You’ve completed the personality test. You read the description. Everything fits. You are an INFJ.
Unsure what this means, you take to researching. You browse through site upon site. With each article, you want to know more. As it all starts to sink it, the tears begin to flow. In a moment, everything makes sense.
You’re not crazy. You’re not weird. You’re not broken.
Learning the truth about your personality may come as a huge relief, but it still does not change all that you struggle with day in and day out. From the overwhelming negativity and burdens of the world to the strong emotions that thrash about within you, knowing that there are others like you is comforting, but it doesn’t help you handle it all.
But know that there are ways to not only cope with those daily struggles, but even to feel strong, empowered and positive no matter the turmoil around you.
Above all else, you need to establish your boundaries. This begins by learning about what acceptable boundaries are; physically, mentally and emotionally. Many struggling INFJs have very poor personal boundaries because they feel empathy so deeply. Learning about healthy boundaries will make the rest of the process of achieving personal peace much easier and more realistic.
There are several books available that can help with the process of learning, creating and holding boundaries with yourself and others in your life, including Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend.
Emotional Freedom Techniques
Once you learn what acceptable boundaries are, you then need to figure out how to tell the difference between your emotions and the emotions of those around you. Feeling empathy at such a deep level can make it difficult to recognize which emotions belong to you and which belong to others. When you don’t know where the emotions belong, it is hard to determine what is within your control and what you are responsible for.
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is a great tool for filtering through some of these emotions. Feeling someone else’s emotions is essentially picking up their energy. EFT physically releases these energies from your body. By tapping or rubbing a series of spots throughout your body, it allows you to quickly remove all the energies, and therefore emotions, that do not belong to you.
Say you are standing in line at the grocery store and the person in front of you becomes very irate with the cashier. A situation that clearly has nothing do with you and is in no way within your control can fill your body with energies and emotions that ruin the rest of your day. A few taps and a couple of minutes later and that negativity is gone, allowing you to reestablish your boundaries and easily let go of what was never within your control.
While EFT works great at removing superficial energies, some negative emotions though not your own, can still root deeply within you and be difficult to sort through or process. Adding meditation to your day is a great way to wade through these tougher areas.
By carving out 15 or 30 minutes at the end of your day with zero distractions, you are able to really focus on your body and your emotions. Fish through and feel exactly what you feel. Make sure you are completely isolated so that no other energies filter in. (For some empaths, energies from locations, objects, plants or pets may interfere strongly. Be sure to select a location that brings you peace.)
Some emotions will be easy to filter out simply by logically recognizing that they are not within your control and accepting that. Others are more difficult, especially if you are closer to the situation and are unsure of your personal boundaries. For these emotions, it is important to process them, allowing yourself to feel them. Even if they are not your emotions, focusing on them and processing them as though they are will allow you to release yourself from them.
Let’s say your best friend’s cat died. The emotions you feel through your best friend are going to be very deeply rooted since your connection is so strong. The grief feels as though it was your own and no amount of logic can seem to get you through it. In this case, allowing yourself to grieve for the cat as though you were your friend is the only way to work through and release the emotion. Next time you see your friend, even if their grief is in a different spot, you will be less apt to feel their level because you have all ready completely processed the emotion on your own.
Acceptance is a huge piece to achieving calm in your life. If you find yourself wishing often that you did not feel so deeply or care so passionately then your life will always seem difficult. The fact of the matter is that you are a highly sensitive person and you always will be. Accepting this piece of you that is not within your control is so very important. It allows you to release your own negativity which will help you process outside negativity faster and easier.
Imagine you spend a half hour watching the news. At the end of the program, you are devastated. The negative emotions overwhelm you and you find it difficult to focus on anything. You start to feel angry. You are upset with yourself for watching it. You are mad that it bothers you so much. You wish you were like your brother or cousin or friend who can watch anything without a care.
The frustration builds and the negative energy that you are filled with turns into self-loathing. You have entered a downward spiral that can be difficult to pull yourself out of, especially if any more negativity filters in.
Now consider, after the end of that same half hour news program, you recognize the negativity it filled you with. You accept that you feel everything so strongly and recognize that nothing you saw is within your control. You run through a two minute round of EFT, sit quietly and process any fear, grief or sadness that is pooling up within you, and plan a course of action for that which is within your control (perhaps writing a letter to a governor or donating money to a cause). The negative energies and emotions are now released and you can continue on with your own personal positivity.
INFJ personality types certainly have it more difficult than most. Things that seem so simple to others may require a few extra steps to cope with. But the reality is that we are able to have a great life, filled with joy, peace and positivity. We just need appropriate boundaries, a couple of tools and, above all, personal acceptance.