2013: Gather Around, Friends

Tuesday, January 01, 2013 12 Comments A+ a-



Hello and Happy New Year, everyone! Grab your glasses and gather around the table - let's toast the new year with smiles, hugs and hope for the future!

Our 2013 arrived with a wonderful surprise. Yesterday it snowed all morning long, blanketing the earth with a lovely layer of pearly white snow. I was ecstatic to see those fluffy flakes coming down! Nothing makes me feel cozier than a roaring wood fire and swirling snow outside my window!

Took a break from writing, sat by the fire and watched October Baby with a big box of tissues handy. As an adopted person, I knew the movie would open some old wounds. But I also felt I needed to watch it. I rarely ever cry, and when I do, it can be a healing experience. Tears also have a tendency to sedate my inner Phoenix--she almost always backs down in the presence of sorrow.

So several tissues later, I felt like a new person. My favorite part of the movie is when Hannah turns to her father and says, "Thank you." When he asks what for, she replies, "For wanting me." I happen to know the story behind my own birth, and I am secure in the fact that my birth mother wanted me. But she also wanted the best for me, so she sacrificed her own happiness to ensure mine. It's a thought that continually humbles me.

And the comments on this blog humble me as well! I'm continually thankful for your support and encouragement--it keeps me going strong. When I start running out of steam, you guys are there to pump me right back up. You are awesome!!

I've been thinking about plans for The Cafe in 2013. What I'd like to start with is a series on INFJ relationships. Match us up with each MBTI and see where it leads. TyKes Mom put the idea in my head (thank you, dear!), and she's written a neat article that I'll be drawing from. To keep the posts consistent and manageable, I want to put together a framework to stick to. Otherwise I'll just ramble on without direction, and that's not always a good thing :-)

There are other topics I'd like to address as well. Like do INFJs really have a superiority complex, lol?!? Sometimes it seems like we do. And how do we handle the constant thoughts/ideas/questions that tumble around in our heads? Seriously, is it even possible to turn off our brains? Have also read a few interesting articles on INFJ growth--the phases we go through from the time we find out our type until we're mature in our perspectives and responses. I'd love to dive into that one.

Since we're sitting around the table, friends, please toss out any topics you want to see out here. I'm open to all suggestions! Better yet, write about one yourself and e-mail it to me for a guest post (yes, Clint, I'm hoping you'll roll with that one, lol!). And e-mail me anytime. It sometimes takes awhile for me to respond, but I'll always try. I adore hearing from you guys and enjoy the interaction. Makes my heart smile :-)

A toast! Raise your glasses, people: here's to our superpowers, our complex and passionate natures, and the rare beauty of the INFJ condition.

Cheers!



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Anonymous
AUTHOR
January 1, 2013 at 4:17 PM delete

Once again you've done it... You have opened up and shared something about yourself and tied it to what it like to live life as an INFJ. Wonderful. Thanks for all great posts from 2012. I (and I am sure others) are looking forward to reading the ones for 2013.

-Quintessential INFJ

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Clint
AUTHOR
January 2, 2013 at 8:53 AM delete

"I rarely ever cry, and when I do, it can be a healing experience."

This is very true of me! I went to see the "Les Mis" movie last week and new from seeing it on stage that the potential was there to draw a tear. So, as Fantine sang in agony I opened up my heart and let her in, and successfully eeked out a tear. Just as you say, it was a very soothing experience!

I was actually struck -- and briefly distracted -- by what a conscious effort it was. For the majority of people I believe tears come unbidden and require a conscious effort to fight them back. By contrast I have to make an effort to draw back the walls and bid them come forth! I think this is probably less an INFJ trait itself and more my applying an INFJ trait to something I saw as a problem. It doesn't take many instances of a young man being called a "cry-baby" before he sets out to solve that problem once and for all! :)

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas and New Year! I'm looking forward to the various series you described, and I would be honored to send you something to be considered for a guest piece! Though what to write about, I have not a clue!

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jonathanrenck
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January 2, 2013 at 8:11 PM delete

Clint while I don't want to read too much into it, I also know that I have difficulty in expressing myself. I've watched I don't know how many stirring, tragic, or otherwise emotionally charged films and have only cried at two I can think of. In both cases they were just catalysts to what my body needed to do to express the stress or frustration I was dealing with at the time. I also find I don't cry for very long when I do actually get to the point where I do. I know it's nearly impossible for me to cry in front of others, now I'm sure under the right circumstances I'll cry in public, but it will take great emotional trauma to induce such things. I do know for me a good deal of it comes from the fact that crying attracts attention and I don't want that, particularly if it moves someone to try and help me. For good or ill I get uncomfortable when someone tries to help me. There is also a lot of emotional armor built up from being the sensitive one in public school.

Meridian I look forward to what you do put forth and I definitely would love to read about the interactions "typical" of INFJ's and the whole range of MBTI personalities. I will also say that I find myself cheering your birth mother for having the strength to give you the possibility to have the best life you could. As for your question about whether it's possible to turn our brains off, it is but it takes far more than most people. Now I also think I have an edge as a male. That is there's a book some friends used for their pre-marital counseling "Men are waffles, women are spaghetti" (or possibly one of the chapters was that, but I think it was a book). The main point was that men tend to be rather compartmentalized in their thinking, rarely thinking more than one thing at a time, women however think if a very mixed way one thought leading to another. The other thing the author asserts is that men have a nothing box. Most times when a man tells you he's thinking about nothing, that's exactly what he's doing. So while I know there are times where I find myself thinking far more (a la INFJ) than my other guy friends do, I also know I have the capacity to think about nothing. I don't know how well that applies in general to INFJ behavior, but it has been my experience.

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Clint
AUTHOR
January 3, 2013 at 9:08 AM delete

You took the thoughts right out of my head, Jonathan. While I don't typically feel like I have problems expressing my feelings verbally, identifying my feelings can be very difficult. This, I've read, is typical for INFJs.

The public display of emotions, and crying specifically, is something that I've thought a lot about. I suppose it's rather Dr. Spock-ish, but my emotions are something that I want to have control over. I have people who depend on me to be a calming influence and level headed, so I sort of engage in a constant exercise of self-control so that when an emergency does come up I'll be prepared. In the case of crying, since grief and sadness are likely not to move me to tearing my clothes and pulling my hair out, it's sort of my ultimate display of that feeling, so I don't do it lightly. It can be difficult to manage a balance between appearing "too macho" to cry and simply in control.

Compartmentalization is a very interesting subject. Dr. Emerson Eggerichs touches on it in his "Love and Respect" series.

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Meridian
AUTHOR
January 3, 2013 at 12:03 PM delete

Thank you!! Am looking forward to posting and sharing with all of you this year :-)

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Meridian
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January 3, 2013 at 12:34 PM delete

I agree that expressing emotions might be a matter of 'control' for the INFJ. I keep myself under tight control when people are around, with the exception of my ESTP friend Wendy. She's so emotional and spontaneous that I feel comfortable letting mine off the leash a bit when I'm with her. But for me, grief and sorrow are very personal experiences, and I don't enjoy sharing them with others. This is one reason I detest funerals. I've been to 3 in the last 7 years, and I only let a few tears slip at one of them (my mother's). People probably think I was cold, but I just don't feel comfortable tackling my pain under scrutiny. A few months before my mother died, I dreamed of her death and woke up sobbing. Cried hard alone for the longest time, and I think I did most of my extreme grieving for her that night (sigh).

So when I put 'October Baby' in, I told my husband to stay out of the room. I knew I'd experience pain, knew I'd cry, and I wanted to do it alone. I don't want people rushing over, putting their arms around me and trying to comfort me. And I don't want the responsibility of doing that for others when I'm hurting myself. Odd, I guess. Solitude is the purest form of freedom and comfort for me.

As a female, I probably do tear up more easily than you and Jonathan. Compassion (or hormones) will bring on the sting of tears easily. But I had a counselor once tell me that I had a much higher percentage of masculine emotional traits than the average female. Whether that's related to INFJness or--as you suggested above--simply the "application" of an INFJ trait as a defensive strategy, I don't know. Hmm.

Arisa has drawn many doodles about compartmentalization. I think it's a huge source of the INFJ ability to focus. Sounds like a good topic for the future. I'll add it to the growing list in my "sticky" on my Mac and we'll try to tackle it later this year :-)

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Clint
AUTHOR
January 3, 2013 at 2:04 PM delete

I think it's hilarious that you told your husband to stay out of the room! My girlfriend cries more than anybody I've ever met. For her, it's as casual a release as laughing. One time I mentioned to her that I hadn't seen her cry in almost a week, to which she replied, "I know! I don't know what's wrong with me! Could you tell me something to make me cry? I need to get it out!" I don't think I stopped laughing in time to fulfill her request.

Also, Meridian, the ending to my book (or perhaps the climax) hit me like a lightning bolt on my drive into work this morning! I don't know if it will be as emotional for anybody else as it will be for me, but I had to add a few layers to the cry wall just thinking about it.

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TyKes Mom
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January 3, 2013 at 2:46 PM delete

I am so excited for your posts on the relationships! I am just so fascinated by it and am really happy to have helped nudge you toward it. :-) Happy New Year!

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ComplexGuy97
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January 3, 2013 at 6:26 PM delete

I hope to be a valuable asset to your blog and wish to share information freely with feeling!

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Meridian
AUTHOR
January 4, 2013 at 10:33 AM delete

I'm delighted to hear that you had a moment of inspiration for your book-to-be :-) Love those--they bring on an emotional response that stirs your own heart and then gives you the mad desire to put it in writing to stir the hearts of others. I find those moments irresistible :-)

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Meridian
AUTHOR
January 4, 2013 at 10:35 AM delete

Thanks, Tyke!! Still trying to come up with a unique approach and hope to get started soon. Happy New Year to you as well :-)

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Meridian
AUTHOR
January 4, 2013 at 10:37 AM delete

Absolutely!! So glad you've found the Cafe and have the opportunity to sit around the table - we will have fun sharing our insights and discovering new things about ourselves :-)

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