It’s time to talk about the third and final roaring head of my Anxiety Cerberus – my own personality profile INFP. If you haven’t already, check out Part One and Part Two. Before I jump in, first I need to talk a bit about my Myers-Briggs personality type. For those who don’t know, the purpose of the Myers-Briggs personality classification is “to make the theory of psychological [personality] types described by C. G. Jung (my personal favorite psychologist) understandable and useful in people’s lives.” There are 16 distinct combinations of personality types as classified by the Myers-Briggs test. I’ll go deeper into mine below. To find yours, I recommend This Site – it’s simple to understand and incredibly informative/accurate. Go do it now, this blog will be here when you get back.
Ok, ready? My Myers-Briggs Personality Type is INFP. That’s: Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling & Perceiving. Each of these facets contributes a little bit to my big-picture of general anxiety, but also makes me the very unique human that I am. In fact, only 2% of the population is INFP, which makes it kind of cool and original, and but also kind of isolating. Let me break it down.
“INFPs are introspective, private, creative and highly idealistic individuals that have a constant desire to be on a meaningful path. They are driven by their values and seek peace. Empathetic and compassionate, they want to help others and humanity as a whole. INFPs are imaginative, artistic and often have a talent for language and writing. They can also be described as easygoing, selfless, guarded, adaptable, patient and loyal.”
– INFP (Dreamer) (MyPersonality.Info)
First off, I’m an Introvert. It takes a lot of energy for me to be social around people that I’m not already comfortable with. I think the biggest part of my introversion is that I’m really bad at small talk. In fact, there are few things I struggle with more than trying to come up with topics to “chat” about. Let’s face it: no one really cares if you “comes here often”, so can we just stop asking? It’s not that I don’t like people – I love them on a whole -it’s that I don’t want to waste time talking about banal, evergreen topics when I could spend time getting to know what really makes someone tick. I’m the type of person you’ll try to spark a conversation with at a party, and before you know it I’ll have you talking about your relationship with your mother, or your secret kinks, or biggest fears. Since opening up is uncomfortable for most people (especially to a stranger), I’m more often than not the one standing in the corner, petting the dog and shoveling chips & salsa in my face; wishing I stayed home (so I could pet my dog and shovel chips & salsa in my face, in my sweatpants)
“INFPs are highly intuitive about people. They rely heavily on their intuitions to guide them, and use their discoveries to constantly search for value in life. They are on a continuous mission to find the truth and meaning underlying things. Every encounter and every piece of knowledge gained gets sifted through the INFP’s value system, and is evaluated to see if it has any potential to help the INFP define or refine their own path in life.”
– Portrait of an INFP (The Personality Page)
Secondly, I’m Intuitive. When I was a child, I made a series of predictions that systematically came true. Many of them involved other people, and I was always torn about whether I should tell them what I envisioned, or just let things play out. Nothing is harder than knowing in your heart something terrible is going to happen, but feeling silly warning people with no evidence to back it up. I grew to think of them as premonitions, and payed close attention to them. As I got older, this continued to happen, sometimes on a large scale (predicting pregnancies and divorces), but often with smaller things like knowing exactly what someone will say before they say it, or predicting that someone will call just before the phone rings. I started reading Tarot and Oracle cards, interpreting dreams and reading astrology charts. I’ve been practicing Witch Craft on and off since I was in middle-school, but it’s been in the past several years of honing my craft that it’s really clicked what that means for me. I’ve come to understand what most people believe is magic, psychic, or premonition is truly raw intuition. I’ve just always had the gift of listening to my gut, which tends to scream rather than whisper.
“…Creative, smart, idealist, loner, attracted to sad things, disorganized, avoidant, can be overwhelmed by unpleasant feelings…”
The third piece of my Myers-Briggs is that I’m a Feeling type, vs. a Thinking type. I went in depth into my Hyper-Empathy in my last blog so I won’t go to deep into it here. The point is, I feel the world around me, rather than taking it in logically. This give me great compassion, creativity, and anxiety/depression
“INFPs feel deeply and experience a wide breadth of emotions. They can vividly recreate experiences and feelings through their imagination. They may even experience several emotions simultaneously, such as feeling both pleasant and melancholy.”
– The INFP Book (Catherine Chea)
Lastly, Perceiving. I think that as a result of being the person in the back of a party, listening to my gut and feeling the room, I’ve gotten very good at reading people and scenarios. Perceivers tend to prefer to keep options open, be adaptable, and go with the flow. Being tied to rigid deadlines, obligations, and having a structured day-to-day routine is absolutely unnatural to me. Where some people find comfort, the predictability becomes mundane and I get antsy, needing to create something or go somewhere just to break the monotony. I think this trait more than anything is why I’m excited to build our life in a van (more on that in the next post). This trait is also maybe one of the hardest to explain to people who aren’t that way. It may seem like having a bit of an unorganized, unpredictable lifestyle would lend to anxiety, but I find I’m often most anxious when I have to sit down to write to-do lists or have to follow a strict itinerary. When I’m free to create, move, and seek new adventures, I thrive.
“INFPs often feel pressured to provide an absolute answer to ‘What do you want to do with your life?’ These kinds of thoughts and questions only build our anxiety and are counterproductive for us. For many of us, we prefer to live in the moment and pick up new information and inspiration as they come.”
–Catherine Chea (The INFP Book)
INFP’s are often called “Dreamers”, “Healers” or “Poets”. We are creative, spacey, and compassionate. We tend to take in the worst of humanity in attempts to save it from itself. We dream big, love deep, and do harm to none.
What’s your Myers-Briggs personality type? Do you find that it lends to other parts of your personality you may not love as much like mine does with anxiety? I’d love to hear what you have to say!