It's ok to feel all the things
When you see a close friend or loved one hurting, what's your first instinct? As an INFJ, you have a high level of empathy built in. Although that's a beautiful thing, it can also be incredibly draining. This might make you avoid situations that you know will be full of emotion and various levels of energy. This especially applies to situations with lots of people, or with people who come to you for support.
Do you ever find yourself wanting to make it all better for your loved one? You know they're hurting because you feel it, too. Do you ever find it easier to try and make it go away for them because you want to take their pain (and thus your pain) away?
I confess that I've been guilty of wanting to make it all better on more than one occasion. As I've learned more about my personality type, I realize this is a defense mechanism in some respects. It also helped me discover my discomfort with my own emotions.
It took me a really long time to begin to accept, and not judge, my emotions and feelings. I'd get sad about something and then berate myself for getting upset about something so "silly." I'd get angry or frustrated at something (usually to do with myself) and then get mad about being angry. At times I even felt embarrassed for showing a display of happiness! Sigh.
Do you ever do this? Do you find yourself apologizing to others for the slightest display of emotion? You cry while telling your friend something and then say, "I'm sorry I'm crying. I don't know why I'm so upset. I'm ok...really." Do you feel bad for feeling bad? As women, we're already conditioned to apologize for our feelings and behaviors.
So when others showed emotion that made me uncomfortable, I immediately wanted to make it go away. This was not the only reason for my instinct, but it was a pretty big part. Another reason I've done this is because I genuinely want to help others. As an INFJ, I'm guessing you feel the same way. I hate seeing others hurt. It (literally) pains me to hear of their pain. This is part of our empathetic INFJ nature.
What if you could accept that all feelings are valid? Everything. All the things. The ups, downs, highs, lows...it's all a product of how you perceive your world. Your perception is your own unique lens for viewing the world based on a gazillion factors.
If you're in the habit of judging your own emotions, I want to tell you right now that everything you feel is valid. It's ok! It's ok to feel angry, hurt, sad, frustrated, happy, and disappointed.
What if you started giving yourself space for your emotions without judgment? If you find yourself starting to apologize, recognize that and break the habit. A lot of women tend to over apologize. It's like we feel the need to apologize for our existence! Breaking myself of the habit of saying "I'm sorry" took a lot of practice...and I still slip up from time to time. But, I'm not judging it! :)
Once you're more comfortable with your own emotions and feelings, you can stop trying to fix it for others. Simply be there for them. Hear them. Care for them. Show them that they matter, and their feelings matter.
How do you respond when your loved ones are hurting? If you'd like to share, leave a comment below.
Take care, my INFJ friend.