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5 Insightful Dilemmas Of The Obscure INFJs

5 Insightful Dilemmas Of The Obscure INFJs

Every year 2 million people take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to recognize their personalities out of the 16 different types. Created by Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother, Katharine Cook Briggs — where they were influenced by the Swiss Psychiatrist Carl Jung’s 1921 book Psychological Types — MBTI has been criticized for its validity of the test and the scientific evidence to support the studies.

Although it has divided many experts on the value of the test, MBTI has made its way in to fortune 500 companies, government agencies and to universities. Addition to this popularity, many are being registered as a MBTI practitioner to administrate the assessment where the MBTI industry became an imposing multi million dollar business.

Setting aside the debated issue, the test as mentioned produces 16 types. Out of all the 16 types, only one makes up less than two percent of the world, the INFJ: Introversion (I), Intuition (N), Feeling (F), Judging (J).

INFJ personality types are widely known as the counselor or the advocate. They pour out their hidden feelings behind closed doors to salvage anything deemed worthy. Their rarity might be attention worthy and attractive, instead they endure the silent suffering. Their solitude is perceived as a barrier, their behaviors are too erratic, their creativity is peculiar and their thoughts are misunderstood.

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Whether you are an INFJ or know someone of this type, here are the five fine points to keep in mind of the INFJs and their struggles within the harsh reality.

1. They are the silent contributors

INFJs live in a world of solitude. Group discussions and activities are their weakness for they are the introverts of the introverts. INFJs are complicated indeed, but do not resemble them as a mere statue in a room. Instead perceive them as a perceptive think-tank ready to explode with ideas which you will thank them later for their perspicacity.

INFJs love to contribute and strive for moral value for the benefit of everyone. But their process of taking information is based on their intuition and to make it more complicated they are structured to formulate a decision in an orderly process.

INFJs are sensitive individuals and they do not want to offend others since they naturally empathize with pain and woes. INFJs need time to think and whatever they have to say must be full of meaning with realms of viable discussions. If you need insightful opinions, listen to the INFJ, and prepare for waves of information and question nobody else bothered to ask.

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2. “Leaders are supposed to be outspoken and articulate. Sorry INFJs” – Non INFJs

INFJs prefer to be behind the group, but a leadership role is a dream they hope. However in reality they hesitate to bluntly seize the opportunity. They are weary of criticisms and are drowned in the thoughts of self-doubt. INFJs have reverence for roles with responsibilities and they are shrewd on what depicts a good leader, which is why they think twice before accepting such position. However in a society where leaders are perceived as extroverts, INFJs are immediately shelved.

Do not fool yourself because INFJs make inspiring leaders. It’s no surprise many careers linked to INFJs are clergy work, art, writing, entrepreneurship and counseling. The natural inclination toward human emotions and the ability to sincerely listen makes them aware and skilled at gently touching the human affection.

3. They want to achieve the impossible: Creativity and Originality of INFJs

Their spoken words can be extremely persuasive and their ideas are all about hitting the blue ocean strategy. Because of their natural inclination to connect symbols, meanings, events and feelings, it can be an eye opener when they offer ideas. INFJs think before they speak, although their ideas may be latent, they lay out their ideas to build upon. Their visions are their expressions, but when it gets touched or misinterpreted they can sometimes present precipitous manner or be defensive.

Often times their ideas are too idealistic or highly unlikely to make a product of their vision. For INFJs, ideas are carried by emotions, for others pragmatism carries ideas. this is what irritates the INFJs. In their minds they have mapped out many situation and scenarios, but when it get rejected by someone without much thought, INFJs will record this individual negatively in their books. Anything is possible because they have imagined it with probable reactions and emotions in direct relations to their ideas. All it needs is to get it done, but there’s the common saying, “It’s easier said than done.” Which an INFJ might respond, “It’s easier if you know how to think.”

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4. They are serious for True Love, but too Serious for 21st Century Love

With media portraying casual flings or straight to bed scene transitions, the pervasive casual dating to love has left INFJs bitter and dazed.Although considered as introverts, they are often seen as extroverts, affable to connect and build rapport.. However the ultimate goal of an INFJ in a relationship is exploring their partner’s potentials and interest. Unfortunately this serious exploring can be seen too serious for others.

INFJs will invest everything they have into a healthy relationship, assuming they find the perfect mate, but if for some reason their loved ones leave the relationship, it is as if detaching a part of their soul. Losing a partner is one less person they will be able to help which is a problem. INFJs always seek improvement and change which might come off finicky and an invasion of privacy. But this is all done with good intentions.

5. “Your standards are low. Bring it up.” – INFJ

An INFJ would not say this directly, but if there were a device to listen to inner feelings, an INFJ’s mind can be terribly shocking and crude. They believe in perfection, dedication, passion, altruism, conviction and are high achievers in their life and goals. Shortcuts are perceived as a virus and they will pursue their goals with ambition and zeal.

Some say work harder, others say work smarter. INFJs will say work harder and smarter. This mentality culminates to physical and mental burnout, but only to come back again to the same routine. Close individuals admire the ethics of INFJs, but they have a hard time understanding the cause and reasons for working endlessly. A perfect world for an INFJ is to have everyone be like them. INFJs believe anything is possible if thoughtfully done with strong passion and if someone is incapable, INFJs will scrape into that person’s intrinsic motivation and values. Their erratic lifestyles pursue greatness instead of self-indulgences. They will test you and tear you apart just so you can be stronger.

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Think of INFJs as an upside down pyramid. They are willing to accept meaningful burden if it leads to harmony and improvement. They indeed are complex and unpredictable, but they are out there with a yen to make a difference, silently and impatiently.

Featured photo credit: Jason Taellious via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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