Got Feelings?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 2 Comments A+ a-

G'morning, folks! The sun is shining, and birds are twittering cheerfully outside my window. My son's miniature dachshund, Suzzie, is curled up beside me in her usual spot, and I'm working on my second cup of coffee. Getting a late start today, but am ready to discuss the next paragraph of Dr. Drenth's INFJ article.

A misconception about INFJs is that because they prefer Feeling they are less likely to be interested in intellectual endeavors. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, some of the most intellectually-inclined people I know are INFJs. They rival and resemble INTs in their level of openness and hunger for new ideas and perspectives. In some regards, they may actually eclipse INTs with regard to intellectual openness, readily appreciating both science and literature, fiction and nonfiction, poetry and prose.

I found this paragraph interesting. Do people really assume that 'feelers' are less intellectual because they tend to base their decisions on feelings instead of logic? Why would they do this? Maybe they think that because we're 'feelers,' we're more emotional?

Let's talk about feelings for a minute. Feelings are very different from emotions. Emotions are temporary and pop up in an instant to serve or protect us. Feelings are more long-term, sustainable things that provide a basis for our outlook on life.

For example, I 'feel' that it's wrong to steal. Forget the law, I just 'feel' that it's unfair to take something that belongs to someone else. This feeling drives me to act in ways that prevent me from stealing. In a desperate circumstance, however, my emotions might rise to the surface and temporarily overpower that feeling. If I was starving to death, I might steal food. I'd still feel it was wrong, but my emotions would kick in and do whatever necessary to ensure my survival.

So...making decisions based on emotions is not the same as making decisions based on feelings. Feelers aren't necessarily emotional. I'm a huge feeler, but I'm not an emotional person. And when I do get emotional, I don't trust myself to think clearly. There are certain days of the month where my hormones turn me from a calm, logical person into a weepy, tired mess. On those days, I'm prone to more irrational behaviors--like eating chocolate for breakfast and shopping online for things I don't need. I'd never make a life-changing decision on one of those days!

I guess we feelers get a bad rap in some ways, eh? The world may think we're sitting around, holding hands and singing Kumbaya - but really we're drawing from our long-term, sustainable feelings to put that world in the proper perspective.

Are you open to new ideas and perspectives? I know I am. I love to hear people talk about their ideas and outlooks. Then I measure those things against my own perspective and decide whether or not I should tweak something. In my opinion, an INFJ walks around with a very solid internal base of logic, and when we run up against something that challenges that base, we use our feelings and our intellect together to hash it out, asking questions and making changes if necessary.

It's intriguing that Dr. Drenth mentions INFJs appreciating opposites - fiction vs nonfiction, science vs literature. Do you remember those crazy ISAT tests we had to take in school? And then later on, SATs and ACTs? Every single time, I would score extremely high in language arts, and the next runner-up was always science. My teachers would tell me how unusual that was. Apparently the norm was to excel in language/history, or in science/math. To excel in language/science wasn't typical. Yeah, yeah - story of my life, lol!

But it explains a lot. It explains why I love to read and write fiction, yet excelled in Biology 101 in college and almost became a forest ranger (my severe allergies held me back). It explains why I crave science fiction, the ultimate merge of language arts and science. Why I can lose myself in the fantasy world of Lord of the Rings, but still desire to know the inner working of our kitchen appliances. And why I can spend one minute deep in prayer and the next looking up a fact about quantum mechanics.

Bottom line here - INFJs can be very intellectual. In fact, I think we thrive on intellectual pursuits, preferring them to the more shallow endeavors of the people around us. This may explain why we dislike talking about surface topics and dive right into deep discussions that make others uncomfortable. We stand on our firm bedrock of feelings-based logic and freely stretch our minds, exploring the world with our curious, intellectual, empathetic perspective.

Simply put - we are way cool. Feelings rock!

Join me next time for a discussion on interconnectedness...stay tuned...


Write comments
May 16, 2012 at 5:35 AM delete

hi! i would like to comment on the way you write articles on this blog... enchanting!! really!

everything that you say strikes a chord with me, i am a clinical psychology student, researcher, writer, poet, artist and an engineering graduate. well, i think you can guess that i am an INFJ too. the beautiful thing is how many things we share in common. it is fascinating to be together in this way we feel things.

i have been writing for so long and at the age of 25 i have reached a stage that i feel like my fingers write effortlessly. i feel that it might be an infj effect. what do you think?

please keep writing such amazing articles, it makes my day and motivates me to think with my self in the spotlight, thanks! have a lovely day and give my hugs to your charming kids.... :)

May 16, 2012 at 9:52 AM delete

Hi, Aarthi! Thank you soooooo much for your encouraging comments - they totally made my day!! :-)

From your description, it doesn't surprise me at all that you're an INFJ. You sound very talented (and very BUSY!), with a wide range of gifts in diverse areas. I'll bet you're a perfectionist as well, right? It's not uncommon for INFJs to have many irons in the fire. I remember complaining to my mother as a child, "Why am I good at so many things? Why can't I be good at one thing and know what to focus on?" She laughed at the time, but it's a frustrating situation. I love that you're pursuing so many of your gifts. Keep that up!

Every time I do research on the topic of INFJs, I find "self-expression through writing" as one of our main traits. Apparently we tend to have strong writing skills and express ourselves very well on paper (or laptop!). Personally, I feel it's my strongest skill, and I've been writing from the time I could pick up a pencil. It feels, as you indicated, "effortless." I think it's safe to assume that your writing skills are an extension of your INFJ personality :-)

Oh, to be 25 again! You are so blessed, my dear! I'm glad you're finding insight and affirmation in my articles - that means I must be doing something right, lol! We do have a lot in common, which is an awesome thing. As rare as we are, we all need to stick together! Comment as often as you'd like - would love to hear your opinion. If you feel the urge to write an article, let me know and I'll guest-post you, k?

Could write you forever, but I fear there's a limit on these comments! Have a great day and thanks again!