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April 11, 2017

Every single personality test I’ve taken has given me the result of being an INFP – introverted, intuitive, feeling, and perceiving – or a diplomatic mediator. I cannot agree more with this perpetual result; I’m definitely an INFP. I’m proud to be an INFP, but it’s also hard sometimes, as it seems like everyone else out there is SO much more outgoing than me. I have struggled with my introversion my whole life – a virtual pendulum swinging between ultimate confidence and total self-doubt.

Only four percent of the population can be pinpointed as INFP personality types, which blows my mind; I genuinely thought the amount of others similar to me would at least be in double digits! Feeling misunderstood has also comprised a big part of my life, which is typical of an INFP, but this is sometimes hard to deal with. I find it difficult to find like-minded people – perhaps because of that dang four percent!

My intuition has been very strong for as long as I can remember. When I was a little girl, I often evil-eyed men who made me uneasy and refused to accept attention from adults whom I did not know. My mom dubbed my intense scrutiny of grown-ups as my ‘creep alarm’. My creep alarm still ticks today! While it can take a while at times for me to really see people’s true colors, my initial sense of them – even if I ignore it – usually turns out to be correct.

Shyness has been a part of my inherent being as long as I’ve been alive. While I think most people realize I’m shy, not an asshole, I wonder if others believe I’m aloof? I have no control over what others think of me though, so whatever people see is what they get. I try to manage my bashfulness by smiling and greeting others and I’m attempting to stop avoiding people I know when I see them in public. I don’t know why, but I get anxiety often when I see acquaintances – I’m always scared I won’t know what to say if I can’t just wave and move on.

I read once that introverts have rich inner lives – I’d definitely say this is very true for me. My imagination is insanely vivid and I can entertain myself very well. Reading and writing are of course great outlets for me too. However, I do like to be social, usually with close friends and family and occasionally at a party or a concert. Like most introverts, I have to unwind after social events of any sort, even holiday gatherings with family. Recharging by myself keeps me sane.

I feel deeply, to the point that I can actually feel my heart ache in pain for others or with grief. For instance, on the anniversaries of the deaths of loved ones, my heart will seriously hurt, even if it doesn’t register right away what the date is. My mom told me a while ago about her reading that research has proven that there are brain cells, cells of memory, in the heart! Crazy, I know, but this fact makes so much sense. My heart and mind are very connected.

I have intense empathy almost to the point of being crippled in my own life and focusing on the hardships of others. In addition, I can be gullible and I’ve always had a heightened awareness of my being possibly tricked by creepy people. I’ve had some close calls – when I was in college in Knoxville, I went to a park to read and got freaked out fast by this lone guy who kept watching me. I ended up pretty much running to my car after he walked away from my space, only to see him returning, with something in his hand, smiling maniacally. Perhaps I jumped to conclusions and let my morbid imagination get the best of me, but I’m just glad to still be here.

Being empathetic is definitely positive, but I can’t help but sometimes think life would be so much easier if I were a sociopath. I know that sounds really weird, but if I was devoid of true emotion, I wouldn’t worry so much about others or give a shit in general. I do know that I am blessed with the empathetic qualities I do possess; it’s just draining to feel so deeply all the time. In turn, I am easily deeply hurt when my trust, which isn’t easy to get, is broken by so-called friends and others. This fact caused me to put up walls many years ago and I’m definitely a really hard nut to crack.

I feel that I am very perceptive, which I think goes along with intuition. While I can be fooled at times, I am generally really good at reading people, especially their facial expressions, body language, and the vibes they emanate. I can feel tension and anxiety from others intensely; I also can tell when someone is being completely fake. I haven’t called out many people on their harmful intentions, I just take solace in knowing what I know and steer clear.

When I can’t read someone, like my stepmother-in-law for instance, it bugs me. I can’t seem to get into her head at all – sometimes I wonder if she’s even a person. Maybe she’s a robot? My senses get thrown off when I’m with her. She’s either one of the kindest people ever or a low lying vindictive bitch. I just can’t decide and I don’t like it. Being in the dark regarding others’ true intentions makes me very uncomfortable.

In a nutshell, I’m an introverted, intuitive, sensitive, and perceptive gal. I’ve heard of people I knew throughout my childhood commenting on how much I’ve come out of my shell over the years. I have gained confidence in myself and supplement my personal growth with therapy and appropriate medication for the anxiety I often experience. Now I’m curious as to whether the majority of INFP personalities are also afflicted with extreme anxiety and/or depression? Hmm…something else for me to research while I have quiet time!

Love, Maggie

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