My whole life I have been different from everyone I know. I was always told that I was wrong for feeling the things I felt or for wanting to stay at home rather than go out. I felt like something was really wrong with me, that my personality was broken somehow, but I had no idea how to fix it.
Quite a few people actually told me that I was broken and needed to change. I asked all of my friends and family how to change and no one could relate. For the longest time I felt incredibly alone, with no explanation or no hope for something different.
I found myself in a dark hole that I could not get out of. A friend of mine suggested I go to see her counselor. It took me a while, but I finally agreed. When she told me that I had depression I was completely devastated. I couldn’t believe that I had something like that. Up until that point I knew nothing about mental illness, well, except for the stigma that comes with it.
But my desire to learn kicked in and I wanted to know everything from where it comes from to how it works to how to get rid of it. Then I started thinking about how my brain works. Somewhere in the middle of that I remembered a personality test that I had taken in college a couple of years before. I keep that kind of stuff, so it didn’t take too long to locate it.
That first test that I took came out INXJ. It was a school assignment that I had thought was interesting, then threw it in a box and moved on. But now I took it out and really looked at it. I went through each letter and read what they meant. Then I found a test online and took it again. This one came out INTJ.
I read the INTJ description and felt like it described me perfectly. I even made a book of all of the different things I learned about it and took it to my counselor. She didn’t know very much about personality types, but seemed like she thought it was a good idea to explore.
Over the next year my life got more complicated and some pretty crappy things happened. I ended up in an even worse place mentally.
But something really awesome happened. I went on a long road trip with my 13 year old niece and was telling her about my personality. So she took the test too (she’s an INTP) and then wanted to know all the things about it. We spent hours and hours talking about why we each did things and why other people did things. We typed our family and friends, and even our favorite band.
We were in the middle of a conversation about why people do things and we got into a discussion about how she didn’t think I was INTJ. I remember her saying “You have too many feelings to be INTJ.” It started me thinking. I do have a lot of feelings. I don’t usually share those feelings with people, but I have them and they run DEEP. I also care about people’s feelings, a lot. They are always on my mind.
I took some time to really research the INFJ type. And low and behold, she was right. I even tested INFJ when I took the test again and was really honest, really thought about the questions hard.
Finding your type
I wanted to share all of this with you because a lot of people ask me how I know that I’m an INFJ. I think that some people take the test once and get it right and it all works out. But not everyone is like that. Some people are mistyped at first or test in the middle (INXJ). Sometimes you really have to go through the descriptions to really know what type you are.
It’s so important to be honest with yourself when taking the test. I have to admit, it’s hard to do. Sometimes we have a preconceived idea of what we want, so we make the results come out how we want them to. But that doesn’t help you in the end. If you are reading the type description and are finding more questions than answers, I would go back and really think about if you are being honest with yourself.
Hard for me to admit
It was really hard for me to admit that I had feelings. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true. I wanted to be the tough, independent person who didn’t feel a way about anything. I didn’t want people’s emotions to affect me. So I pretended they didn’t. But that only hurt me in the end.
It took me a while to accept that I do have feelings, lots and lots and lots of feelings, but I can have those feelings and still be tough and independent. Having feelings doesn’t make me weak or whiny. It actually means that I have the unique ability to connect with people, that is really pretty special sometimes.
Understanding and acceptance
The biggest change for me has been understanding. I have always been good at understanding others, but not so good at understanding myself. I finally have gained that ability to look inside of me and understand why I am the way that I am, why I do the things that I do.
And with that understanding comes acceptance. I know now that I am not broken. I was made this way on purpose. There is no longer a giant list of things for me to fix. There is still a list, don’t get me wrong. My perfectionist tendency runs deep. But I know that some things don’t need to be fixed. They are the way that they are and I don’t feel a need to change them at all.
For instance, I know that being in a large crowd of people is draining for me, so I don’t act like it doesn’t. Instead I plan my escape after an amount of time that I am comfortable with.
I also know that I would rather stay at home on the weekends snuggled up in bed with a good book or an interesting documentary. I’m not afraid to admit that any more. I LOVE it! It’s my space and my time to recharge. I don’t feel like I need to have a life curated for Instagram, based on my friends’ opinions of what is fun and exciting. It’s completely fine if they think I’m boring.
I’m still learning
There are a few things that I am still learning. I think part of that is maturing as well. I still have a hard time with criticism and dealing with the expectations of others. But one of my friends told me a trick that helps a lot. She said that when someone says something about her she asks herself if it’s her truth, if it’s something that she really believe about herself. If it’s not, she lets it go. This helps me so much!
There are still many more things that I am learning. And an INFJ there is always room for improvement and room to grow, but it’s so much easier with this understanding. It’s so much easier walking through each day knowing that I am the way that I am on purpose. I am not broken. There is nothing inherently wrong with my personality. I was made to be this way. I have something special to share with the world and I’m sure that you do too!