One of the things I loved as a kid was rearranging my bedroom. I can't recall how frequently I rearranged, but every few months I'd get this sudden urge.
I loved the feeling of a fresh start with each new arrangement. As I rearranged, I would also clean and organize things as I put them in their new spot. Afterwards, I'd stand at the door of my room and gaze at my new area. I'd smile and let out a long sigh. Ahhhhh. Now I can focus. Did you ever do this?
To this day, I still get that sudden urge to straighten or organize things when my mind feels cluttered. When I'm feeling stressed, my tolerance for a messy environment decreases. Does this happen to you?
How is this related to being INFJ?
Little did I know back then, but this need to organize and straighten my outer environment is related to the J in INFJ.
The letter J or P at the end of each MBTI type describes your outward preference when it comes to planning and structure. It's what the world sees. Yes, you're an introvert. But we all extravert some behaviors. It's what happens outside of you.
The J or P is determined by what you "extravert."
If you "extraverted" when taking in information (called perceiving in MBTI), you'd be a P.
Since you extravert when you're making decisions (called judging in MBTI), you're a J.
You make decisions (judge) in the world based on extraverted feeling (Fe). This happens outside of you and is generally concerned with group harmony. In other words, you do your interacting with the world when you make decisions. You are a J. INFJ.
(Side note: You take in information—perceive—using the introverted function of introverted intuition/Ni. This happens inside you.)
On the outside, you're seen as...
...someone who prefers a little (or a lot, depending on who you are) more structure in your outer world.
...someone who likes things more decided rather than open-ended.
...someone who like things more organized*.
...someone who likes decisions to be more settled. Determined. Final.
You can change your mind and you can go with the flow. It's not comfortable and it might take awhile for you to be ok with a change in plans.
But, because you lead with a perceiving cognitive function (your introverted intuition/Ni), you might be more curious and open-ended internally than you appear on the outside. You get the J label, though, because of what you show the outer world. I don't know about you but I find this stuff so fascinating! (insert nerd glasses emoji here) To read more about the J/P label, you can read here and here.
Why is a chaos-free environment so important for you?
As an INFJ, an organized outer environment allows your internal perceiving function to work smoothly. That's your intuition! Maintaining this structure can help your mind be more peaceful and free. Your brain will be able to recognize patterns and make those intuitive connections. This "ah-ha" moment also helped me be more aware of when I'm feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Here's why:
When you feel inner turmoil, you may feel an urgent need to organize your outer environment. This is often where a sudden burst of cleaning or organizing comes from. Once you organize your environment, your mind can start to settle and feel more organized.
When I have trouble focusing, sometimes clearing my desk is all it takes to regain focus. Just for kicks, here's the current situation of my desk:
Not too bad, right? If things get a little stressful, you can bet that pile on the right side will have to go bye-bye. :)
How can you decrease chaos in your home, work, or car?
What's one thing you've learned about being an INFJ that has changed your life? How/when did you learn that?
Do you find yourself with sudden desires to organize when under stress? Comment below to share.
* As with everything I write about related to INFJs, if you aren't an "organized person," that doesn't mean you aren't an INFJ. We're all different and our personality traits can manifest in different ways.