As someone who tests as a Feeler for every personality test I’ve ever taken, you’d think I’d learn by now that I’m not a Thinker. Of course, I have thinking in my personality stack. It’s not that I don’t think, that I don’t plan in some way, that I don’t have a rational bone in my body. But, as an INFP, thinking is my last function. The inferior function.
My SO is a Thinker. An Intuitive Thinker at that. He can trace patterns and make plans without a beat. He can pinpoint what’s wrong with a system or way of behaving and will point it out right away in his blunt way of trying to help. (Most people don’t take it that way though, ha).
I mention my SO because I’m kinda… jealous. He can see what’s wrong. He can make a plan, stick to it, see results.
Whereas I’m over here trying to finish the rough draft to a story and struggling with a single sentence.
My ambitions want me to be a Thinker so bad. Or…as I’m learning… my inferior function wants me to be ambitious. To follow patterns. To make strict plans. All so I’ll remain in this loop of self help books, planners, calendars, and in the end, failure.
Why would my brain want me to do this? Why would I intentionally (albeit unconsciously) sabotage myself like this?
I’m not saying this is every INFP’s cross to bear. I used to think that. I used to search for solutions to my problem within INFP forums. Productivity tips. Calendar scheduling ideas. Bullet journaling organization.
But no. Sadly, I can’t find the solutions to my problems from generalized ideas about a general personality type. Not all INFP’s are created equal, just as no two people can ever be exactly the same.
I’ve come to the conclusion that two things are hindering me: relying on my Thinking inferior function and internalized shame from my younger years.
These two work together to keep me in a deep well of failure.
I rely on my Thinking function because I want to live up to others’ expectations for a good, organized life.
And I do so because Feelings were never appreciated when growing up. They were considered weak, something to “just get over” and “go clean your room.”
I think even my obsession with the MBTI and Enneagram and personality traits in general stems from this need to “fix” myself. Figure out what’s wrong with my core and change it to fit others’ expectations for a daughter, granddaughter, worker.
It’s taken me this long to really understand that I’m not a Thinker and never will be.
I’ve tried too many planners and failed every time.
I’ve implemented chore schedules, production calendars, and nothing ever sticks.
I’ve approached my art with a systematic mind, losing all emotion behind the words, scripts, or even beginning ideas.
I’m a Feeler.
And I can’t Feel properly anymore.
Yesterday, stuck with an all-day headache, I wallowed in bed wondering what was wrong with me, with my art, with my approach. Between medications, I would angrily curse my headache for making me lose this day to my blankets and pillows instead of writing a chapter or a video script. An internal voice screamed at me to “get things done,” “stick to a schedule for once,” and “stop wasting time on pain.”
That last one made me pause.
Because I was in pain. It wasn’t a normal headache. Sometimes I can work through them and even produce decent work. But this one made the light of day sting my eyes, made noises shake my skull, made temperatures feel extreme as the desert or the frozen tundra. I would almost call it a migraine, but I was able to have decent enough thought patterns, so I don’t think it was that bad. It just felt like a sensory overload. I couldn’t do anything other than lay in a dim room and fight the bad thoughts back.
So, was I wasting time?
Or was my body trying to tell me something?
After that moment, I let the pain take over. I stopped fighting it. I fell asleep several times and woke to listen to soft podcasts or think about new ideas. Until I fell asleep again.
I spent all day in bed.
My immediate reaction is the chastise such behavior. As if I am my own parent.
Growing up, I remember my parents, both, criticizing my sister for sleeping on chore day, or going straight to sleep after school. I internalized those ideals. That you need to work. That sleeping is only for nighttime. And even then, you don’t need that much.
My sister is also an INFP, but a way more genuine one in my opinion. She actually follows what her body is telling her. She feels things deeper, to the point of disappearing from a family gathering to recollect herself down the street in the dark.
When I left for college, I definitely slept more. After those large lecture hall classes or a day full of back to back 2 hour lectures, I was out of it. So I slept.
Until meeting my SO. He said the same thing about sleep that my parents did. That you only need between 6-7 hours to function. That I slept more like 10 with my random naps here and there.
And I didn’t argue. Because I thought he was right. That’s what my parents said, so it must be true.
Internalized shame worked its will in my mind. My inferior Thinking took over my tired body, telling me I wasn’t doing things right or good enough because it wasn’t a system or wasn’t producing enough content or the right grades.
I’m not blaming anyone for how my mind has developed. I didn’t know any better at the time and neither did they. I’ve taken my SO on my personality journey and we’ve both grown a lot from it, especially in appreciating our different ways of processing and dealing with situations. My parents have softened a bit in their criticizing, though maybe it just seems that way since I’m out of the house.
Which brings me back to today.
I’m not a Thinker.
And I need to get back in touch with the Feelings I abandoned without knowing.
That’s my plan today. And moving forward. No more planners, no calendars. No systems.
Those are for emergencies only for an INFP.
I’m getting back in touch with my emotions. Right now, my plan is through meditation, but I’m also going to research more into Carl Jung and his philosophies. After watching a video on creativity and how therapists have success with Jungian ideas with creative patients, I’m hoping his ideas can help me fulfill this goal.
That’s where I’m at for now.
I suppose the message would be to get in touch with your body and mind and figure out what they are both trying to tell you. Mine happened to be telling me to slow down and learn to Feel again.
What is your body trying to tell you? What about your mind? Are you hurrying through life? Or not enough? Are you in pain? Why? What triggered it?
More to come,