Hi everyone! I am relatively new around here, and have been learning so much from you all. I have been thinking about this topic a lot, and it led me to Stellar Maze. I am curious about INFJs who self-identify as healthy, high-functioning, and on a steady growth trajectory.
What practical, every-day things do you do to keep yourself on a growth trajectory?
What do you define as growth?
Are there any INFJs who self-identify as operating at their “peak”? How does this look and feel like to you?
Have you read this article? One of Blake’s best, in my opinion.
Would you like these questions answered because you’re looking for practical things to keep you on a steady growth trajectory?
I think the secret for INFJs is Fe. It’s never going to be about tasks, activities, practical things, whatever that are done daily for growth. In fact, I think if an INFJ had a carefully curated growth schedule, no growth would ever occur.
I don’t know what a healthy INFJ looks like. I’d say I’m healthy, but maybe I’m not as healthy as this person or that person. I don’t really think of it in terms of operating at a healthy level or a peak level or whatever because that takes the actual growth out of it. Comparing people in that way is confusing. We’re all on a journey!
I meditate. I exercise. I drink water and eat vegetables. I’m grateful for every single thing in my life. I have ambitious career goals and chip away at them a little bit every day. I’m nice to everyone I meet. I tell people I love them. I try new things. I’m not sure if this makes me a peak INFJ, but it sure feels like I’m doing something right.
this brings me back a memory of two instances with my INFJ best friend.
one. he knew we were the opposites. yet he embraced himself in his INFJness
the other one. who admired me too much that he started acting like ESTP in a strange way that didn’t fit him.
and the latter, this is what I told him,
in the lines of…
“yo. stop saying you don’t care. because, I LIKE that you care. that’s why I love you man. I know you think it seems cool to not care and be carefree or whatever. but let me tell you, I wish I can care so much like you do sometimes! yes, it feels great to not care. actually, it doesn’t feel like anything. and yes, I know caring so much comes with great pain. but you also experience other emotions that I desire to feel. the depth you experience? it comes from caring so much. if you say one more time you don’t care, I’m gonna beat the shit out of your lying mouth. I learn SO MUCH from you. you help me advance. you help me see the depth that I wouldn’t be able to see myself! stop acting like you’re heartless. Dude. what I admire and respect about you the most is your HEART. your heart means so much to me. if you really didn’t care, I wouldn’t be standing here right next to you. I need someone who care so deeply for me to go on with my life. I exist because you exist. damn. That’s bromantic isn’t it? but seriously. please embrace yourself. feel pain, feel agony, feel sadness, and keep on caring! that’s what makes who you are and it’s beautiful. if Jesus was ESTP, how likely is it that he goes around helping people and CHANGING LIVES! dude. Idk if Jesus is INFJ or not. But. YOU change my life. people like you understand my pain, my sadness, my agony. if I didn’t have you, what would I be doing right now? I’ll probably be fucking bunch of women in their brains and soul, and probably murder bunch of people, and I would laugh at the world with deep hallow feeling inside of me. doing more crazy shit to fill my emptiness. so stop saying you don’t care. stop acting like you don’t care. I KNOW YOU CARE. and you care for me. and that’s what gives me life. a purpose. and I’ll give back to the world, and show the world the same love you’ve shown me.”
I really think a healthy infj would, if anything, pull more from estp than Entp. I doubt Ne-Si would ever really enter the picture in a super significant way. But I subscribe to socionics’ theory a bit on this stuff and tend to think infj and ESTP are natural best fit partners, encouraging Growth in one another.
@Sam, @air, interestingly enough, I have read all of Blake’s articles on INFJs, and took notes, haha. Despite this, I find myself grasping for more information before I take action (silly Ti !!!). It just strikes me that as a type, we come off as tortured, stuck, and operating below our fullest potential. I would imagine that not all INFJs are like this, but there’s a huge sample of INFJs on the internet who express these frustrations.
I guess I was hoping for an INFJ to come out and say, “I’m awesome! I’m badass! And this is how I did it. This is how I stay awesome. Every. Single. Day. Here is my template.” But maybe this is me looking for a Te solution when I shouldn’t be. I need to go back and reread the INFJ articles and I will be back with more thoughts on this.
@Sammy, @johnonymous, I tend to agree with @supernokturnal, that a healthy INFJ would not resemble anything other than a healthy INFJ. Not ENTP, or ESTP. It would be a different vibe all together.
I’m awesome, I’m badass, and this is how I did it:
I DRINK A LOT OF WATER. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
You think I’m kidding. You think I’m making fun of this thread, or worse, making fun of you. I assure you I’m not. As @Blake said in one of his posts: THE HEAVY SHIT DON’T WORK FOR INFJs. I repeat: THE HEAVY SHIT DON’T WORK FOR INFJs!
Through drinking more water, I became connected with my body. I have a relationship with it and understand it now. My brain and body now act as one. Therefore, I was able to become more connected with myself and who I am. I guarantee if I didn’t start drinking more water a couple of years ago that I wouldn’t be on the career path I’m on.
What exactly are you looking for, heri? What are you struggling with in your own life? Give us more info!
You made me cry supernok. That is to say, tears rose and sniffles started and I grabbed them back as I do, but it 100% counts. It is not easy to do and today I love you extra. I want to say more… I am grateful for your words.
Morning pages is Te solution. For me at least. I’ve practiced them for several years. It was instead of meditation for me. And when I discovered Stellar Maze Blake’s advice about MP was like a sign that reassured me to keep practicing them. That’s hard because of… two kids. And mostly because the effect is not so evident. But you notice this when you stop writing MP. It’s like water for @air. Lol
It’s like today I’m full of tears and fears because my friend’s mother died from breast cancer. Yesterday I felt happy and energized because I made 10k steps. Several days ago I reread my 20 poems and decided that 17 of them are shit. A week ago I finally got 4 recycling boxes for our living space. Last Monday I translated Ed Sheeran’s I see fire song. I felt the flow in that moment and was very happy. Next day I decided that the song is too tragic and decided to delete it. Ok… that’s ever changing never ending process of… what? Of embracing life, yourself. Yeah @supernokturnal as usual understands the essence.
Tell me what you wrote down in your notes and what you have questions about and I’ll try to simplify/clarify what I mean. Also, yes, action. That tends to be the major Achilles Heel of INFJ. It’s like they have all these potentials, but, they can’t bring it to bear on the earth/world.
And that’s very frustrating to INFJ to say the least. Because they know deep down they have what it takes to…be…a…BADASS MOTHERFUCKER (or fatherfucker, as the case may be).
Anyway, it’s often the very things that they do not consider, that do not enter into their analysis that will help them in this regard, however the way it tends to end up helping them is NOT GOAL-ORIENTED. It is actually because they drop the great sense of mission and heaviness that they end up bringing to bear their great potentials.
And what does this entail?
Well, Fe certainly, yes. But, also the EP functions in some kind of tandem. I was certainly alluding to this somewhat in the PLAY INFJ PLAY article. Ne, in particular.
Basically, neither of the EP functions (Ne and Se) have a goal-orientation. They are process-oriented over end result.
Many INFJs that are stuck have too much goal-orientation, which I’d attribute to the EJ functions (Te and Fe).
Particularly, Te when it goes out of control for an INFJ will be kind of like what you are suggesting here: “Tell me INFJ how you got to be such a badass, high-functioning version of you.”
Yes, absolutely right. See, a basic thing like drinking water every day is one of those simple and minimalistic things that an INFJ can do that probaly would never occur to them as a solution.
But, see, that’s often the very things that will work…because they don’t occur to you and you don’t take them seriously, and thus, they are immediately discounted as viable at all.
And this would be a Te Minimums type thing I talk about for INFJ. It’s often just a little bit of this Te function that will go a long way for INFJ.
So, when you say:
You’re probaly expecting some massive Te type deal. Like, here’s all the things that I do as an INFJ to be a badass and maintain my badassery every single day.
The general key to this for INFJ as far as it entails what you are suggesting is a very minimum of things of this planned, scheduled, organized, planned, structured, delineated nature.
And yes, it will be simple things like what air said. Drink water, get 45-60 minutes of vigorous exercise (of your choice) 3x a week (approximately). Do Morning Pages everyday. Do not bring smart phones to bed with you.
Actually, many of the things that would be suggested for high-functioning INFJ (or anyone really) would probaly also be a list of things that you will not do, or will cut down on.
But, still, keep it simple. And identify the things that are most pernicious to your well-being. Yes, internet and computer usage would be a big contender for most people.
This is Te Minimums for INFJs in practice as well. It’s not just what you choose to add, but, what you single out for removal. And not in some huge nebulous sense, but, by examining what you do (or tend to do) on a daily basis.
INFJs tend to abstract things such that they’ll give vague and nebulous answers to what their problem is. They have to learn to make it more concrete…
Saying something like “Yeah, I want to save the world from political injustice” or something like that is an example of something that is not in and of itself actionable.
It’s like, how are you going to do that? Fine goal, but, how will it lead to action? Like, in a realistic sense, ya know?
So, high-functioning INFJs (and high-functioning anybodies) will have some of this Te ability to isolate a problem…like, what is the problem?..Gotta be able to identify a problem first before you can even begin to solve the problem. So, Te is really good at this in the real-world sense. What’s the problem? Identify it by analyzing what you do on a daily basis. I think Morning Pages are an excellent habit to develop for just this very thing, because inevitably Morning Pages will tell you what you tend to think, do, say, react, imagine and so on…on a consistent basis. And they are also fun to do for INFJs.
Anyway, once you identify some problems, then you start to work out how you might begin to DO things that ARE SCHEDULED that might start to solve that problem.
For example, if an INFJ tells me they are depressed, I ask if they get regular vigorous exercise. I don’t ask them if they had a bad relationship with their mother or something deep like that. I mean, of course they had a bad relationship with their mother. Everyone knows that.
Do you do Morning Pages? No? Well, then start doing them everyday. Do it for 3 months.
Do you stay up late at night reading on your smartphone in bed? O, you do. OK, stop doing that. Commit to making your bedroom a smartphone-free zone.
And that’s about it for starters. We do not want to overwhelm the depressed and blocked INFJ with a list of more shit that they have to take under consideration and/or do. Just a little bit. And the right things.
Also, air strongly reiterated what I said doesn’t work for INFJs. THE HEAVY SHIT.
Right, the heavy shit does not work, either in the form of the burning mission of Ni or the rigorous attempts to be a perfectly functioning machine of destiny via the Te superego (in excess, not in the Minimums sense I just discussed). And of course the Ti tendency to think to much, analyze too much, take in too much information until you don’t know what to do, and the corresponding Fi id fall into a world of depression, self-loathing, self-recrimination, guilt, shame, and just a clusterfuck of horrible and black emotions.
So, I didn’t mention Ne yet (nor Se, but, that’s a bit of a different story, but, yet, not).
So, if an INFJ were to PLAY INFJ PLAY they would be engaging Ne (and Se too, but, kinda via Ne, but at any rate a sort of extraverting perceiving functions tandem type deal with Ne leading, let’s say) as a form of…
and just a general lack of goal-orientation or concern for results. Just enjoying life for it’s own sake. INFJs that are blocked (and low-functioning) tend to miss this lighter side of life that Ne and Se dominant type people have.
INFJs that are blocked and depressed tend to believe that they have to suffer, be perfect, not fuck up their mission, and just in short, a whole load of heavy martyr-like shit. I mean, a really heavy trip.
And so it’s no wonder that many INFJs are low-functioning. I mean, who the fuck wants to function at all in the wake of all that heavy shit. Kind of takes all the joy out of life.
But, what the fuck is joy to an INFJ? A trifle, a lightness, beneath them. Etc. Etc.
Well, that’s what the INFJ who is high-functioning and healthy and growing will discover eventually: that in order to be high-functioning, one has to let go of a lot of extraneous shit and simplify simplify simplify.
The INFJ will discover a simplicity rather than the awesome complexity they were expecting to be the thing that will make them badass, high-functioning narcissistic assholes they were hoping to be.
A lot of this simplicity and joy will be discovered via Ne, which is an ego reorienting function for INFJ, which is to say it’s kind of a vacation function for INFJ, which is to say it’s sorta what I was alluding to in the PLAY INFJ PLAY article, which is to say that INFJ should learn to develop a sense of the bizarre and ridiculous. To develop a levity, a sense of humor, a willingness to just do things for their own sake (not for any end goal), and just basically have fun and enjoy this crazyass universe we live in.
I recommend every INFJ who has questions about what I just said regarding this Ne thing to read The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy by Douglas Adams.
It is my belief that the highest and most “healthiest” whatever INFJs are the ones that have achieved a certain measure of this Ne ego-reorientation I allude to.
It is the equivalent of having a certain cosmic detachment AND HUMOR about, well, LIFE, THE UNIVERSE, AND EVERYTHING, which is actually the title of the third book by Douglas Adams in The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy trilogy, which isn’t even a trilogy because there are 5 books in it.
See what I mean?
And yes, by all means, drink a lot of water. That is obviously one of the best things you can do for your mortal earth body while sojourning on the crazy and absurd Earth.
We are mostly made of water, so, yeah, makes a lot of good sense to me.
And get back to me on those notes you wrote down so I can attempt to clear up any vaguenesses or misunderstandings and so forth.
@Blake, Thank you so much for this in-depth reply to @heri (and basically all the other INFJs on this forum).
It has actually given me a lot of hope and encouragement as well. Despite my somewhat flippant comments above, I do take your advice seriously, and have been following your writings and advice on all things INFJ for a number of years now.
Why has this particular reply affected me so? Because it has made me realise that, in many ways, I perhaps have achieved a certain level of growth and high-functioningness (is that a word?) as an INFJ, according to your criteria.
And it is precisely by behaving as you suggest: letting go of all that Fi-angst and Grand Plans for achieving Supreme Perfect Enlightenment Blah, Blah, Blah boring, and just getting on with Life, with all its muddles and confusion and joy and hilarity and sorrow and ecstasy.
In other words, accepting that I am indeed a human being with all the attendant flaws and strengths, and also by learning how to relate to other people as an equal, instead of flipping between acting like some all-knowing Guru figure, dispensing wise aphorisms from behind the curtain like The Great and Powerful Oz, or alternately, disappearing from all contact for ages as I collapse into a jelly-like dysfunctional mess under the weight of all that unbridled INFJ idealism and perfectionism.
And the grand secret of how to stay on an even keel as an INFJ? Keeping it light and grounded. Laughing at the world’s absurdities, and not taking myself too seriously. Actually listening to other people’s stories instead of trying to fix them or tuning out if I think they are being superficial. Remembering to attend to the physical, even when I would rather focus on the ethereal; especially when I want to focus on the ethereal. Simple things, really, like remembering to eat and drink water and exercise and go for a shit and take breaks and watch silly soap operas on TV; not all the time, but in small, healthy doses. To laugh and cry over the small things, and to let go of the burning need to fix the problems of the whole damn planet (which is, let’s face it, a huge navel-gazing ego trip for our type!).
And, most of all, to keep producing something, in my case to write something every day, in this forum or elsewhere, that comes from the heart, but is uncensored and raw and is the special gift that all INFJs have to offer to humanity, a running commentary on the zeitgeist, if you like. And what do you know? When I write or talk or sing in this unfiltered, unpolished fashion, I actually seem to reach people on their own terms, to make a real, tangible difference, while simultaneously discharging that toxic Fi sump of negativity that is the Achilles heel of the INFJ type.
Small steps, a little at a time, every day, and maybe I will one day look back and say “I did OK, really, all things considered”, and who can ask for more than that?