INFJ Top Ten List: #6 - Perfectionism

Saturday, November 24, 2012 9 Comments A+ a-


'Morning! Am sitting here at a local Espresso Royale coffee shop, amazed at the number of people with their noses buried in laptops. This place is so busy that I'm sharing a table this morning. Got my earbuds in, tunage jacked up, and am sending out a mental invitation for creativity. Maybe my Fe will soak it up from all the warm bodies packed into this place :-)

So, are you ready for #6 on our list? This one ought to hit home with every single INFJ skimming this post.

Perfectionism.

6. We are perfectionists

INFJs are never happy with ourselves. No matter how much an INFJ has improved, there is always room to be better. Often times, we can struggle with relishing in our accomplishments since we continue to focus on where we have fallen short and how we could have done better. It can sometimes frustrate an INFJ to see others complacent with their current selves.

"INFJ is a perfectionist who doubts that they are living up to their full potential. INFJs are rarely at complete peace with themselves - there's always something else they should be doing to improve themselves and the world around them. They believe in constant growth, and don't often take time to revel in their accomplishments...they have very high expectations of themselves, and frequently of their families."
- Portrait of an INFJ, www.personalitypage.com

Okay, this one resonates at such a personal frequency that I'm almost uncomfortable talking about it, lol. My mother used to tell me that I was my own worst critic, and she was right. Whatever I set out to do, I rarely end up feeling that it's good enough. Other people might be patting me on the back for a job well done, but all I can see is where improvements could have been made.

And when it comes to fault-finding, my multiple perspectives are merciless. They nag, complain and nitpick until I feel like screaming at the top of my lungs: C'mon, Meridian, can't you find a more descriptive adjective? Your writing is sooooo lame today, and must you use adverbs like they're going out of style? Speaking of language, isn't it about time you tried learning a new one? Or taking a college course of some kind, cuz your brain is turning to mush just hanging out around this house. By the way, you missed a spot over there while you were dusting. And for crying out loud heavy up on those weights, girl, you're not getting any younger!!

Lol, does this sound familiar to anyone?? :-)

Now, perfectionism does have a few perks. With vivid clarity I can recall getting my grades at the end of my first semester in college. When I ripped open that envelope and saw nothing but A's, my heart sang at the accomplishment. Alone in my dorm room, I spun around and around, dancing for joy at discovering such a sweet reward coming after weeks of agonizing effort. But to be honest, those moments are rare. Ha--that's why I remember them so well!!

When it comes to other people, my expectations aren't as high. I might not cut myself any slack, but my compassion tends to overlook faults in those around me. That is, until they start whining. It sort of sets me off to hear people complain about things they won't take any action to fix. The way I figure it, if you're not going to make an effort to change something, you've lost the right to gripe about it. My compassion will cover a lot, but at a certain point I do expect people to put up or shut up, because that's what I would do.

And I'm never at peace with myself. The inner me is relentless, her voice a constant reminder to keep going. Focus harder. Do more. Dream big or go home.

So, perfectionist? Yes--yes, I am (sigh). If this was a support group, I'd be raising my hand in acknowledgement. But the good thing about INFJ perfectionism is that it drives us to achieve. It keeps us motivated and self-disciplined. If our desire is to help others and make this world a better place, perfectionism can be a potent source of fuel for our superpowers. Like any personality trait, we can harness it and make it work on behalf of mankind :-)

How does being a perfectionist work for you? Does it drive you crazy or drive you to greater feats of accomplishment? Are you at peace with yourself?

9 comments

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November 25, 2012 at 7:25 AM delete

this trait helps me give my best to things, makes me work harder than the rest of the crew and it disenchants me from myself to an extent that i end up reshaping my whole perspective of who i am. but yeah, it is there and it is strong.

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SloanZone1230
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November 25, 2012 at 10:04 PM delete

My inner critic is not very strong. It simmers up to the surface of mind only occasionally and often an issue with me is complacency. However, what you said about the perfectionist nature and others resonated strongly with me especially the part about complaining. I whole-heartedly agree that, if no effort is made to change or grow, then you instantly lose any right to gripe, and often my respect in the process.

In general, I too am a put up or shut up kind of person, however I have gotten in trouble in the past because I was being too "insensitive". Maybe I am more of a perfectionist than I realize...

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Meridian
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November 26, 2012 at 8:37 AM delete

I'm so glad your perfectionism works well for you and has the potential to bring out your best. That phrase...'disenchants me from myself' is intriguing. Never thought of it like that before, but you're right. The constant desire to do better and improve helps keep us from getting too wrapped up in our own glory. Thanks for pointing that out! :-)

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Meridian
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November 26, 2012 at 9:05 AM delete

I wish my inner critic was more like yours, lol :-) Complacency makes me nervous for some reason. I can relax, no problem, but my brain is always working on the next goal or the next step of a project. If anything, I suffer from procrastination because I know exactly how much energy it's going to take to give 110%...so I'll put things off because it tires me out to think about doing them.

Whew - glad I'm not alone in being considered 'insensitive'. Thin-skinned folks learn to keep their distance. And I don't think it's lack of compassion or anything...it's more like self-preservation. I don't know about you, but whiny, complaining people drain my Fe soooooo fast. I just don't have the energy to deal with it on an ongoing basis. I LOVE encouraging folks and will do my best to help. But if all they're after is constant encouragement, they're going to be disappointed when I walk away.

I'm betting you're not insensitive - you just have the intuitive ability to discern whether a person is truly wanting motivation to change...or is just looking to suck you dry in order to feel better about him/herself. Knowing the difference sets you apart. Lol, you need a really strong ENFJ around you to pass the whiners along to...some personality types are better at handling them than we are!! :-)

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Mel
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November 26, 2012 at 2:33 PM delete

Oh man!

Excel tells the story of my perfectionism well, as do the notebooks where I tear pages out if they contain more than two major errors and rewrite everything even if it takes me hours. :-/

Perfectionism definitely has its good points - but I think it can go too far too (I push it).

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Meridian
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November 27, 2012 at 8:14 AM delete

Lol, it's a double-edge sword, isn't it, Mel?!? We are two peas in a pod...!

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SloanZone1230
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December 4, 2012 at 10:18 PM delete

Whiny people do drain me, but I don't think I have too many of them in my life so I'm able to give them what they need for the short time I'm around them. There's a good chance you're right about me having the ability to discern about them wanting change or not. I haven't really thought about it that way before to know for sure.

Its funny that you say that about ENFJ's. My mother-in-law is a very strong one and she's awesome at giving my wife encouragement in the times where I don't know quite what to say :)

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LittleHobbit13
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June 15, 2013 at 4:27 AM delete

"The way I figure it, if you're not going to make an effort to change something, you've lost the right to gripe about it."

Yes. I agree 100%.

I have problems with my perfectionism. Sometimes I have trouble containing it to within myself. I see the potential of how everything and everyone around me could be better, and it frustrates me to no end when nothing happens to reach that potential. It frustrates me to the extent that I become almost pushy about "you could do it this way", even when unasked. It's something I'm constantly on guard about doing. I know people must feel I'm just coming across as a know-it-all, but I can't help being able to see potential, and it's hard to see a better way of doing something and not do anything to achieve it. This, indeed, is my Kryptonite.

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Unstuck Girl
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August 29, 2013 at 10:17 AM delete

In your travels and study on the subject of INFJ, have you found an article or book that discusses some real strategies that can help someone in the grips of INFJ? You, when they get stuck? Or when they are doing a project or piece of art or something and can't just say, "Good enough." This is my problem. I would really like some tools to help me move past it and move on when I get seized in the grips of my perfectionism. I would love know of anything you've read online or in a book that has helped you with this. Thanks.

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