Middle Ground

Hello, friends! Hope this finds you happy and healthy. What are you up to right now? Are you wrapping up your day, slipping into snuggly PJ's, teeth brushed, ready to fall into bed? Or are you barely awake and reaching for that first cup of morning coffee?

I'm somewhere in the middle. Today's been nothing but drizzle and fog. Ugh! I made it through morning and early afternoon before the dreariness got to me. Then I threw on my coat and drove to the nearest Buffalo Wild Wings for a glass of wine. Lol, that place is the opposite of dreary. Lights, music, noise. I counted at least 35 television screens playing every sports channel imaginable. Not exactly an introvert's paradise.

But there are times when I need one extreme to fight another. It's the only way to bring me back to middle ground.

If you're an INFJ, then you're likely a person of contradiction and extremes. You're intuitive and rational. You're incredibly capable, but also kind of needy. In every situation, you know what's right and feel what's wrong...or vice-versa. When you're adept in both sides of your brain, life can get a little challenging. Decision-making, for example, isn't always easy and can be downright paralyzing for some of us.

Most people don't get this. They tilt one way or the other and can't see life from any perspective except the one they've chosen. They make their decisions from that tilt. Then they go and form social groups and organizations that bring together more of the same. It's easy to see why INFJs, especially those in their younger years, find it hard to fit in.

I once mentioned this dilemma to my ESTP friend Wendy. She has a tendency to fly far and wide at high emotional altitudes, and while I'm capable of that, my logic will inevitably catch me and tether me back to the ground. It makes me feel inconsistent, like I can't maintain one state of mind. "That's actually a good thing," she told me. "It keeps you from going off the deep end. You're creative and grounded at the same time. You can do so many things that I can't."

An interesting viewpoint, right? I really hadn't thought of it that way before. You know, as a benefit. My dual nature always felt like--for lack of a better term--a handicap. But over the years, I've seen her version at work. Wendy is tremendously creative and comes up with the most amazing ideas. She can't stand detail work, though, and reaches out to me for help with resumes, cover letters, etc. She sends me a snarl of random facts, my left brain unravels them, and my right brain weaves them into whatever format she needs.

Win-win. :)

This blend of intuition and logic has helped with my fiction writing, too. What happens is that I totally lose myself in an emotional scene. I put myself smack-dab inside the character's head and feel what they're feeling. It can be dramatic and intense...I laugh, cry, fall in love, and everything in between. Later, I go back and use my logical side to make sense of it. Just so you know, this isn't easy. My touchy-feely and logic like to fight. I've literally spent hours trying to edit one tiny paragraph, only to come up with nothing. All I can do is let it go and try again later. It's frustrating, and yet tremendously satisfying when I find that middle ground and get it right.

I think the INFJ blend of intuition and rationality is pretty cool. In fact, it qualifies as a superpower. Thinkers and feelers may congregate on opposite sides of the room, but we stand in the middle. With one foot on each side, we can come up with creative solutions neither group would have considered on their own. 

Below is a four-minute video of Scott Barry Kaufman talking about creativity and the conscious/unconscious mind. In it, he mentions a "false dichotomy" society has created between intuition and rationality. My favorite part is where he says that we need to "listen to our intuition, but not be ruled by our intuition. We need to be rational, but we need not be hyper rational. And I think that that middle way is really critical for creativity."

Yep. Totally a superpower. :)

Enjoy the video!


Image Credit: INFJ Story

Low Tide: Struggling With Purpose

Ever find yourself thinking about the rhythm of life?

I do. A lot, actually. I don't mean cycles, although that's part of it. I mean the general rhythm, the ebb and flow of energy that carries us through life. Like a tidal flow. Sometimes we're high, covering lots of ground and crashing against the shore with all our strength. Then we withdraw. We pull back into ourselves, into a low period of peace and rest (or despair and unrest, depending on where we're at), gathering ourselves for the next surge forward.

Q&A: Is it Healthy to Give Too Much?

Your Question:

I recently read that INFJ have an emotional void and i was wondering if you agree. Being a fellow INFJ im not sure where I stand. I dont think it was healthy but I used to want my close relationships to be a certain way so I felt a certain way. Its liek I didnt know how to be happy/ powerful/whatever i wanted to feel on my own. NOW I know that I need to do many things each day (exercise, write, dance, etc) to keep my cup full and myself happy. Before I was giving always now i am giving to myself first.

What do you think? Is this how its suppose to be, continue to do things for yourself to keep yourself happy? Is this what everyone else has been doing all their life and I just figured it out at 35?

Thank you for your feedback!

Good Intentions

Hello there, friends. As promised, I'm back...a little later than planned. My month-long hiatus turned into two months, and it wasn't exactly the period of rest, focus, and accomplishment I'd been hoping for. I had good intentions. Life just got in the way.

Here's what happened.