How INFJs can value the present

INFJ enjoying the present.jpg

Do you ever struggle to find value in your current reality? Do you struggle to feel motivated unless you can anticipate something new? Are you more invested in future possibilities and what's to come rather than life as it is right now? If so, this is because you're built with a preference for intuition over sensing.

Your preference for intuition as an INFJ is indicated by the N in INFJ. While all types have the capacity for intuition, it's the eight types with a preference for intuition (an N in their type) that are referred to as "intuitives." Those who prefer intuition are said to be about 30% of the population (as compared to 70% who prefer sensing).

Your preference for intuition means...

  • you're more interested in what's behind the curtain than what's immediately observable in front of the curtain.

  • you're less concerned with the practical matters of life right now than with what's coming and what could be.

  • you’re less concerned with how things have been in the past (or how they are now) than on the possibility of the future.

Needless to say, your intuitive preferences mean you may find yourself placing little value on your present reality. There's nothing good or bad about this. It's not right or wrong. It's just a fact related to the way your mind is naturally wired. Any shame placed on this most likely comes from the majority's (and therefore society's) overall preference for sensing—an interest in information that is concrete, observable, and related to life as it is right now.

While there's nothing wrong with your preference for the future, there's also nothing wrong with a preference for the present (as exhibited by those who prefer sensing). The truth is that all types need to consider the present reality and the potential of the future. For INFJs and other intuitive types, ignoring the present can lead to perpetual dissatisfaction with their current circumstances and a longing for something that doesn't exist.

Even if the scales are tipped toward the future for us as INFJs, the present still holds value for us. Identifying and acknowledging this value can provide fuel to keep going toward the future we prefer. So how can INFJs find this value?

3 ways INFJs can find value in the present

1. Meditation and/or prayer

Meditation and prayer can mean different things to different people. There's no right way to do either. Meditation doesn't have to mean sitting on a pillow and connecting your index fingers and thumbs. Prayer doesn't have to follow a ritual or have your hands clasped together. You don't even have to close your eyes (gasp!), although, I do find that last one helpful. If you're new or returning to meditation, you might try an app such as Calm or Headspace. If you're new or returning to prayer, you might try starting with praise and thankfulness for the one you serve.

2. Gratitude

As with #1, there's no right way to do gratitude. Expressing gratitude allows you to pause and observe your surroundings—literally or figuratively. Spending time on gratitude allows you to breathe deeply and take note of what's right in your life instead of what's wrong or missing. My friend Sara (@bebravenotperfect on IG and has had a practice of identifying three things she's grateful for at the end of each day, even in times of grief. You can do this by setting a timer for yourself or using a journal (like the 5-Minute Journal - see it on my bookshelf). Try pairing your gratitude with another activity that you already do, like eating a meal or going to bed.

3. Reflection + Acknowledgment

Reflection and acknowledgment can be done through the first two options, too. I've listed it separately to recognize the value of planning time in your schedule to simply reflect and acknowledge your past achievements. This experience illustrates how far you've come and that you've made progress, even when you feel like you haven't. Give yourself credit where credit is due. If you find this difficult, enlist a friend or partner to help and encourage you to consider all that you've done whether or not you think it's "enough." Try scheduling this time at the end of a week (or beginning of the next week). You can also schedule this time as a month or year in review. Once you schedule it, don't skip it! Give yourself time to try it out, no matter how uncomfortable it feels.

Take Action:

Finding value in the present is not about becoming something you're not or changing your natural preferences. Placing value on your current reality is about giving you a fuller and more balanced life experience. The ideas above are meant to help you when you feel frustration with "not yet," or you feel disillusioned with your own progress toward your vision.

Pick one idea above (or come up with your own) to consider the value of life as it is now. Try spending just 5-10 minutes on it. If you start to feel bored or stifled by the ritual of doing the same thing, try a new idea for awhile. Trying something new is not a failure. It's a way to work with how you're wired while also continuing to serve your bigger "why" of finding value in the present and experiencing a bit more satisfaction for where you are right now.