12 Life Tips For INFPs

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This post is courtesy of Louis, who wanted to read a blog post about INFP life stuff and tips. Thank you, Louis, for your suggestion, and if you would like to donate to my Patreon page, you can find it here, at http://www.patreon.com/dreamerrambling

Onto the blog post. Here is a list of 12 life tips for INFPs. While I have written quite a few lists over the years, I don’t think I’ve written one exclusively on tips for INFPs. So, here we go. Continue reading 12 Life Tips For INFPs

An INFP’s Foray Into the Business World

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Sorry if my WordPress blog has suddenly become all jumbled up and strange. I decided to unearth some of my older blog posts, ones which had been read many times by my readers, but which, for whatever reason, I had decided to make a “Draft” instead of a “Published piece.” Continue reading An INFP’s Foray Into the Business World

How To Love Yourself When You Are An Outsider

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The clamor for good self-esteem has become almost cliché, an excuse for parading out a barrage of aphorisms: Love Yourself For Who You Are, Accept Yourself, Love Yourself and Others Shall Love You, Woman.

Whether that means loving your skin, or eyes, despite the White Beauty ideals seen on magazines and television; or flaunting those curves or hips rather than hiding them, it is part of a new wave of Self-Love scouring across society.

And sure, I can relate.

Being Asian myself, and very thin to boot (throughout school, I was teased mercilessly for my stick-thin wrists, and a girl once, upon raking her eyes over my spindly body in a bathing suit during swim class before puberty hit, pronounced me a “monkey” – skinny-shaming is just as debilitating as fat-shaming), I have had to deal with self-confidence issues related to these two traits, just like people who are a little on the plump side, people with disabilities, any physical signifier that classifies them as “Ugly” or “Other”.

But so much of the recent Self-Love onslaught focuses on appearances, particularly the appearances of women. And while that is all good and important, humans being highly visual creatures, very little attention to paid to the confidence issues one has to deal with by having a particular personality.

Personality is the true determining factor of your self-confidence, I think, at least in one’s younger years. It is much easier to feel happy with yourself when others seek out your company, like to talk with you; when you feel loved, approved of, accepted – and when peer acceptance is not present, low self-esteem is often, unfortunately, a natural consequence.

For instance, for many years I was made to feel defective for being introverted, so introspective that I barely paid any attention to the real world reeling by before my eyes. In the media, in modern literature, a new breed of the ideal woman was sprouting forth to smash traditional gender barriers: independent and bold and confident – in other words, extroverted. Though this “New Woman” allowed for greater opportunities among the female populace, at least in Western countries, doing so only replaced a previous admittedly debilitating standard for women with another – less constraining, yes, but a new standard to measure oneself up against, nonetheless.

Being Asian, in this case, actually made matters worse, as there is this absolutely nonsensical stereotype that all Asian women (I do hate using racial monikers; we’re individuals, not groups; people do not think all, say, brunettes or Caucasian men possess the same personality type, so why the generalizations?) are shy and submissive. As an INFP, a personality type which naturally, even among males, is conflict-averse, withdrawn, dreamy and, yes, has a tendency to be quiet and shy and burrowed in a corner with a book, I fit into this stereotype perfectly.

But, racial stereotypes aside, it is a fact that introverts, or any outsiders, have greater difficulty with self-esteem than their extroverted or more accepted counterparts. People find “confidence” (Read: Extroverted) beautiful, they find a “sense of humor” (Read: Usually Gregarious) attractive; and those who are shy, reserved, slightly weird, are overlooked or disliked, dubbed sometimes, infuriatingly, as possessing no personality at all.

It is hard, to learn to love yourself, when not only do people not seem to like you, they do not even see you.

How can you love something that does not exist?

On top of being shy, introspective, and skinny as a rake, I also had Asperger’s, suffered from social anxiety, and, lo and behold, was a creative thinker and writer – and we all know how solitary and odd writers or original thinkers have a habit of feeling in mainstream society, probably accounting for their general recluse lifestyles throughout history. This is not me complaining (Oh, Delia, my dear, I had such a hard time of it, you can’t possibly imagine!); all I am doing is trying to point out the various contributing factors, along with living in a low-income household that could not afford items such as new clothing more than every few years (“daggy” clothes are not great for popularity), that led me to have such low self-esteem for years, and years. Long, long suffering years.

Oh, actually, I am garnering for a little sympathy here, but it comes from a good place: perhaps some of you out there can relate, to any of this, and will feel less alone for it.

The bullying from my peers, ranging from abuse to exclusion, the days spent hidden in the back of the library, the days spent watching television showcasing people who looked nothing like me, a lack of supportive friends, not looking right, acting right – all this, for an excruciatingly sensitive and aware child, and later teenager, added up. I did not like myself – no, I loathed myself.

As if that wasn’t enough, once the Self-Love movement took off, self-help books flying off the shelves, people told me I just had to realise I was “worthy”.

Yes, indeed; it is easy to feel worthy without the particular history I had, without the particular brain and psychology, the particular body, skin, experiences; it is easy for you to say that, when you are talkative and loved and have never spent time alone in the bathrooms, imagining yourself being flushed down the toilet in a gurgling swirl of oblivion; it is easy for you to say that, when you are not slightly neurologically different from others, when you do not feel like an Outsider, when you are not so sensitive each day is a tiny battle, each night a time to cry, and bandage your accumulated wounds.

It is easy to say that, when you are Extroverted, or Straight, or a Non-Minority, or Well-Liked, or Neurotypical, or Male (though this is unfair, men, on average, tend to suffer from fewer self-esteem problems than Women), or Non-HSP, or Non-INFP, or Well-Off and can Fit In Happily.

(Note: I do not mean to say that Extroverted, Straight, Caucasian, Well-Liked, Neurotypical, Wealthy or Male individuals do not have any problems: I am simply trying to make a point that when you are an Insider, it is rather presumptuous to dole out voice to an Outsider)

It is easy for you to say that I simply must feel “worthy”, when everything and everyone your life has affirmed that, and everything in mine has pointed to the contrary.

Frankly, just being an INFP and Highly Sensitive, especially if you are male, is enough to lower your self-confidence drastically, let alone the extra baggage I dragged around. What’s worse, being sensitive dreamers, we have a tendency to blame ourselves whenever anything goes wrong.

People, extroverted individuals surrounded by friends, told me, I should tell myself I was “worthy”. They were speaking from a good place; they just wanted to help. But when I was unsuccessful at raising my self-confidence that way, I believed there was something wrong with me. I grew ashamed of my lack of self-esteem, which only fueled the self-hatred.

I was a big, fat Not.

Not curvy enough. Not talkative enough. Not outspoken enough. Not friendly enough. Not normal enough. Not realistic enough. Not pretty enough. Not. Not. Not. Not. Not. Not.

Also, I was a big, fat Too.

Too weird. Too quiet. Too shy. Too strange. Too sensitive. Too poor. Too androgynous. Too isolated. Too skinny. Reads Too much. Thinks Too much. Head Too stuck in the clouds.

Above all, what drove the pain deeper, and still stabs me now and then today, was my unbearable loneliness, for I had no friends – and loneliness, as you may well know, only breeds further insecurity. A young female, or male, lonely and misunderstood, is bound to have some problems loving themselves without either a dose of wisdom or intervention.

In my case, the intervention was internal. And the recovery slow.

Yes, I did realise I was fine, just the way I was; that many writers, throughout history, had been considered eccentric, reclusive, shy, and many even had Asperger’s – so I was not alone, really; and perhaps, if I was not the way I was, I would not have my creativity, or interest in writing, or my imagination. That being shy daydreamer does not make me submissive woman; I have my own inner strength, only it is expressed differently. That the negative opinions of other people, though they hurt when expressed (“Shit! Look at your wrist: Are you anorexic?” “You’re too, um, quiet”) are less important than how I think about myself.

But the turning point, for me, was the realisation that, in the end, no-one really cares whether you are strange or different or shy, as everyone is too focused on themselves, and that everyone, even the most privileged, like all humans, go through their share of suffering. Sure, you may suffer more, you may feel lonely more frequently – but is that so bad a price to pay, for your unique gifts of sensitivity, compassion, creativity, perspective etc.? You may be disadvantaged in some respects, but blessed in others. Everyone is good at something; everyone has a spark, deep within them.

It is true, what they say: self-acceptance does come from the inside; but you will not find it by repeating mantras to yourself (I am worthy, I am worthy, please let me feel worthy…), or pretending you like being an outcast, or wearing a mask of superiority (Those unoriginal commoners!).

Instead, it comes from having a realistic outlook – no-one really cares that much about you, so you might as well care for you – and feeling compassion for all human beings. Even those who possess all the traits society accepts, they, just like you, have their moments of awkwardness, isolation, their own internal conflicts and problems.

We are all outcasts, deep in our hearts, only some people are better at hiding it. By the same token, we are all beautiful, in our unique and wonderful ways, and even if other people do not see or affirm it, you must. Hard as it may be to possess a trait that deviates from the norm, you can use it to your advantage and, if not like, at least accept your differences, in spite of the pain, in spite of the suffering.

Loving yourself, as an outsider, is not about never feeling uncomfortable or out of place among other people; that will never go away. Instead, it is about feeling Acceptance and Compassion: For The People Around You, For Others, and, most of all, For Yourself.

Things That Make INFPs Gloomy

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A gloomy INFP is never a good thing. We sit around, in silence, our thoughts coloured by darkness, and nothing or no-one can drag us out of it. Frankly, it usually lasts for a minute or so, because the world is still full of marvellous and wonderful things, like books and films. For the sake of this list, I will exclude things like world disasters and animal cruelty, big things which are impossible to fix at the moment, and are unlikely to discontinue, simply because they are too obvious, and instead concentrate on everyday matters that are likely to, well, make an INFP rather glum.

1. Unimaginative people.
If you utter the words “Imagine if” and get someone who replies, “But that’s impossible,” then, my friends, you have met an unimaginative person, and there is no-one better to put a damper on an INFP’s day.

2. Bad food.
INFPs are very, very sensitive people, not just psychologically, but also physically, and if we are asked to eat something that doesn’t taste nice to us, it will make us very miserable, and most likely throw up (for instance, I don’t like celery, and nor do I like eating “old food”, like leftovers that are still edible but have gotten all soft and mixed together).

3. People who do not like cats, or find dogs are better.
Because they are wrong, and because cats are wonderful. Is there anything left to say?

4. Sunny weather.
This might seem strange to some people, but INFPs love everything grand and mysterious: which means rainy or cloudy weather is ideal. Since we are sensitive, sunny weather, especially if it is hot, is more likely to give us a headache than anything else.

5. Busy places. Including roads.
Busy streets, busy shopping centres, busy roads, busy festivals: INFPs do NOT like these sorts of places, and, unless they really need to go to them (and sometimes, you do; there is no choice), then we must grit our teeth and bear it, hoping perhaps the merchandise on display or the company we have will make up for it. Busy places just make us feel overwhelmed; we’d much rather stay at home, with a good book.

6. Bad energy.
An angry commuter that pushes you aside; some racist person who yells an expletive as they step off the bus: these sorts of things, while uncommon in civilised society, do still happen, and when they do, the negativity energy that radiates off these people is enough to make an INFP ill. INFPs will need to go home, and recover for a very, very long time.

7. Loud, obnoxious friends.
Sooner or later, an INFP will attract one of these people: someone who is completely self-centred, and always wants to talk about themselves, be it their own problems, their own looks, their dating life, their career, their work. INFPs become a dumping ground for all their problems, and are too shy to speak up or break off the relationship. Meeting up with these friends, while we may be smiling on the outside, more often than not makes us gloomy on the inside.

8. Not indulging in our creative passions.
Most INFPs are creative, and like to read, write or draw, or sing, or dance, or anything which involves an ounce of creativity, and if we are kept away from these activities for too long, we become gloomy and depressed, and feel as if the light has gone out of us.

9. When life stops being silly, strange and wonderful.
INFPs like to live in a neverending wonderland, where perhaps, just around the corner, we will meet our Prince Charming or Damsel in Distress, or step into a world where flowers talk and chess pieces show us the way. If we ever encounter something sobering enough to snap us out of this fairytale land we inhabit, then we become very withdrawn, and bored. Very, very gloomy.

 

Well, that’s it from me, folks. Let me know in the comments if there are any more you would like to add, and I wish you all a very un-gloomy next week.

Why Are INFPs Depressed?

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A lot of the time, we do not feel “okay”. No. “Okay” is a state other people experience. As creatures who wish and yearn for the perfect, idyllic life, rarely are INFPs okay, and we are, instead, often extremely unhappy, in a world where our life never lives up to its ideals. We are depressed. We are loners. We are people full of imaginative fantasies which never come true, and never come right when we try to put it down on paper. To put it simply, we are often not very happy people.

That’s the truth. You wish to sugarcoat it, saying INFPs can find beauty whenever they lay their eyes upon nature, or perhaps some INFPs get to lead their perfect life, but it doesn’t change the fact that most INFPs live their lives in a half-depressed, half-morose state. I know I’m not speaking for all INFPs here, but part of feeling as though we do not fit in, that we are stuck in our daydreams which our realities can never live up to, and feeling as though we are always inadequate and “not enough” makes for a very depressed life.

And other people don’t get it. They seem perfectly satisfied with their lives. They study, they got to work, they get married, they have children, whereas, we, INFPs, struggle with the barest minimum sometimes: getting up in the morning without feeling somewhat miserable. Even the thought of being in a job we like feels impossible, let alone getting married and having children.

It’s as if we live in some miserable, alternate reality, where everything is quite terrible and half-made, while everyone else lives in the real, proper world, where they have orderly lives, filled with work, and children, and friends, and visiting people, and outings. No. INFPs, since we often spend a great deal of time alone, immerse in books and movies, or in creative pursuits, lost inside the rabbit-holes of our own minds, wishing for a day when the sun breaks through the clouds and this entire world, this entire life, somehow turns itself upside-down and feels right, feels true.

They really don’t get it. If you ask a normal person for advice, they steer you towards psychologists, or tell you to just “get over it”, or, worst of all, act as if it is a burden, saying, “oh no, you’re depressed, again? What is it this time?” Well, it might be the fact that there are so many INFPs writers and artists whose dreams of writing and publication are unfulfilled. It might be that the man or woman we always imagined we would bump into one day has never arrived—in fact, every single person you have ever seen or met does not live up to your expectations of that wonderful human being, who will waltz into your life and make everything right. It might be that this is a cruel, evil world, sometimes, and sometimes, we don’t know how to deal with it, and just want to hide away. It might be that most people are so selfish, cold and impersonal out there in the world, and it’s not the kind of environment INFPs like to exist in. It might also be that we are constantly surrounded by people trying to talk sense into our heads, because we are by nature very illogical, and our thoughts can be rather strange. So, why am I depressed?

Because I am an INFP. And being depressed is who we are. And, as far as I can tell, there is nothing under the sun that can fix a sensitive, lonely and dissatisfied soul, short of a miracle. So, if there is any advice I can give you, dear depressed person, it is that you are not alone, and that there are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of other INFPs out there, scattered all over the globe, feeling exactly the way you do. And that, unfortunately, is the only comfort I can give.

Get INFP Advice, Blog posts and Skype Conversations From Me

 

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Click HERE to become a patron. Or this link: http://www.patreon.com/dreamerrambling. Thank you!

So, recently, I decided to build a Patreon page. It is a kind of platform where people can become your “patron”, giving you a couple of dollars every month, in return for certain “rewards”. So far, my rewards are getting to talk to me through Skype (nervous about this!), writing a blog post on a topic of your choice, getting the chance to get an email filled with advice about life in general and being an INFP, and getting blog posts early, sent straight to your email.

I decided it was preferable to selling a service. The layout was fun, and I had an enjoyable time coming up with names for the different “types” of dreamers. Either way, it doesn’t matter whether this kicks off or not; I’ll always be here, writing blog posts for you.

Thank you, in advance, if you do decide to become a patron. I hope you know that you are supporting someone who has been behind all the words on this blog all this time, and wants to become a writer someday, and is always diligently writing, whenever she isn’t daydreaming.

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