Have you ever heard of Carl Jung and Isabel Briggs Myers?
Carl Jung was a Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist, among other professions, who established what we now call analytic psychology. He studied introvert and extrovert personalities in-depth and delved into the unconscious parts of our brains.
Isabel Briggs Myers was an American author and one of the two creators of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The other creator was her mother, Katharine Cook Briggs. If you’ve heard of people doing a comparison such as “Extraversion vs. Introversion,” or “Sensing vs. Intuition,” or “Thinking vs. Feeling,” or “Judging vs. Perceiving,” it is the result of the combined research of Jung, Briggs, and Myers. Isabel Briggs Myers of the latter team was the one to add the fourth “Judging or Perceiving” to the whole package.
And this is where we get various versions of “the personality” tests.
I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator when I was in high school along with the rest of my class. I didn’t understand it at the time what it meant, but the questionnaire was substantial. My memory is iffy, but I believed I answered no less than 250 questions. The data was collected on a booklet where we have to punch a pin-prick with a fixing pin used for sewing.
My thumb was quite sore at the end of it, and my double-jointed fingers threatened that if I ever tried that again, they will definitely retaliate.
I was identified as an INFJ personality. From here, it says INFJs “seek meaning and connection in ideas, relationships, and material possessions. Want to understand what motivates people and are insightful about others. Conscientious and committed to their firm values. Develop a clear vision about how best to serve the common good. Organized and decisive in implementing their vision.”
Now, the other day, I came across a link on my Tumblr dash to a test called “Jung Typology Test” by HumanMetrics. Their test was just a variant of the more complete Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test I took in high school. Where MBTI had hundreds of questions, HumanMetrics had about sixty.
Either which way, I took the test out of curiosity to see if maybe I had changed since my teenage years till now. The result was still INFJ. Fascinating.
Because it shows me that despite how my views on the world may have changed in regards to my personal belief system, how I go about interpreting things or piecing together information didn’t. This test showed what was innate to me past all the surface construction of being flung into the “real world” and it held steady.
And understanding this could very well mean the difference between successful and failed relationships, especially of the committed type.
But, I’m not here to speculate about my future with the rest of you. That feels a little bit too personal, and I’m not one to wear my entirety on my sleeve on the internet. That goes against all sorts of common sense. 🙂
I’ve told you that I’m INFJ. What I haven’t shared is how much I lean towards each. Here are my numbers:
- Introvert (56%) – I have moderate preference of Introversion over Extraversion.
- INtuitive (62%) – I have distinct preference of Intuition over Sensing.
- Feeling (38%) – I have moderate preference of Feeling over Thinking.
- Judging (22%) – I have slight preference of Judging over Perceiving.
Well, what do those percentages mean? HumanMetrics has a page that explains it rather well right HERE.
In short, the dimensions listed – Extraversion vs Introversion, Sensing vs. Intuition, Thinking vs. Feeling, and Judging vs. Perceiving – are the bipolar opposites of each other. So the percentage of the specific preference tells me how far to each side I sit:
Extraversion [100% – – – – – 0% – – (56%) – – – 100%] Introversion
Sensing [100% – – – – – 0% – – – (62%) – – 100%] Intuition
Thinking [100% – – – – – 0% – (38%) – – – – 100%] Feeling
Judging [100% – – – – (22%) – 0% – – – – – 100%] Perceiving
So, does that make sense?
As for yours truly, this is what HumanMetrics (INFJ description by Marina Margaret Heiss and Joe Butt) say about INFJ, but feel free to skip down past the stars if you’re not interested in the huge block of text coming up next! (I am responsible some of the deviated formatting though, and all mistakes are my own… if there are any.)
INFJs are distinguished by both their complexity of character and the unusual range and depth of their talents. Strongly humanitarian in outlook, INFJs tend to be idealists, and because of their J preference for closure and completion, they are generally “doers” as well as dreamers. This rare combination of vision and practicality often results in INFJs taking a disproportionate amount of responsibility in the various causes to which so many of them seem to be drawn.
INFJs are deeply concerned about their relations with individuals as well as the state of humanity at large. They are, in fact, sometimes mistaken for extroverts because they appear so outgoing and are so genuinely interested in people – a product of the “Feeling” function they most readily show to the world. On the contrary, INFJs are true introverts, who can only be emotionally intimate and fulfilled with a chosen few from among their long-term friends, family, or obvious “soul mates.” While instinctively courting the personal and organization demands continually made upon them by others, at intervals INFJs will suddenly withdraw into themselves, sometimes shutting out even their intimates. This apparent paradox is a necessary escape valve for them, providing both time to rebuild their depleted resources and a filter to prevent the emotional overload to which they are so susceptible as inherent “givers.” As a pattern of behavior, it is perhaps the most confusing aspect of the enigmatic INFJ character to outsiders, and hence the most often misunderstood – particularly by those who have little experience with this rare type.
Due in part to the unique perspective produced by this alternation between detachment and involvement in the lives of the people around them, INFJs may well have the clearest insights of all the types into the motivations of others, for good and for evil. The most important contributing factor to this uncanny gift, however, are the empathic abilities often found in Fs, which seem to be especially heightened in the INFJ type (possibly by the dominance of the introverted “N” function).
This empathy can serve as a classic example of the two-edged nature of certain INFJ talents, as it can be strong enough to cause discomfort of pain in negative or stressful situations (completely applicable to yours truly). More explicit inner conflicts are also not uncommon in INFJs; it is possible to speculate that the causes for some of these may lie in the specific combinations of preferences which define this complex type. For instance, there can sometimes be a “tug-of-war” between “NF” vision and idealism and the “J” practicality that urges compromise for the sake of achieving the highest priority goals. And the “I” and “J” combination, while perhaps enhancing self-awareness, may make it difficult for INFJs to articulate their deepest and most convoluted feelings.
Usually self-expression comes more easily to INFJs on paper, as they tend to have strong writing skills. Since in addition they often possess a strong personal charisma, INFJs are generally well-suited to the “inspirational” professions such as teaching (especially in higher education) and religious leadership. Psychology and counseling are other obvious choices, but overall, INFJs can be exceptionally difficult to pigeonhole by their careers paths. Perhaps the best example of this occurs in the technical fields. Many INFJs perceive themselves at a disadvantage when dealing with the mystique and formality of “hard logic,” and in academic terms this may cause a tendency to gravitate towards the liberal arts rather than the sciences. However, the significant minority of INFJs who do pursue studies and careers in the latter areas tend to be as successful as their “T” counterparts, as it is “iNtuition” – the dominant function for the INFJ type – which governs the ability to understand abstract theory and implement it creatively.
In their own way, INFJs are just as much “systems builders” as are INTJs; the difference lies in that most INFJ “systems” are founded on human beings and human values, rather than information and technology. Their systems may for these reasons be conceptually “blurrier” than analogous NT ones, harder to measure in strict numerical terms, and easier to take for granted – yet it is these same underlying reason which make the resulting contributions to society to vital and profound.
Beneath the quiet exterior, INFJs hold deep convictions about the weightier matters of life. Those who are activists – INFJs gravitate towards such a role – are there for the cause, not for personal glory or political power.
INFJs are champions of the oppressed and downtrodden. The often are found in the wake of an emergency, rescuing those who are in acute distress. INFJs may fantasize about getting revenge on those who victimize the defenseless. The concept of ‘poetic justice’ is appealing to the INFJ.
“There’s something rotten in Denmark.” Accurately suspicious about others’ motives, INFJs are not easily led. These are the people that you can rarely fool any of the time. Though affable and sympathetic to most, INFJs are selective about their friends. Such a friendship is a symbiotic bond that transcends mere words.
INFJs have a knack for fluency in language and facility in communication. In addition, nonverbal sensitivity enables the INFJ to know and be known by others intimately.
Writing, counseling, public service, and even politics (*cringe*) are areas where INFJs frequently find their niche.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Growing up, my parents had close friends who shared with them their personal opinions of me. Many of them, having learned that my Sun sign is Pisces, seem to all agree that I was easily led and lied to, too trusting, and that if my parents weren’t careful, someone is going to lead me down the wrong path the very next day.
Frustratingly, it has led to my seclusion from the world in a manner that I do hold my parents and their friends accountable for this irresponsible opinion. They don’t know me, never actually socialized with me or put forth the effort to learn about me, and somewhat unlike how I am today, I didn’t verbalize much around them. I had no reason to, and children were expected to be quiet.
With the number of times that my mother has declared how she “knew and understood” me because she carried me in her womb for ten months, I gave her ground to stand on, and yet I didn’t believe her. I could read my parents easily when I began understanding – through their interaction with their friends – how their part of the world works. It isn’t pretty, and so I didn’t feel the need to get my hands dirty or get involved.
What my parents failed to realize until the last couple of years is that for every fiction novel I picked up, I read another book about the world. I actively pursued information that no one seems to want me to know or understand – either my school or my parents – and so I educated myself. I wanted to understand why I dissected those closest to me the way I do.
I became very good at reading people and trusting my intuition.
So when my parents’ efforts towards getting my brother to “care more about his future” didn’t work, I tried a variant. It worked for a little while, as expected. Children grow up and will change and adapt to situations. Expecting one general rule or law to work for everything is ludicrous. Unfortunately, my parents were comfortable with “tradition” and the theory that if it worked for “someone else’s child,” there wasn’t a reason “it wouldn’t work for mine.”
One of the most common questions I hear in Mandarin was: “Is their rice more fortified than ours? Why can’t you be more like (insert name here) when we all eat the same type of rice?”
*face palm* … *heads desk*… *whimpering groan of resignation*… oh where do I start with zee es’plaining? XD
It took them a long time to understand that they cannot compare a child in a strict Chinese educational system to a child in a more dynamic American educational system. It’s like comparing a tropical fruit to a winter one.
The results will not be pretty, and the “abnormal” side will feel rather put out, so I went about building a bridge between two cultures that only I could. My parents couldn’t do it. They were bound by “filial piety” taught in our culture, and my brother wasn’t the type of person to understand the mechanics of how intrapersonal communication works.
So it was up to me, and I educated them in my own way… (with liberal use of cattle prods.)
I wouldn’t claim I succeeded completely. It was easier with select few of my mother’s friends than it was with, say, my paternal grandparents; it helped in some way, I suppose, as long as I was around to enforce it with my grandparents. Outside of that, my poor mother usually catches the brunt of the fallout.
At least I can be a listening ear, but how do I go about explaining the intricacies of both sides and why things are like this to people who understand psychology and human thinking as much as I understand how the mechanics of space technology work? 😐
This is why I am often caught in what my husband calls the “thousand yard stare.” I simply have too much I need to figure out and not enough hours in the day to do so. ❓
But, enough about my family background for now.
It was innate from the start to keep my cards close to my chest despite only learning how to do it much later, but no one saw that, for whatever reason. They took simplistic generalizations about certain superstition and pinned it on me because certain aspects of my personality fit the bill, not so much the whole. It was a grave injustice, and even as an adult, I still live in it… although I have been steadily pushing my parents in the opposite flow in the last decade or so. It took a lot of strength, willpower, and determination to fight against the system (and I couldn’t have done it without help from others), and I’m grateful that even my parents are not that blind. They’re finally starting to see what it is I saw a decade ago and what I was striving for in my own life when I decided I was going to carve some new thinking into the blood.
Even taught my mother a thing or two. 💡
They have come to accept the more stubborn aspect of me, in their own way and under their own terms for sure, but small changes add up to big changes. Lady Hope and I are still holding hands.
And this brings me around to the formation of Wynter Universe. When I finally resolved myself to making this blog, I had to do it under a pseudonym. It isn’t for my protection as much as it is for other people. I’ve read enough to know I’m still ignorant, but according to some famous thinkers, but means I’m making progress.
My Significant Other feels that I have more insight than most he works with and often uses me as a “sounding board” and “sanity check” (I laugh at this one all the time) or a “gauge” to see where something might go. I’m not a seer and have never claimed to be. I might have the insight he claims I do. Thus far, my intuition has been accurate more often than not. It’s not perfect, but I’ve done pretty well, methinks. 🙂
I had wanted to pursue psychology in college, but my father felt that will not give me anything to help with my future. Funny thing is, I have two other degrees, and I’m not currently using either one, or do I feel either one is applicable to my life at all – journey or destination.
And therein lies one of many apexes of human internal conflict. The pursuit of knowledge should be unbiased, yet it is almost always biased to an extreme fault. We make decisions in hopes that it will land us where we want to be, but be honest…
Aren’t these decisions usually based on “what’s the shortest path that I can walk to get me there”?
As an INFJ, I understand the importance of the journey. I live for the journey. We learn the most about ourselves and each other because things aren’t always going to be in the best case scenario. Detours are needed. Decisions will need to be made, some for ourselves while others against. We will grow and age while we learn, make friends and lose friends because different people have different goals and perspectives, feel inspired and devastated at various stages of progress…
But this is the fun before we reach our destinations.
The destination should be just that – a destination, a final place, a resting place. For a time when our sole purpose is to look back and remember all the lessons we’ve learned and pass it onto the generations that come after.
So, have fun. Find out about yourself, your friends, your family. There are seven billion registered/documented people on this planet. Every one of them is different yet alike.
Come. Fall into the intricacies of the universe with me.
But be warned. You just might find yourself unable to disentangle from its brilliance and mystery. 🙂