...views may not neccessarily reflect...

What It Means to be an INFP or Being an INFP Is Easier Than INFPs Make It Out To Be - Part 2 (draft 1)

   Mon, March 13, 2006 - 1:36 AM
INFPs tend toward depression and it's not really a big mystery as to why.

It's about making choices and decisions. I think that's why INFPs who are extreme Ps are more depressed more often than INFPs who border J.

The first reason is that I don't think INFPs can define "happy" in measurable terms. Happiness is some vague ideal like Truth. It's the P part of us, that keeps changing our definitions of happy. You can't achieve a goal you can't define. However, I do feel that most INFPs grow out of that phase as they get older because we realize we're running out of time. Unfortunately, those goals tend to be unrealistic which starts effecting self-worth.

That's the 2nd reason for depression: self-worth issues. How does a person know his own worth? It's very simple.

Your worth is measured by how well and how often your actions match your values and your view of yourself.

INFPs spend so much time analyzing themselves that for the most part they know who they are as a person. Unfortunately, the doing is the hard part. Behavior doesn't match self-image. Some of it has to do with making choices which INFPs are loathe to do. Some of it has to do with society. Not everyone can be a famous novelist even though you might see yourself as one. Society is not a meritocracy.

I think INFPs have more of a need to feel special than any other personality type. We see ourselves as special and our behavior--9-5 McJob, worrying about the bills--doesn't really match or view of ourselves. So to compesate, we master obscure hobbies, read Baudrillard or travel to exotic locations because we need to be part of the select few.

Even more insidious, is that we create these convoluted belief systems to explain to ourselves why our place in the world is the way it is. However, reality is the House and the House always wins given the law of averages.

Life ends up being average in the long run because the big highs and the low lows take too much energy. So we end up with this lingering depression, like cough you can't shake even though you've gotten over your cold.

I wholeheartly believe that life has meaning and LOTS of it. I also believe that the ASSUMPTION that the life has meaning is a mistake.

Whether life has meaning is a belief. It's also a belief that only works if you consciously make a decision to believe it. Because the next step after belief is acting upon that belief.

All those random things that may be unjust, unfair...blah blah blah. Events in themselves have no meaning. It's the interpretation of events that bring meaning. If you've chosen to belief that life has meaning than the action is to interpret those events to give meaning to you. Otherwise, everything is random and you're screwed.

Look at it this way, any belief system has to be supported by the environment. I had a friend who's no longer a vegitarian because he climbed Kiliminjaro. He didn't have a life changing experience at the top. But in that part of Africa, he had a choice between chicken or starving. His environment did not support his belief in vegitarianism.

When you beliefs don't match your enviroment you have 1 of 3 choices:

1. Change your belief.
2. Change your environment; or
3. Suffer!

Unfortunately, beliefs about meaning relate to the enviroment known as "Life". You can't change your enviroment without dying so you have to change beliefs and act on those beliefs or suffer.

I think the number one belief about life and meaning that INFPs have that causes grief is this: INFPs think that they have to find meaning in their lives.

Meaning isn't something you find, it's something you choose.

Or so I've chosen to believe. I can't say I've ever regretted making that choice.



2 Comments

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Fri, July 8, 2011 - 7:24 AM
From a fellow INFP
"Look at it this way, any belief system has to be supported by the environment." then, "You can't change your enviroment without dying so you have to change beliefs and act on those beliefs or suffer." Respectfully, these seem to be mutually exclusive. In the first case you seem to be saying that the environment comes first, as it determines the belief system, whereas in the second, it looks like you're saying that changing beliefs is not only possible, but necessary. I'm probably misinterpreting this- that's a strength of mine. Please let me know if that's the case.

Some of what you say falls into line with the thought of my hero, Albert Camus. Until I found him I was more or less thrashing around looking for something with meaning. Camus' thought seems to be- "find your own meaning, no one else will find one that's suitable for you."

Anyway, your essay is a great piece of work (us INFP's are good writers, after all). I just discovered that this is my category. Thanks so much for helping me to understand it better.
Tue, July 12, 2011 - 9:00 PM
An enlightening post.
I guess we all think we deserve dining at life's table with a silver spoon but we have to remember we're all mundane people...

An enlightening post, it's something I'm trying to figure out myself. It's nice to hear from someone who, from the sound of it, has gotten out of the mire of anxieties INFP's face.

I for one, thank you.