Sunday, 23 October 2016

Affirmation, Validation, Understanding

These days I am very much an internet lurker.  Yes, I am making a bit of an effort to have a presence on FB and I am still writing on my blog, but in most ways I just lurk.  I read but rarely comment.  People talk about taking breaks but I feel as though my break is taking forever.  Perhaps I was trying to be someone I am not.  That wouldn't surprise me, really.  I always feel I owe other people more than I can give, particularly in terms of my attention.  Learning to be selfish is difficult and I constantly worry about people understanding that I still value them, support them and and grateful for their existence.  There are a few very needy people in my life and I give as much of myself as I can, while still remembering that my self care is important.  It's possible I am an extreme example but I think women are quite familiar with the idea that they need to be all things at all times.  Even the most exuberant, outgoing, extroverted women I know are running themselves to exhaustion being and doing all things.  Whatever our maximum capacity is we try to do more, believe we should do more.  Learning that we are enough just as we are is difficult and I really believe that if women can and should help and support each other in something that should be it.

In my life I've learned that some people need more affirmation than others and I've also learned not to judge that.  We have our different needs just as we eat different amounts of food or get a different number of sleep hours.  I've also learned, through studying MBTI, that there are variations on this need to know we are somehow making our way through this world in the way that we hope to.  I have an ISFJ mother who needs no affirmation, not validation, no understanding from anyhow.  She is a self contained unit.  She is certain of her direction.  She makes her decisions based on her experiences and on what has wored before.  She is solidly S where I am N.  I don't see validation, but I do seek understanding.  I long to be understood as much as I long to understand everything.  It's a subtle difference to an observer, but it manifests in that I am constantly explaining myself as though I am some sort of mathematical equation that I need to teach you, and as though I think my world will fall apart if you do not understand me.  At the same time, growth and maturity has taught me that many people will not understand, but will accept.  They don't want to understand or don't see value in it.  It doesn't mean they don't care about me, so I've learned to accept their acceptance.

An INFJ dives deeply; it is a need and I think that is why the tendency to also try to spread widely makes life so exhausting.  I am caught between the constant pull of my own desire and need to go deep but the belief that I owe it to the world to spread widely.  The cure is to tell myself not to be such an egotistical idiot and think everyone needs me or even wants me.  I was  much more judgemental person in my youth and I confess I saw many people as shallow.  I now know there are other ways to look at it.  For one thing, I adore shallow water.  There is nothing so soothing to me as wading in it, dangling my toes in it, looking through it to see the pretty things underneath.  Deep water scares me.  It is dark and murky and who knows what slimy things lurk there.  Also, I am sure we need those wide spreaders in the world.  Lots of them.  Not so many navel gazers such as myself.

In my life I have a beloved INFP and an ENFP.  The NFPs want validation, more than understanding.  On the surface it can look similar though Es are extroverted so it will show more.  The Es are doers, making the world a better place actively and their Facebook feed will show it.  They want to make the world a better place and I think they are hoping to lead by example.  I think it would be easy to dismiss it as bragging when it isn't.  INFPs are more reserved, they go inward much more but the surest way to hurt them is to not give them credit for knowing what they are doing, for clearly charting their own path and having very firm notions about right and wrong.  NFPs can appear very flighty and scattered.  It makes them both adorable and annoying at times if you cannot see past that.

 I mentioned my mother, the ISFJ and oh what a saint that woman is.  SFJs do make up a large portion of the population though they seem less interested in the internet so there is a good chance few of them are reading this.   ( I amuse myself with my humour, if nobody else. )   SFJs are nurturing, caretaker types who tend to be very down to earth and practical.  They care deeply about the well being of others and are the stereotypical wonderful mother, though they can be male too.  Because the SFJ trait of strong nurturing is considered so female in our culture, the SFJ male is said to often present as hyper- masculine.  That guy who seems too good to be true, who is manly and muscular but such a sweetheart and a great husband and father, is quite possibly an SFJ.

We have to be cautions of the stereotypes that can grow out of MBTI concepts but I have found learning about it remarkably useful as a tool to better understand myself and others and how we relate.  For me it's not enough to just say oh we are all different-let's celebrate.  I want to know why and understand how.  You guessed it-that's INFJ for you.

This is what a navel-gazing, poet looks like when she gazes out the window so she can attempt to show how clever she is by wearing two earrings in the same hole.

looking tired and dazed....can't seem to remember to smile for selfies.

My partner said, 'I thought you were going to take a photo smiling.'

So, I gave it my best effort on a different day.  It's true, that this is much more representative of how I usually look, or at least when I am not exhausted.  So, there.  Now you understand.

Poems coming soon.  No selfies.


  1. Lovely selfies and lovely discoveries. You know I don't especially like categorizing, though I can see how it is helpful, and it probably was helpful to me in some situations in the past. But for one, categories are never really exact. So it gets confusing. If I am definitely more intuitive than analytical (though I have pretty good analytical side too), I can never say that I am more introvert than extrovert... I am both equally, a poet and philosopher as much as a doer. But sometimes different sides of us open up in different areas of life. We can be doers in art and philosophers in housekeeping. :)))

    Sending you love and hugses!!

    1. LOL-you will definitely be something ending in P because the Ps don't like to be pinned down to a plan or set of rules. Also, in MBTI the I and E don't necessarily mean introvert as in home body and extrovert as in people-person. They mean whether your first and preferred way of thinking is inwardly directed or outwardly. We all use inwardly directed and outwardly directed cognitive functions but we have an order of preference for them. :-) As we mature we develop all the functions and hopefully use them well while still having preferences or default ways. I am quite a bit like you and I still think you are an INFP like my son. ;-)

  2. Myers-Briggs drives me mad! I can never work out my answers well enough. I'm sure that tells a lot about me right there.
    One thing we have in common is our desire to dive deep as opposed to shallow, and yet our conviction that we are expected to spread ourselves wide leads to our exhaustion! Yes, oh yes! I am currently, once again, reducing my blog roll because I hate missing out on posts. I'm NOT a skimmer.
    Do I even want to follow people regularly? Maybe one or two?
    I love the anonymity and lack of expectations of a stumbled upon blog!
    Xo Jazzy Jack


I love visitors and I love comments. I will try my best to respond to everyone! Thanks for stopping by.