How to Manage Your High INFJ Expectations

(This is part 3 of a 5-part series on being a healthy INFJ for the month of May (Mental Health Awareness Month). Start with part 1 here.

I don't care what you think and I don't trust what you say.

Wow. That was pretty direct, huh? Although I would never utter those words out loud, the way I respond to compliments or praise often demonstrates that inner belief. "I love your hair!" someone might say. My response is, "Oh, well, it's kind of wild today...and it's been like six months since I've had a haircut, so I kind of need one...but, oh, thank you."

Hmm. Do you ever find yourself responding that way?

Can't take a compliment?

What about...

"Oh my goodness, (insert your name), you were amazing!"

Do you respond with everything you did wrong, where you missed the mark, and what you should've done better? This person giving the compliment must be overlooking the massive amount of mistakes you made because how else could they think you were amazing?!?

Sound familiar? Uh-huh. Thought so.

We think they're not seeing the whole truth, so our response is, "I don't care what you think and I don't trust what you say."

Ouch. We're INFJs! We don't say that! Although we'd never say that out loud, our rejection of praise reveals this belief. We know the truth and we're willing to be honest about where we need to improve. We have no time for suggestions that we've reached the finish line. We're never finished improving.

Well, today, I want to talk to you about your extremely high expectations of yourself.

Do you want to find more joy in your day to day?

First, you need to come to terms with the fact that you're expecting too much from yourself. 

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you frequently engage in negative self-talk?
  • Are you often disappointed with yourself?
  • Do you have difficulty accepting praise or celebrating accomplishments?
  • Do you judge your new beginnings by someone else’s middle or ending?
  • Do you continually try to please others?

If you said yes to many or most of these questions, I guarantee you're expecting too much from yourself. Now, I’m not suggesting that you stop expecting anything from yourself. I know that’s not even possible for people like you and me. But guess what?

More joy comes from managing your expectations.

Ok, great. But how the heck do you do that? I’m glad you asked. You know I have a few ideas!

  • Remind yourself daily that you’re enough, no matter what you accomplish that day. You don’t need to add anything or do anything to be more worthy than you are right now. It's true!
  • Remember and celebrate your accomplishments*. Try a daily journal, or an end-of-the-week review. “Celebrating” can be as simple as smiling at all you’ve actually accomplished, rather than focusing on what you haven’t accomplished. Or, celebrate big! It’s up to you.
  • Give yourself the freedom to have an “off” day. Whether it’s illness, hormones, or a fight with a friend, we all have days when we feel like poo. Recognize it, and give yourself permission to take it easy. Or, do something totally out of character—like sit on the couch all day and watch This is Us. Here’s a little secret. You don’t even need a reason to take a day to do nothing! What?!? Radical idea.
  • Celebrate, don't compare. When you start comparing yourself to others, stop focusing on yourself. Instead, celebrate the other person. 
  • Don't forget the backstory. When it comes to other people's accomplishments, there are always struggles and hard work that you can’t see. 
  • Look at mistakes as learning opportunities. Expect them, so they won’t take you by surprise. When they do happen, go into discovery mode. What went right? What happened with things that didn't go right? What can you learn? How can you put it behind you and move on?
  • Practice saying thank you to praise and compliments. And mean it. Value the other person's opinion and perspective.
  • Evaluate your expectations. Take a look at the expectations you have for yourself right now. Are they based on your own desires, interests, and values? Or, are they based on what someone else wants and motivated by a desire to please someone? Release the expectations you’ve placed on yourself to please others.

Managing your high expectations will lead to more joy and contentment in your life. You'll see how much you have done and how wonderful you already are!

I know this is difficult, but it’s possible! We can do it.

Continue the series with part 4 »