Andrea writes on various topics from dating, couples, astrology, weddings, interior design, and gardens. She studied film and writing.
Introduction: INFJ's Sensing Function
All 16 of the Myers-Briggs personalities have glitch spots that are related to their inferior function. The INFJ struggles with their extroverted sensing. This will develop as an INFJ ages, but they may find situations in physical reality challenging. Think of it this way: Each of the functions is used for rationalizing. Emotional rationalizing has to do with understanding the emotional atmosphere in a room. Emotional people can take into account how other people feel in order to solve a problem or come to a decision. Thinkers use logic — they look at base information without being as persuaded by emotion. Intuitives use abstract information and patterns to come to conclusions. . . while sensors use grounded, practical information.
INFJ types are often in their heads. They are first guided by introverted intuition and then extroverted feeling. They’re converting ideas from the earthly to the heavenly, over and over, and over, and over, and over… you hopefully get the idea.
This is the personality type that understands things better when they’re able to attach it to a theory, metaphor, religion, or abstract concept. They don’t always do well to mix their brains with their bodies. They’ll end up crashing into tables, walking into walls, or forgetting they have something cooking. They don’t mean to be a danger to themselves, but sometimes their thoughts cloud over them and can make them stubborn.
They can step into an imaginative world where they can feel and understand things, and sometimes it seems more real and important than daily chores, which may cause them to tire easily. Chores slow an INFJ down and can be a battle of wills — wanting things to be clean while also having spontaneous and creative thoughts. For their cousin, the INFP, this battle is even more dramatic as they don’t care as much about their surroundings, and they get windswept by extroverted feeling.
Improving Your Extroverted Sensing
There are ways to improve extroverted sensing. It will take some intention on the part of the INFJ to grow their sensing function. INFJ doesn’t immediately think of their physical surroundings. They’re more suited to think up creative ideas about bounding in spaceships, riding unicorns, existentialism, toppling evil, and mastering calculus.
Ways You Can Improve Your Sensory Function
- Practice sitting in your room and thinking about how the objects in your room feel. Look at the wall and consider the texture, temperature, and distance. Then look at something else and think of how things actually feel. Repeat doing this for about 20 minutes without thinking of anything else. Dominant extroverted sensing personalities constantly feel their surroundings — the INFJ has buried this part of themselves.
- Take up classes that require your kinesthetic skills — pottery, dancing, cooking, yoga, or gardening.
- Spend 20 minutes a day cleaning, throwing stuff away, etc.
- Practice writing about the five senses.
- Spend time outside.
- Go for a walk. Organize your spice cabinet.
- Try coloring in a coloring book.
- Handwrite letters.
- Play a musical instrument.
The sensory function works in conjunction with the intuition function. By helping your sensing function gain information, your intuition will naturally get stronger. Make sure to stay healthy and consider how your body feels. The INFJ needs plenty of sleep because lots of times the right answer comes from a good night of rest where the INFJ can unwind and relax from all the day’s worries.
Consider What You Have in Stock
INFJs are much needed on this planet. They usually are compassionate and smart. They’re natural problem solvers and motivate others.
It might at first seem irritating to try and be more grounded rather than take off with your more than airy thoughts. But don’t deny your practical side. Find ways to clean, manage money, and care about the things you usually forget — like eating consistently. If you take care of your money better, you’ll be more generous. You’ll consider how you can donate to charity, what really matters in the world of purchases, and how you might be blowing your money on pointless drivel. You can manage money well, and by getting more in tune with your sensory function, you might see where you are materialistic.
Odds are you have too much stuff that you can cut down on — clothes, food in the pantry, piles of books. Try limiting this down and giving some of it away rather than surrounding yourself with clutter.
Get confident. A confident INFJ is more likely to be grounded than an INFJ who doesn’t believe in themself. By seeing yourself as confident, you’ll take on your goals with much greater force, which will naturally help you to develop your sensory function. So, find ways to cut negativity out of your life. Don’t let people who bring you down be too close to you. Find people who genuinely like you and see you for who you are and consider how you can open up to these people about your problems.
Take out all the negativity. Don’t keep things you don’t need anymore that bring you down — like gifts from your ex. Encourage yourself, and don’t be too hard on yourself. You are growing, not shrinking.
Having a greater understanding of your sensory function will help you to slow down your mind and process your thoughts. This will help you to better organize yourself — and you’ll also have better conversations with more people. The pool of intuitive people is much smaller than the sensors. Sensors also have a much harder time learning intuition than vice versa. It’s not easy, but you can slow down your quick-sharp metaphorical mind and learn how to be more baseline. Sensors have a harder time contextualizing metaphorical language, but you can learn to see things as they are rather than their possibilities.
Be patient with sensors in conversation. They like to dwell on the details — you tend not to like that and prefer overall patterns. To a sensor, it’s confusing how you jump from topic to topic with little to any connection. A sensor needs details to make sense of things. Especially, SJ personalities. It may be taxing to you, but let them get the interaction they need. In turn, it will help you to understand what gaps in conversation you might be creating.
Sleep is Your Best Friend
Go to sleep. If your mind is busy and you can’t solve something, put it to the side and come back to it the next day or a week from now — or give it even more time. Definitely come back with the intention of completing it, but sometimes how an INFJ comes to a conclusion, is by stepping away from what they focus on. Instead, surround yourself with other ideas that might spark something new and fresh.
Here’s a metaphor for you: In the game of Zelda, sometimes the main plot doesn’t make sense and you find yourself running into a wall. After pursuing a few mini-games, you suddenly find yourself solving the main plot anyway. Don’t focus too much on one object, walk all around it and gain perspective. Staring something down doesn’t always help bring about the answer.
INFJ and INTJ are personalities that can solve problems in their sleep. For whatever reason, it helps unglue and process the data that in your waking life doesn’t click. Don’t forgo studying and gaining information, you have to do that before hitting the snooze button.
Adore Your Calm Self
Practice being calm. Underneath the cool exterior of the INFJ is a madhouse of emotions, thoughts, and creativity, and you are fully aware of this. It’s difficult for what’s inside to be fully shown to the world because it doesn’t really fit most settings. . . and isn’t entirely tangible. You can hone in and use those abilities by being an expert on what is calm. Don’t deny this because it’ll help you, in the long run, to streamline your thoughts, slow your thoughts down, and get answers out more precisely. . . in fact, more precisely than, perhaps, Google.
© 2015 Andrea Lawrence