Why are INFJs so hard on themselves?
The majority of INFJ women I work with are really hard on themselves. I mean really hard on themselves. This results in a lot of self-blame, guilt, and frustration. What about you?
Why do we do this? I'll get to this in just a minute...
As an INFJ, your "NF" cognitive function pair makes you an idealist. You share this with other NF types like ENFJ, INFP, and ENFP. It's important to note here that idealism is not the same as optimism. Idealism means that you pursue an ideal of something—an idea of perfection. You have high standards for the way you believe things could be. You see possibilities and potential in yourself and others. At your core, you need to have meaning and significance in what you do and who you are. You need a sense of purpose and must know that you're working toward some greater good. These things are so important that their absence can cause an NF type to slip into depression. This is idealism.
Optimism, on the other hand, is an attitude. An optimistic person believes that everything will work out for good. They see good in everything. Being optimistic is being hopeful and having a positive attitude about things. As you can see, idealism and optimism are not mutually exclusive, but they are two very different things. You can be an idealist and not be an optimist. Make sense?
So being an idealist is a beautiful thing. It has allowed many people throughout history to accomplish amazing things. As I just shared, we seek perfectionism by our very nature. It's important to understand this because it's part of who you are. It's important to understand that your nature causes you to seek an idea of perfection. We must recognize and understand that this elusive quest can be responsible for our frustration. Perfection isn't possible, but it doesn't stop us from trying, does it? :-)
We seek something that we cannot grasp, but it's what motivates us to keep trying. To keep searching. In those moments when things aren't going as we'd planned, we beat ourselves up. When they take longer than expected, we beat ourselves up. When things just aren't as good as we know they can be...we beat ourselves up.
As a coach, I spend much of my time asking my clients empowering questions to help them make new discoveries about themselves and to gain insights into why they do the things they do. It helps them make more conscious choices in their lives. So, dear INFJ, I ask you to consider the following questions to gain some insight into how beating yourself up is helping or hurting you. When you find yourself in this cycle again, come back to these questions for a reality check.
7 Questions For Greater Self-Love
1. How does being so hard on yourself help you? Think about all areas of your life: social, mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual.
2. How does being so hard on yourself hurt you? Again, think about all areas of your life: social, mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual.
3. Which one has more impact on your life? #1 or #2?
4. What would you gain in your life if you took the time you spent beating yourself up and instead used it to review, celebrate, and plan your next steps?
5. How can you strive for the ideal, but also balance that with a reminder that "perfection" is a journey and not a destination?
6. How can you focus on the joy in the daily process of self-development?
7. How can you celebrate every step you take in the right direction?
Answering those questions thoroughly and truthfully will take some time. Resist the temptation to berate yourself for being so hard on yourself. :-) Don't wait to start being kind to yourself. You get to choose how you speak to yourself. Empowering words will act like fuel to get you where you want to go.
So my final question is: what will you say to yourself next time you're too hard on yourself?
I would sincerely like to hear your answer if you're willing to share. Comment below to share what you'd like to say to yourself. I'd love to support you!