The power of acknowledgment for INFJs
Does celebrating yourself, or your accomplishments, feel odd or uncomfortable? I previously wrote an article about how celebration is the missing piece for INFJs. If it makes you uncomfortable, I want to share a new skill that can help you move closer to the idea of celebrating what you've done.
Most INFJs are highly uncomfortable with praise, even if it's genuine.
Can I get really honest with you for a minute? While we are often uncomfortable when people praise us for things we’ve done, it also seems like we get uncomfortable when someone else celebrates, or praises, their own accomplishments. Are you like that, too? While not all INFJs are like this, I've witnessed it enough to know that it makes many of us uneasy—and it's not something we want to admit.
An Enneagram connection
From the survey responses from subscribers to The INFJ Life , I know that many of my readers (and often clients) are also Enneagram 4s. If you don't know your Enneagram type, or if you're not a 4, that's ok! Don't worry if that's not your type in the Enneagram system. There's no exact correlation between Enneagram and MBTI® types. I'm bringing up Enneagram 4, though, because the core "weakness" of 4s is envy. Whether we 4s would like to admit it or not, this can play a role in the way we feel when we hear someone praise themselves.
Regardless of whether an INFJ is an Enneagram 4 or not, there are many things that can contribute toward why INFJs feel the way they do in praising themselves. Feelings of low self-worth, perfectionism, or personal high expectations can make this self-celebration difficult. So I'd like to introduce you to an intermediate step: acknowledgment.
How to use acknowledgment as an INFJ
What's the difference in celebration (or praise) and acknowledgment? Generally speaking, we celebrate or praise things that people do. Acknowledgment is more about who a person is. They can exist hand in hand. For example:
"You did a great job on that presentation!" (Celebration/Praise)
"You really showed your commitment to the project in the presentation." (Acknowledgment)
"Your work is so inspiring." (Celebration/Praise)
"You took a big risk in sharing your work on a public platform. That took a lot of courage." (Acknowledgment x2)
Do you see the difference? The acknowledgment statements recognize commitment, willingness to take a risk, and courage. Those are examples of inner traits or strengths.
When it comes to acknowledging yourself (or others), you recognize the inner character traits or values that were honored. You shine a light on inner strengths.
How to acknowledge yourself
Answer the following questions to help you start acknowledging yourself right now:
1. How have you been brave in recent days, weeks, or months?
2. What are your values? Consider which actions you've taken recently that honored your values.
3. In which areas do you want to receive validation? What character strengths have you shown in those areas lately? The areas of your life in which you most desire to receive validation from others may be a clue to what you can acknowledge about yourself.
4. In what ways have you stepped out of your comfort zone and taken a risk?
If you're quick to dismiss these by thinking I haven't been brave, courageous, or taken a risk lately, spend a little more time in reflection. I know it's there! You can try asking a trusted friend or partner to help you identify these in your life as well. It can be really eye-opening when we hear what others have observed about us in these areas. Give it a try! It might open up a great conversation—or cause a few tears, but that's ok, too! In that same conversation, also take time to acknowledge examples of their inner character strengths.
And...a final note to the INFJ Enneagram 4s: If you do feel the twinges of envy when you hear someone praised (by themselves or others), take a moment to acknowledge that person. This can be done in your mind or out loud, depending on the situation. It can quickly turn your focus around!
If you want to share your acknowledgments with me, I'd love to hear them. Please share by commenting below.