Wait...I Can Fix That

Friday, June 01, 2012 3 Comments A+ a-

Good morning and Happy Friday!

The sky is still overcast and rain is still intermittently falling. But I'm feeling sooooo much better. Woke up early and headache-free. I have a gnawing suspicion that the antihistamine was causing my problems, and now that it's out of my system, I'm back in action :-)

Okay, here's the latest section on Dr. Drenth's INFJ article:

A Penchant for Analyzing Human Problems

INFJ are masters when it comes to reading people and their motives. The Ni/Fe/Se combination, whether occurring in INFJs or ENFJs, is adept at detecting and interpreting human emotions. Not only are INFJs adept a surveying and reading emotions, but they are highly skilled at solving people-related problems.
When it comes to people and humanitarian issues, INFJs typically feel they have answers, or at least have the capacity to generate one. INFJs feel that in order to solve the myriad humanitarian crises facing the world, we must first gain a better foothold on the fundamentals of human nature and human behavior. We need to better understand ourselves—our motives, behaviors, and personality.
INFJs often feel happiest and most fulfilled when helping others understand themselves and their problems. INFJs are least content when they become too caught up in themselves and their own personal grievances. This is why healthy relationships and/or a well-suited career are so important to INFJs’ satisfaction.

Do you feel that you're adept at analyzing and solving human problems?

Hmm. I tend to distrust my own ability when it comes to solving the problems of others, mostly because I have little experience with it. I do feel that I'm fairly good at reading people and discerning their motives. But I'm also good at ignoring my own instincts and allowing my compassion and love to blind me. I've had to learn from some pretty serious mistakes in this area. And I have the self-defensive tendency to shut people out unless I know them well, and this, along with my hermit-like state of existence, limits my ability to help them.

In general, though, I think INFJs are able to help through their unique ability to perceive the root or motive of another person's problems. If we can sense what's "really" bothering someone, or pick up an intuitive hint while they're telling us their story, we can offer insight into their situation. This makes us terrific confidants, soundboards and counselors. Our deep compassion and desire to help people also kicks in when someone is having a problem. Whether a close friend or a stranger we just met, we truly want to make things better for others.

When I was younger, I worked as a programmer for a large company. In the first few years, my job was partly technical and partly service-oriented. I could immerse myself in program development to fix a problem, but was also required to help local clients and other techs around the country (by hotline) to solve problems relating to the platform I supported. It was the perfect job position for me, utilizing my technical skills while also allowing me to communicate helpful information to others. I loved diving into a program and finding problems or updating processes - this gave me much-needed alone time. Equally I loved visiting a client's desk, sitting down and solving a tech problem in the blink of an eye, and being rewarded by the his or her gratitude at my saving the day.

After those first wonderful 2-3 years, however, the IT department decided to 'specialize' the processes. Business analysts were brought in as liaisons between tech and clients, and my job was scaled back to just programming and hotline duties. While still a decent mix of isolation and interaction, I lost a lot of my inspiration for the job at that time. Over the next 8-10 years, more specialization and mainstreaming was done - to the point that I felt I was lost in my direction with the company. When the time came to quit and take care of my son, I wasn't sad to leave.

On a positive note - I met my current husband there. The project that brought us together ended up being cancelled, but we feel like it still produced a pretty great deliverable...US! :-)

Now that I think about it, I guess that I am at my best when I'm in a position to help others, whether it's fixing a problem, offering a word of encouragement, or simply listening to their troubles. I'm not sure I could tackle a large group or issue, though. I think I'm much better at one-on-one, behind-the-scenes assistance.

According to Dr. Drenth, INFJs need healthy relationships and/or a well-suited career to keep them from getting too caught up in themselves and their own problems. I agree with him on this. Personally, I feel a great imbalance in my own life when it comes to these areas. I don't have a 'career' so to speak, and my confinement to the home provides inadequate recharging opportunities for me, which doesn't allow me to fulfill relationships the way I'd like. Being an INFJ, I sense this imbalance all the time, and it weighs on me.

Fortunately, I'm able to combat the burden with my writing and my faith. Blogging helps to express the daily thoughts and emotions I deal with. Working on my book forces me to focus on, analyze, and translate the adventures of my satisfying inner world. Praying gives me hope that my circumstances mean something and will eventually work out for my good and the good of those in my sphere of influence...like Joseph from the Bible, who endured great trials and hardship before his true destiny was revealed. God used him to fulfill a great purpose, and I have faith that He can use me as well.

We're all on the road to destiny. And INFJs are well equipped to help others along the way. We don't have to tackle the world - we can simply follow our Ni/Fe/Se as we go about our day. Open the door for that elderly lady struggling with her cane. Drop your last dollar into the charity bucket. Compliment that self-conscious co-worker who desperately needs encouragement but doesn't know it. Watch, listen, and offer your insightful assistance.

In a previous post, I likened us to superheroes. But we can be angels, too. Give it a try today and see how it makes you feel. Your inner INFJ is likely to smile :-)


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June 2, 2012 at 7:22 PM delete

Great post, Meridian. I enjoy your INFJ writings. It looks like that type can be an asset at work since they can tune in to others' feelings. If I remember right, I'm an ISTJ. I used to be a vet tech and in our school program we took a poll of learning styles. To everyone's surprise, we were all almost the same type. The choices were (we learn by:) reading, thinking, doing or watching. Out of 18 students, 16 of us were "doing". I wonder how learning styles fit into Jung's personality types, and if his work has ever been revised.

June 3, 2012 at 12:19 AM delete

Thanks, Amelie! So glad you're enjoying the posts and getting something useful out of them :-)

If you're an ISTJ, that explains why many of your comments on Jon's blog resonate with me...we have the introversion and judgment functions in common. Then you go into your academic thinking/sensing explanations and leave my touchy-feely brain in the dust, lol! I like it, though. Helps me grow and develop in my weak areas.

Hmm. My son wants to be a vet. He's nearly 15 and hasn't taken the Myers-Briggs, but I can tell you he prefers to learn by doing. He can utilize the other types if necessary, but he loves to jump in and get his hands dirty. Interesting how the majority of your program students were doers. Are you a vet, by chance? Learning styles and how they relate to personality types would make a great series of posts. I'll make a note of it. The more I research, the more I realize that Jung's types aren't set in stone...they can be seriously impacted by our personal experiences, where we fall on the line between functions, and our willingness to develop in secondary areas.

Funny that you mention learning types. One of my friends who teaches Interior Design is currently doing research in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in the Interior Design field. Specifically, she's pursuing the ramifications of a holistic teaching model that factors in individual learning differences, left and right brain learning modalities, incorporating both left and right brain activities into teaching (to help students learn from both sides of the brain), and using technology as a tool to incorporate whole brain learning experiences. I know this because she had me create her powerpoint files for her presentations. She told me that there are basically four methods of learning, and a holistic model would incorporate all of them to reach each student in the classroom (since we all have dominant preferences). It sounds very similar to the dominant traits in personality types. Wouldn't it be fascinating, as you suggested, to cross-reference the two and see where the they intersect?

See how you make me think? Girl, you are so good for me :-)

June 5, 2012 at 11:44 AM delete

Wow, you say you are left in the dust with academic stuff but you sound pretty saavy about it to me! :) I've had quite a few folks say my writing is quite on the science-ey side, but honestly, it's mostly reduced down from the best sites out there that make science accessible to everyone (read: I ripped it off. Not copied and pasted mind you, but certainly not my research).

I have to tell you, when I first read your comment on some of Jon's blog about Jung I thought you were another psychology Ph.D. I would love to see a post about the intersection of learning styles versus Jung's types. In the case of the tech program, it may have been the subject. It's not like literature where you're reading and writing; you're dealing with live animals with flowing blood and a will of their own. So sometimes I think anyone would have to jump in to get it right. Getting dirty is certainly a part of it, LOL!

Wow, your son is thinking of vet school? Best wishes to him!! I was a vet tech and at some point I decided I wanted to move on - so it was a choice between a Master's in Biology or Vet school. I chose the former and it was certainly the right decision for me.

You've made me think as well, M, so I look forward to more posts! Like Darwin, I have a great deal of respect for Jung and I keep wondering if any of his work has been advanced or updated, or even challenged as Margulis challenged Darwin's idea to bring them into a new era. Not that either of them were wrong - just worthy of an upgrade! :)