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  1. #11
    Senior Member mochajava's Avatar
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    Sometimes you DO NOT want to show your true/vulnerable colors. Depends on your work environment. For example, I was part of a truly abusive work environment several years ago, and if I had shown signs of vulnerability or emotion (anger, crying) it would have been used against me for all it was worth. In that environment, being an INFJ was a huge liability. In other environments, this isn't true.

    Also - gender matters here. If you're male and you want to withdraw from time to time, that's fine. If you're female (as I suspect you, ASublett, are) then the world has even stronger expectations of you to be happy-go-lucky. There IS a lot of "pressure to perform" if you will. And it's good to be able to perform, but you have to step off the change and go out with your friends (that is, be yourself). So the right advice, in my opinion, isn't some no-holds-barred BE YOURSELF ALL PARTS OF YOU ALL THE TIME, but something more balanced -- thinking about what's situationally appropriate.

    Oh, and I VERY strongly identify with your original post, ASublett. And, in response to that, this INFJ forum and just processing my visceral reactions to things with the conscious knowledge that I am an INFJ is amazingly helpful. I can talk more about that if you'd like.

  2. #12
    Senor Membrane
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    Quote Originally Posted by mochajava View Post
    Sometimes you DO NOT want to show your true/vulnerable colors. Depends on your work environment. For example, I was part of a truly abusive work environment several years ago, and if I had shown signs of vulnerability or emotion (anger, crying) it would have been used against me for all it was worth. In that environment, being an INFJ was a huge liability. In other environments, this isn't true.
    I know what you mean, but I'd like to add that by not working there anymore you kinda show that the real you doesn't want to be in such an environment. The mask-free ideal is maybe something we need in the long run, and then there are some special situations when we definitely don't want to show our true colors. And they are the kind of conditions we try to get away from.

    Quote Originally Posted by mochajava View Post
    Also - gender matters here. If you're male and you want to withdraw from time to time, that's fine. If you're female (as I suspect you, ASublett, are) then the world has even stronger expectations of you to be happy-go-lucky.
    This, I haven't noticed. When I am working, there is no breaks but the lunch and the cigarette breaks. It isn't any more ok for me to disappear than for a woman.

    Quote Originally Posted by mochajava View Post
    There IS a lot of "pressure to perform" if you will.
    That is true. It seems like in any area women are expected to prove that they can do anything. In worst case they aren't even given the chance.

  3. #13
    Senior Member mochajava's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nolla View Post
    I know what you mean, but I'd like to add that by not working there anymore you kinda show that the real you doesn't want to be in such an environment. The mask-free ideal is maybe something we need in the long run, and then there are some special situations when we definitely don't want to show our true colors. And they are the kind of conditions we try to get away from.
    I wholeheartedly agree with you here -- my personal story reflects this as well. After that extremely hostile work environment, I resolved to find one that fit me, not the other way around.

    Quote Originally Posted by nolla View Post
    This, I haven't noticed. When I am working, there is no breaks but the lunch and the cigarette breaks. It isn't any more ok for me to disappear than for a woman.
    I didn't mean to physically disappear from work -- I meant more the types of emotions you show and your level of engagement. So "withdraw" meant acting withdrawn, not physically leaving...hope that makes sense?

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mochajava View Post
    I didn't mean to physically disappear from work -- I meant more the types of emotions you show and your level of engagement. So "withdraw" meant acting withdrawn, not physically leaving...hope that makes sense?
    Ah, I misinterpreted it. That's probably true, yeah. But it goes the other way around too. I've sometimes found that men are supposed to be "colder" in work environment. Sometimes expressing happiness can be seen negatively. Very rarely you are accepted to take the whole you to the work place.

  5. #15
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASublett View Post
    I have taken several personality tests within the past several months, just trying to get a clue about what sets me apart from people. I am always misunderstood. My type always ends up being "INFJ" and it describes me to a "T", but since it is so rare to be an INFJ, I wonder if I am wrong?
    you sound very much like an INFJ to me too. :] welcome fellow NF

    and congratulations on leaving your old job!

    it's just a thought, but maybe there could be ways how, even if you're feeling down, you could let your compassion for others show, but without you having to exert so much energy to be someone other than yourself? i was just thinking about how it's very difficult for me at work to keep up the desired facade of a J, so i've made myself organization systems that are very easy for me and cater to my personality so that i can kind of make up for not being quite so organized naturally, and let my P strengths play out otherwise. perhaps just simple gestures like bringing the staff bagels one morning or leaving a friendly post-it on someone's desk can show your warmth, without you having to work too much to alter yourself in person? i can imagine it being very difficult to change a long-held facade, but maybe something like this could help you lighten the burden of it at least a bit.

    and, at least personally, i enjoy having a mix of personalities in the workplace. it'd drive me nuts if everyone was bright shiny rainbows too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Intricate Mystic View Post
    I think that certain personality types, in particular, prefer us INFJ's putting on a happy face all of the time. For example, my ENFP mom tends to get impatient with my seriousness after awhile and wants me to be lighthearted like her. If I were lighthearted like her most of the time, however, I have no doubt she would get annoyed at me for being vapid, because she respects my depth, complexity, and intelligence
    haha, i can understand this.

    i would never prefer someone to put on a happy face if it was hurting them inside, but to an ENFP, someone being very serious most of the time suggests in our world that something is wrong. it's not that we don't contemplate the serious side of life too - we often do - but to me i can be reading about nepalese death ritual (which i am doing right now actually) one minute and getting into a water balloon fight the next, and it's not at all contradictory to me. i think our baseline is also just much "lighter" than that of many others. many of us also seem to work on a basis of "you have my trust unless you give me a reason to take it back", so it's harder to understand why many INFJs and other types need us to earn their trust before letting us in - that can seem cold to us, even though i understand that is not usually the intention.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sailboat View Post
    happy and singing, spinning in circles, with rainbows shooting out of our eyeballs.
    ENFP heaven!!!11eleven (this was initially intended to be sarcastic, but sadly, it's really not...)

  6. #16
    likes this gromit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASublett View Post
    I am 24 and have been "soul searching" for years. It seems to be a never ending quest - I never understand myself - why I feel how I feel or think what I think, and no one else seems to "get" me either.
    Self-discovery might just be a lifelong process. I think it's great to be introspective, but I sometimes need to be careful to not let it get in the way of living (and vice versa). There's seems to be a goldilocks balance that's difficult to strike between overthinking things and not giving them enough mental/emotional attention.

    Quote Originally Posted by ASublett View Post
    This Thursday will mark my last day at a job that I hate - loathe is a better word. My husband and I have decided to make a fresh start in a new place - and part of my journey will be learning who I truly am.
    I sometimes find myself resisting changes like that, but then when they come, it really is great to have a fresh start and it helps me to have new perspective on things. Good luck on the life changes.

    Sounds like you have a supportive partner too, that's great.
    Your kisses, sweeter than honey. But guess what, so is my money.

  7. #17
    meinmeinmein! mmhmm's Avatar
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    i meditate so i can listen to myself.
    to focus. to face things that are easily
    pushed aside.

    it's easy to change the external.
    the internal, like any change,
    needs to be discovered also.
    every normal man must be tempted, at times,
    to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag,
    and begin slitting throats.
    h.l. mencken

  8. #18
    Senior Member mochajava's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nolla View Post
    Ah, I misinterpreted it. That's probably true, yeah. But it goes the other way around too. I've sometimes found that men are supposed to be "colder" in work environment. Sometimes expressing happiness can be seen negatively. Very rarely you are accepted to take the whole you to the work place.
    That's a very good point -- men are under a lot of pressure to act/seem certain ways.

  9. #19
    Senior Member Nonsensical's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmhmm View Post
    i meditate so i can listen to myself.
    to focus. to face things that are easily
    pushed aside.

    it's easy to change the external.
    the internal, like any change,
    needs to be discovered also.
    and sometimes the only way to change the external is through changing the internal
    Is it that by its indefiniteness it shadows forth the heartless voids and immensities of the universe, and thus stabs us from behind with the thought of annihilation, when beholding the white depths of the milky way?

  10. #20
    Member kccrush's Avatar
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    I'm 37 now, but remember when I was your age and struggled tremendously with how to be fun and happy all the time with people who expected that side of me. I think as you grow older, and as you're challenged with different experiences in your life, you stretch your sense of self and you discover truly deep reservoirs of strength. I have used these discoveries of strength within myself to mark a path of self-discovery. I'm sure it never ends, and man, to be honest, I don't ever want self-discovery to end. For me, self - improvement comes with self-discovery, and it's the most beautiful thing about life even though it's sometimes very painful. As an INFJ though, I'm grateful to be able to find meaning in the process of discovery. I don't think that other types are as gifted in this way, or have such perseverance in pursuing truth and self-knowledge.

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