Dark Side: Knocked Off the Unicorn

Friday, September 11, 2015 2 Comments A+ a-



Summer is waning.

I can smell it in the crisp morning air, when I let my pups out. I can hear it in the afternoons, when the dog day cicadas drone on and on, signaling the end of the season. Mostly, though, I can feel it in the evenings, when the heat gives way to a smoky chill. There are more obvious signs, of course, like golden school buses on the streets and pumpkin spice lattes in the coffee shops. But I prefer the subtle changes of Mother Nature over society's calendar. The Earth is very good about letting us know what lies ahead.

Am I excited for autumn? Yes, and in more ways than one. I'm anticipating all the usual things...cooler weather, hoodies, carving pumpkins. Love that stuff! A bigger change is on the horizon, though, and that's got me more excited than anything: my special-needs son will be moving into a group home in less than two weeks.

This is huge, guys. Many of you know that I've been looking for a good place for my boy, and now, we have one. He'll be living in a beautiful, spacious house with other boys his age and a great staff of people who will help him become as happy and independent as he can be.

As a mom, the situation is bittersweet. I love my son and can't imagine life at home without him. But this is what he needs. It's natural for children to move on and develop as individuals. He's getting ready to spread his little wings and fly.
I get to fly? Sweet!

And so am I. Having my son live elsewhere is going to free up a lot of of my time. It will probably take a few weeks to fall into a natural routine, but I'm looking forward to more writing, a consistent workout schedule, and getting to know my husband again (caregiver couples sacrifice a lot to keep the home fires burning). Just as summer gives way to autumn, one season of my life is giving way to the next. Kind of poetic, don't you think? :)

But enough about poetry. Let's get down to some Dark Side business and take a peek at another snippet of Elaine Schallock's article:

As previously noted, the INFJ’s reputation as prophetic, insightful, “spiritually wise,” etcetera, precedes the INFJ herself. The mystical nature of this “elusive” type is a credo that has pervaded MBTI internet discussion boards and books authored by established typological experts alike – a credo, in my observation, that INFJs are happy to propagate. After all, there is something romantic about this perception of the INFJ as rare and unusual (such rarity inspires practically everyone to want to identify as an INFJ!) It would be fallacious to suggest, however, that “rare” necessarily translates to “special” or “favored.”

There's more to this paragraph, but I'm going to stop here a moment. I agree that the INFJ label is one of mystery and allure. One quick Google search is all it takes to find endless articles about our wise, prophetic natures. People who read about us probably think we're quite magical. Like unicorns, we're depicted as rare and elusive. And who wouldn't want to be a unicorn, right?

And here I said this wouldn't be
all rainbows and unicorns. :)
Do we adore and promote this mystical reputation? I think we do, and to some degree, we should. There's a reason it's out there, and regardless what people think, we do have mystical qualities. Some may attribute it to spiritual sources, others to the intimate relationship between our Ni and Se. But it's part of who we are, and we shouldn't deny it.

However, being "rare" doesn't automatically make us desirable. Rare doesn't mean awesome, it just means...rare. As in, not found abundantly in the natural world. Any INFJ who thinks highly of himself just because he's in the minority is setting himself up for failure. And that's exactly where Elaine leads us in the remainder of her paragraph:

INFJs who (ab)use their “1th” percentile status in support of the idea that rarity is the central defining characteristic of the INFJ and a great way to set them apart from the rest of the typological “riff-raff” are missing the point. At worst, combine this with an immature or undeveloped INFJ’s propensity for “know it all” behavior and you have a killer recipe for offending a heck of a lot of people.

Moral of the story? Being a rare personality type isn't what the INFJ is all about. It might contribute to our otherworldly mystique, but it's really just a state of existence. It doesn't mean we're special. And it actually works against us in a lot of ways. Society tends to favor the good of the many over the good of the few, and the "few" INFJs are often overlooked. It's hard being overlooked. But I agree with Elaine that waving the "I'm rare and unusual and therefore worthy of your attention" flag around will only get you knocked off your unicorn.

Don't get me wrong, though, guys. I do think we're special. That's one reason I started this blog. We have unique gifts to bring to the world, and because there aren't many of us, we have to work a little harder to get our voices heard. Whether it's Yoda's wise and powerful voice or Vader's narcissistic one, will be up to you.

Have a great weekend!

And remember...do or do not. There is no try.

Image Credit: Good-bye, I Get to Fly by C.L. Denault, Unicorn, Yoda/Vader

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Lauren
AUTHOR
September 12, 2015 at 12:58 PM delete

I wish you all the best for you and your son. Blessings to him and to you.

Thanks for another great INFJ post, and especially for the point about "know it alls". I have to watch out that I don't come across as that. Thnx for the gentle reminder.

I also like the "do or do not...there is no try"

Kindest wishes,
Lauren

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jonathanrenck
AUTHOR
September 14, 2015 at 8:33 PM delete

So happy to hear that you've found a good home for your son. I do hope that, as you settle into the new rhythm, you find new ways of using the time you needed to devote to him.
This one I don't wrestle with too much. Not to say it hasn't happened, but, perhaps because the prophetic bent tends to show up only in retrospect for me, I think some of it comes from what you had while you were growing up. My parents could tell you how they chuckled to themselves as I played sports as a kid. I was usually off in my own little world. They pretty much let my sister and I be ourselves. With that sort of support I felt ok being weird, but didn't have to draw personal value from that uniqueness. The more people I interact with over the year, the more I've come to realize that I was lucky that way. Again, there are moments where I try to emphasize myself for being unique and get knocked down for it. And perhaps it is my experiences of being an outsider for other reasons that has given me a better understanding that rare just means there aren't many like me. And though I do find meaning in having my personality quantified, the MBTI is only one way of understanding what's going on with me. Even knowing that about me, one still has to recognize me as an onion, as Shrek may describe it. (You know the whole layers discussion). Being an INFJ is just one of those layers of myself. And no, I'm not like cake.

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