the rest of our lives becoming a series of intangible, impersonal technological outlets of expression...the mystic's weight of the word "LOVE" hammers home with the only outlet real enough to hold on to.

What great advice! Thank you!

Thanks for the advice, I will keep them in mind.

What is INFJ?

INFJ is a short hand way of writing about a specific personality type based on Miers-Briggs Test or the Kiersey Temprament Test. Each of the four letters represents a quadrant of your personality. Infj is short hand for introverted, intuition, feeling and judging. It is one of 16 distinct personality types.

The first quadrant specifies whether one is an introvert or an extrovert. Introverts comprise 25% of the population. Extroverts comprise the majority and most things are set up around the way extroverts do things. An obvious example is education. Until very recently most education was geared toward extroverts. Now with computer based education introverts can learn in a way that can be more beneficial to the way they best process things.
the second quadrant depicts intuition vs sensing. or N vs S(I was already taken for Introvert). The thing you will immediately notice about an S person is that they don't trust anything they can't ***** with out their five senses. They also seem to learn best through there senses. You know people who maybe weren't the smartest in school but give them an engine or a bike and they just seemed to be able to figure it out. They learn though their hands is the best way I can put it. This is opposed to an N person who can learn things out side of their five senses. Book learning is much easier for them then an S person. This by the way doesn't mean that a person can't use both. Most people have a preference which earns them the designation of either N or S but within their preference people can and do use the other method of doing things, particularly with training.
The Third Quadrant is T-F. T people more likely to be cool headed and not motivated as much by their feelings and F people making decisions from their heart rather than cold-hearted logic. The last quadrant is Perceiving vs Judgment. Frankly the letters don't make a lot of sense to me but P people are forever questioning their decision or a better way of putting it would be revisiting their decisions. They don't like being nailed down because something better might come a long. They might be fun today but don't count on them for tomorrow. You can find out more about these combos either by researching them on line or by reading the book "Please understand me" by Kiersey. if you want to know what you are you can either take the Kiersey Temperament Test or the Myers-Briggs test.

I don't know why the experience project****** out the word sense. I meant that they only believe in what they can experience through their five senses.

your writing made me smile and inspired..
feels really good knowing that I'm not alone here..
thank you very much, Peregrin. God bless you abundantly.. :)

15 min left in the year 2012. I wanted to take the time to say thank you to all the people who read what I had to say and if I didn't reply personally to you after you made a comments about my post please know that I read everyone. I wish you all the best in the coming new year. I had a lot of challenges in 2012 and I hope that 2013 is better for many reasons, not just for myself but for all of you who have had challenges as well. God bless and a happy new years.

I know there is a price for being an empathetic person, but, I am glad there are sensitive people in the world and that can bring there energies to help those who are struggling. I am an enfp and I struggle with some of the same issues. I gravitate toward the wounded and have a hard time with setting limits with people. I wouldn't want to be anyone else, though. Thank you for the insightful article.

W o w. Thank. You.

Knone I studied biochemistry and molecular biology in college. I wanted to be a veterinarian every since I was very little but my dad told me he would not pay for me to be a veterinarian. I ended up leaving school and joining the army where I did technical type stuff. I went back to school after the army on the va bill. During my junior year I started working at an investment firm and got my series 6 and series 7. Somewhere along the way I saw the movie about Hal (2001 A space odyssey) and became really interested and intriqued about computers and taught myself programming while I was still working at the investment firm. I've been programming every since, mostly web programming. If you are struggling with deciding what to do because you have so many interest, realize you don't have to choose just one. You might end up having serial careers. I plan to write in my next career:) .

I love this, I plan on doing loads of stuff, whatever I want really :) I told my healer that I was not just my job, he said I wasn't my job, period, which was a good point.

Wow, I feel like crying. I needed to read this post! Thank-you! Can I ask you a personal question (mostly because I'm a little lost at the moment)? What did or do you do for a living?

THANK YOU SO MUCH ! I needed this !

Thank you for posting this! I have noticed that I am drawn to emotionally wounded or damaged people. I just get an overpowering longing to understand them. These relationships always end in a wonderful and deep friendship, or a destructive and emotionally tiring friendship in which I find incredibly difficult to abandon. I am happy to know that I am not alone.

wow... this has actually helped me understand so many things that i even hated myself for.. thank you so much for this post!

THANK YOU. THANK YOU, THANK YOU. When I read this I thought you were reaching into my soul and telling me exactly what I needed to hear. I felt like you wrote this about me. WOW, truly thank you!

I feel honoured to have read this. Thank you.

Lunarpisces my moon is in Pisces as well! Hows that for coincidence! I have no idea what that means just was the first thing that popped into my mind.

Thank you, this is something I needed to see. I feel like I'm beginning to realize all of these things on my own but it feels good to know that there are others who understand.

This explains so much to me. So glad you wrote it.

Wow, lots of good insights for us INFJs! No wonder your story has 19 votes, 20 now and counting! *winks*

Joangelgurl I'm so happy for you that your health is better. I learned something this week from Oprah and Ilyanla(yes I am a huge fan). Take responsibility for the energy you bring into a room. Its a powerful statement. As an INFJ we are like barometers when we come into a room we notice the energy whether its positive or negative. Too often we pick up negative energy from one contact and then it trails us the rest of the day. Sometimes if you want to stay positive you have to consciously limit your contact with the people who are negative and consciously make the decision to change the energy in ourselves after a negative contact. Recognizing that truth and implementing it however are the difference between the student and the master... in this I am definitely a beginning student:(<br />
Limiting contact doesn't mean you can't pray for them and love them from a safe distance.

wow, you have written the kind of person i'm to T. This describes me completely & i have had way too many leeches in my life. I finally did this a few weeks ago where i just Said NO & WALKED AWAY. <br />
<br />
The odd thing is that I felt in my heart soul i was wrong & should of done this a long time ago but for some reason just kepted on getting hurt. WHY??? WHY DO WE DO THIS??? I even knew in my soul these person kept bringing really bad things into my life but i would dismiss it. stupid me - finally i have gotten away from this person & feel alive again. i'm even doing great health wise!!!!!!!!!!!!!