INFJ: the most rare personality type

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INFJ, one of the 16 Meyers-Briggs personality types, makes up only about 1.5% of the population. Perhaps as a result of our small numbers, we often feel misunderstood.

I’ve noticed as a writer that INFJs appear in larger numbers in my field. That’s because our traits include creativity and a desire to derive meaning out of life.

INFJ is the Advocate

Known as the Advocate, INFJ delights in serving others’ needs. They are in tune with other peoples’ emotions, but often less good at discerning their own feelings.

INFJ enjoys deep friendships and abhors surface relationships. They need meaning in every area of their lives, including their contact list.

This translates into few intense friendships rather than a large circle. And these chosen few are the only ones with whom they share their rich and complex inner life.

Intuitive with strong values

INFJ relies on intuition to help make decisions. She has strong values and a deep need to make the world a better place.

For this reason, she thrives doing work that supports those aims. And withers and wilts when her career misaligns with her true goals.

INFJ is introverted


Like all introverts, this type needs time alone to refresh and recharge. They value privacy and do not crave attention or the spotlight.

These people are excellent listeners and love to help others solve their own problems. They live to see others rise to fulfill their highest potential.

Concepts and ideas over details

They are not interested in facts and details but want to explore broader concepts and ideas. This explains why my head hurts when business experts start talking “tactics” and “strategy”.

If you’re an INFJ, you pursue lifelong learning and are always seeking self-improvement. You want a purpose-driven life and find new ways to become the best version of yourself.

You’re interested in metaphysical and esoteric topics more than concrete or mundane subjects. While others are poring over the antics of others, you’re contemplating life’s existential concepts.

If these personality traits resonate with you, you might be an INFJ. To find out your personality type, take the free test here.

How to envision your future to create the life you want

envision your future
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Do you believe that when you envision your future you create it? I used to doubt this school of thought, but mounting evidence in my life says otherwise.

The latest support for this theory came yesterday when Oprah’s people called me. Yes, you read that right. They contacted me to discuss an article of mine that described how her show got me through a tough time.

When I wrote the piece a couple of years ago, I had imagined myself on Oprah’s famous couch discussing my experience with her. I had tried to tell myself they’d never find my obscure article, let alone care about it.

But, my subconscious must have known better because two years later Oprah’s people called me. Never mind the couch no longer exists as the show has been over for years.

I’ve heard the subconscious mind controls 98% of what happens to us. What we say we want has little impact on what we get. Unless the subconscious mind agrees.

What happens when you envision your future

envision your future

When you envision your future as I did with my pantomime on Oprah’s couch, you set an intention. If your subconscious mind says yes, you’ll see that intention become reality.

This has happened in my life over and over in all areas. A real-life romantic encounter unfolded according to a scene I had written while experiencing the emotions of that thing happening now.

That scene came to life within weeks of my writing it. Other times when you envision your future it happens instantly. Still others, like my Oprah incident, take years to come to fruition.

When you envision your future, it’s important to feel as if you’re experiencing it in the present moment. Then, it’s equally important to let go of all attachment to the outcome.

That’s the hardest part, the letting go. And you can’t fake it, because your subconscious mind will know the difference.

It’s not the why or how of your vision that matters. Nor how big or small the request. It’s the belief on a subconscious level that when you envision your future you make it so.

After you set that intention in motion, all you have to do is let it go. Then, minutes, days, months, or years later, you get the surprise.

But it won’t come as a surprise so much as a confirmation. You’ll realize that all you believed possible for your life, actually was.

How to take the air out of your revenge fantasies

revenge fantasies
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Have you ever indulged in revenge fantasies? These are the normal outcome of feeling victimized or traumatized by others. Especially if you’ve suffered from PTSD, complex or otherwise.

I’ve lived long enough to see my childhood bully come to a grisly and untimely end at the hands of a family member. Another of my perpetrators contracted a fatal illness.

Interestingly, these developments brought me no pleasure. My desire to see these people suffer lived only in my imagination. In reality, I experienced sorrow when calamity befell them, and pity over their inauthentic lives.

James Baldwin wrote one of my favorite life quotes:

People pay for what they do, and still more for what they have allowed themselves to become. And they pay for it very simply; by the lives they lead.

My revenge fantasies paled in comparison to the punishment these people inflicted on themselves. By holding tight to the need to be right and condemning others, they created loveless lives.

By denying themselves the personal growth to find their true calling in life, they resigned themselves to meagre existences. This led to physical illness and relationships with people who cared nothing for their well-being.

What causes revenge fantasies

revenge fantasies

The desire for revenge comes from a feeling of bitterness against someone who wronged you. As you move away from such people and tend to your own needs, your resentment abates.

Revenge fantasies serve as a coping mechanism to relieve the pain of complex PTSD. But as we heal that pain through self-love and self-compassion, the need for revenge dissipates.

As you grow and create a fulfilling life away from your former persecutors, pity replaces bitterness. And forgiveness has nothing to do with releasing these bad feelings.

It comes with the knowledge that those people no longer hold any power over you. You see how small they become as you expand into your true essence.

In the film The Revenant, the protagonist spends much of the film seeking revenge against his son’s killer. In the end, he realizes revenge belongs to God. When the perpetrator faces justice in the end, it’s by someone else’s hand.

If there’s a moral here it’s that your abusers will pay for what they’ve done. Whether through the small lives they’ve created, or through physical calamity.

You may be surprised at how little this satisfies you, and even pity them. That’s because you’ve grown like a phoenix from the ashes, while they remain scurrying on the ground.

As you soar to new heights in your personal development, they no longer hold power over you. In fact, you can barely see them from your new vantage point.

That’s enough to take the air out of most revenge fantasies. Independent of whether you’ve forgiven your persecutors or not.

Focus on what you want to have what you want

focus on what you want
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It may sound obvious, but the key to fulfilling your heart’s desires is to focus on what you want.

It’s human nature to worry about what we don’t have, be it money, success, or love. However, bringing attention to things you don’t want only creates more of the same.

That’s because we’re powerful beings who can alter our realities based on where we focus our attention. This is great news because it means you have a choice about what comes into your life.

When you focus on what you want, hold it loosely. That means, feel the feeling of having what you want instead of experiencing it as something you don’t have yet.

Feelings of desperation and neediness won’t bring in what you desire. Envisioning what you want, feeling how you’ll feel when you get there, then letting it go, works best.

Focus on what you want in love

focus on what you want

There’s an ease to creating what you want in your life. For example, if you’re dating and keep meeting mismatches, continue to focus on what you want.

Too many people get discouraged when every date isn’t “the one”. Instead, view the process as helping you get clear on what you want and don’t want.

Notice how each person displays more of the qualities you desire. Thank them for what they did have to offer, then continue to envision your ideal relationship.

When you treat dating (and life) as a growth process, you’ll enjoy it more. These good feelings will invite in more of what you want. And feeling good is the best goal to set for yourself.

When you set goals for how you feel over external metrics, your quality of life improves. No more frustration over not getting what you want. And you stop giving up on things when they don’t appear right away.

You’re enjoying the flow of life. Your sense of adventure increases and the world becomes a playground of sorts. You become softer and less rigid, and that’s attractive.

Why it’s important to acknowledge negative emotions

negative emotions
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When you have feelings you consider “bad”, do you try to avoid them? Instead of sinking into negative emotions, you talk yourself out of feeling that way.

When I distract myself from feelings of sadness or anger, it only seems to prolong them. I’ve learned instead to sink into the feelings without judgment.

As a result, they become more manageable and dissipate more quickly. Similar to exposure therapy, scary feelings shrink in your imagination when you face them.

When you acknowledge and accept negative emotions instead of judging them, they lose their power. You may find yourself moving through them more quickly and entering a state of gratitude.

Your mood lifts naturally after you’ve processed the negative emotions. You pay attention to what they have to teach you and might make changes accordingly.

Here are 4 steps to processing negative emotions.

1. Sink into your feelings.

Rather than running away from your emotions, feel them. When we feel “bad”, we tend to rationalize our feelings or shame ourselves for feeling them.

Rationalizing looks like: “it’s not so bad,” “other people have it worse,” or “I’ll get past this soon.” All true in the long run, but not authentic to how you feel in the moment.

We shame ourselves for our feelings instead of offering self-care. When we need comfort we give ourselves a scolding instead. This adds shame on top of what you’re already feeling.

It’s a form of abandonment we’d never inflict on someone else. Imagine a friend coming to you for comfort and you telling them they should feel bad for having those feelings.

2. Ask yourself what you need.

negative emotions

Maybe it’s a warm bath or a journaling session. Maybe it’s a chat with a trusted friend. If you’re like me, you may decide to curl up in the fetal position and cry until you feel better.

Instead of self-censure, give yourself warmth and compassion. Let the feelings flow and take care of yourself as they go through you.

3. Get curious about negative emotions.

What caused the feelings in the first place? Is it something you need to address?

Could it be hormonal fluctuations like PMS? Feelings during those times are still valid. But you may feel them more intensely than at other times.

4. Practice gratitude alongside negative emotions.

I write this with caution because I’m opposed to anything that hints at toxic positivity. But I’ve witnessed myself recover from a low mood in a genuine way after repeating a list of things for which I’m grateful.

This is different than a distraction from your feelings. You stay in acknowledgment of your difficult emotions while also recognizing some good things you’ve got going on.

This gets you away from black and white, all-or-nothing thinking. It brings attention to the fact that two opposing truths can co-exist. I feel sad, depressed, or angry, and I have many blessings worth counting.