The Square Peg: Set Apart

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 16 Comments A+ a-


Hey, everyone! Spring has officially made it to the Cafe. Good-bye snow, hello sunshine and flowers. And rain, of course. Oh, and don't forget the wind. Really crazy wind. It just wouldn't be spring in the Midwest without the occasional tornado watch.
Mama robin's babies-to-be

But I'm waking up to dove-song and the smell of clean, damp earth. The decorative tree outside my window is peppered with tight green buds, and robins are laying their eggs in the housing around our exterior garage lights. Everything feels new and fresh.

So pull up a chair and make yourself at home while I put the coffee on. I'll open the windows, too, and let in a fragrant spring breeze. We're going to cozy up and chat for a bit on the uniqueness of being an INFJ--and how that can sometimes make us feel alone or out of place.

Set Apart

I've been thinking a lot about how to approach this series. I mean, to be fair, everyone feels out of place in one way or another, right? If you stopped a hundred people on the street and asked if they ever felt "alone" or "different" from everyone else, you'd probably get more yea's than nay's.

But as an INFJ, I experience a nagging sense of isolation pretty much all the time...even when I'm with other people. I've never been able to pinpoint an exact reason for it, and defining it is nearly impossible. It's almost an issue of...belonging.

I remember a time when I met with a small group from my church. We were gathered in a circle at the group leader's home, heads bowed in prayer, but I couldn't focus. I felt lonely and restless and completely out of sync with the rest of the group. So I opened my eyes and looked out the window, where storm clouds raced across the sky and a flock of birds was fighting the wind. My heart thumped wildly, because it felt as if I belonged out there instead.

Why? I don't know. But if you were to put a magnifying glass on my sense of isolation, that's what it would look like. So I really think this is more than just your average "I'm different" scenario, because it has less to do with how I fit into society and more to do with my physical/spiritual connection to the earth, its energy, and its inhabitants.


 

Sound crazy? I guess it might. But if this resembles anything close to what you experience as an INFJ, then stick around. We're going to use it as a basis for exploring some of the more significant areas that set us apart.

Here's a breakdown of what we'll be covering in our Square Peg series:

  1. INFJ functional stack
  2. Self-awareness (physical and spiritual)
  3. Being old souls
  4. Patterns and connections
  5. Left- and right-brain adeptness
  6. Need for authenticity
  7. Nonconformity
  8. Subconscious blending (the chameleon condition)

I believe this is a good start and that any subtopics we might address will fall under one of the above categories. But I definitely don't want to put limitations on the discussion. If something comes up in the comments that isn't an exact fit, I'll extend the series to include it. This is a round table, after all--no head, no foot--just rare and precious individuals trying to understand and help one another. :)



Take care and stay tuned!

Always,
M.

Image Credit: Babies-to-be, Don't Belong

16 comments

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Colin Machan
AUTHOR
April 22, 2015 at 1:15 AM delete

Sounds like it's going to be an interesting series, looking forward to it.
I agree with that feeling of detachment - it's a bit like Shakespeare's "all the world's a stage" speech, and I'm in a setting playing a part. And can't wait until I can get home, peel off the mask and be me! :)

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Elizabeth
AUTHOR
April 22, 2015 at 10:34 AM delete

I am excited for the new series! And congratulations on your book.

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
April 22, 2015 at 11:47 AM delete

Your topics are great - so "right on"!

I've been thinking a lot about conformity lately. My own mother is a "regular" kind of woman, yet she is highly non-conforming in a non-radical sort of way. She certainly influenced me a great deal in this way as I am quite often uncomfortable with conforming. My husband's family is very much the opposite - very much conformists, while being kind and relatively authentic as well. My MIL made a comment about being out in a restaurant recently and not ordering what she really wanted because it was "too different" from what the group was ordering, and "when you're with a group, you go along with what the group is doing." I was utterly awed by this claim as it was so different from how I was raised. However, my MIL has many more friends and a more active social life than my own mother, and in a nice way - I envy her circle of friends and view them as kind and supportive to one another. It got me thinking: what is the price you need to pay to achieve this entry into a group? Is there a certain amount of "conforming" that is required to maintain your place in a group? What is the fine line between appropriate compromise and needless conforming? I feel like I was raised in an environment where compromise was discouraged, and I do think that this was an extreme attitude that can lead to isolation and loneliness... finding the right balance might be especially tricky for us INFJs, and I'd like to explore this idea more!
Looking forward to your future posts, Meridian! Thanks! - Liz

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April 23, 2015 at 12:56 PM delete

I am so excited for this series! I'm sure every INFJ will be able to relate.

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Lauren
AUTHOR
April 23, 2015 at 1:28 PM delete

Your new series sounds amazing and wonderful. Your words touch deeply, and resonate with a clear and familiar truth.
Best wishes to you,
Lauren

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Lauren
AUTHOR
April 23, 2015 at 1:32 PM delete

PS I want to say thanks for the great pic of the robin's nest, complete with blue egg! Love it! I also appreciate the graphics of the butterfly/moth background and the haunting beautiful tree and the island.

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Krista
AUTHOR
April 25, 2015 at 1:30 PM delete

Came here from Twitter and definitely looking forward to reading more. I've always felt disconnected from others and had a strong connection to nature. Never could understand why. I took the MB type test and found out I'm an INFJ. After reading and researching, I'm beginning to understand myself a little more...my type explains so many things...

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Meridian
AUTHOR
April 25, 2015 at 2:12 PM delete

Thanks, Colin...am looking forward to exploring this. It will as much of a journey for me as it will for the rest of you. :)

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Meridian
AUTHOR
April 25, 2015 at 2:15 PM delete

Thank you, Elizabeth! I'm excited, too. And the whole book thing has been such an incredible experience. Really loving it. :)

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Meridian
AUTHOR
April 25, 2015 at 2:50 PM delete

"The price you pay" is definitely something we'll be talking about. My youngest son (also an INFJ) is having a really rough time with conformity right now...at school, at work, at home. He's struggling to find that balance between what he's comfortable with and what's expected of him. It's not so much an issue of following the rules as it is compromising who he is. But there are consequences to both, and I hope to cover those as we go along. Thank you for bringing this up! <3

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Meridian
AUTHOR
April 25, 2015 at 2:53 PM delete

Me, too! I hope it will resonate. And I'll be drawing on examples and ideas from your book...so, so thrilled to have that as a resource! :)

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Meridian
AUTHOR
April 25, 2015 at 2:53 PM delete

My heart just smiled! Thanks, Lauren <3

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Meridian
AUTHOR
April 25, 2015 at 3:02 PM delete

Thank you! I love visuals and use them whenever possible. My husband gets credit for the nest picture. He took that early last week, when we were between storm systems. The butterfly/dagger is from my book cover--Ashley Ruggirello at REUTS Publications put that together. She's a very talented designer. And I just got lucky with the tree/island image, lol. It came up during a Google search, and it fit perfectly. That doesn't always happen, so I jumped on it. :)

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Meridian
AUTHOR
April 25, 2015 at 3:14 PM delete

Glad to have you here! Discovering that you're an INFJ is definitely an "aha" moment, isn't it? When I found out, it was like...wow, this explains a lot. You're on a very cool journey, and we're all right here with you. Enjoy the Cafe articles and feel free to comment or ask questions as you explore what it means to be an INFJ. :)

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April 29, 2015 at 8:11 AM delete

Meridian, Thank you for your blog! Just shared the link with a Facebook INFJ group and hope many will come to be encouraged by your thoughtful, informative writing. I love getting the email that tells me you have a new post here. It really brightens my day! :-)

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Meridian
AUTHOR
April 29, 2015 at 9:22 AM delete

Aww, thank you! You're very welcome, and thanks for sharing. I do hope the posts will be helpful. Take care and keep in touch!

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