I fell into a pit this past year. It was dark, desolate, and seemingly impossible to climb out. Visions of what could be taunted me, but the means to attain these goals were just out of reach. Above, my dreams hovered, beckoning, but from afar. I was stuck.
What I wanted, more than anything, was to further my education, to continue my quest for self-betterment and, eventually, realization (something I’m learning that, as a continually-evolving INFJ, I’m never to fully actualize). As aforementioned, I have a fascination with the MBTI type indicator. I’ve taken a myriad of tests, and each time, I get the same result:
The article, “Portrait of an INFJ,” describes that
“INFJs are rarely at complete peace with themselves – there’s always something else they should be doing to improve themselves and the world around them. They believe in constant growth, and don’t often take time to revel in their accomplishments”
It’s true that, before, when I reached a goal, I immediately sought for the next, allowing a sense of purpose to push me forward. It’s easy to find “the next goal” in your early youth, as you anticipate each checkpoint in life that seems to unfold itself before you, gently sloping hills and valleys. At a certain point, however, time slows down and what used to be a hill transforms into a mountain when combined with the burgeoning responsibilities of adulthood. Nonetheless, even now I deeply relate to the sentiment that there is always a next step, which led to my predicament – the lack of time and financial means to further my education and quest for self-improvement. I was a voyager with no wind to set sail. 16 Personalities “Strengths and Weaknesses” analysis explains we are
“likely to exhaust [our]selves in short order if [we] don’t find a way to balance [our] ideals with the realities of day-to-day living.”
I was exhausted, to be sure, and struggled to reconcile that my reality didn’t match the fantasy. Was I making a difference? Yes. Was I setting the example I had hoped, living the advice I disseminated, and working towards my own objectives? No; I was stagnant.
The 16 Personalities “Advocate Careers” analysis paints the picture that
“to be truly happy, [INFJs] need to be able to exercise their insightfulness and independence, learn and grow alongside the people they are helping, and contribute to the well-being of humanity on a personal level.”
While I was thrilled to be helping my students bloom creatively and academically, all of my resources were expended, and I poured from an empty cup. This is why the opportunity for my career change felt like someone rolled a ladder down, and I could finally climb towards my dreams. Not only would the job still provide a way for me to help others achieve their goals, but it was also a pathway to my own, allowing me to truly “learn and grow alongside” the students I nurture, rather than sedentarily propelling them. The article, “INFJ Personality type – ‘The Confidant'” states,
“INFJs love to learn. Their whole existence is wrapped around growth. They are on a constant quest to improve and untangle more questions. ”
With this job, I have the opportunity to go back to school, (although I must be patient because it takes a year of service to qualify) but I’m content to see possibilities on the horizon, feel the slow course of the wind nudging me gently forward once again. The work that I’m doing each day is meaningful, and the interim, in and of itself, is an accomplishment. This job provides me the time and resources to get my Master’s degree and hone my craft as a writer and aspiring novelist while helping others along the way. According to “INFJ: The Counselor,”
“[we] are intensely idealistic, and can clearly imagine a happier and more perfect future“
I can visualize the future again; what has been, for some time, a blank canvas is now painted with possibilities. What once loomed in the pit of my despair now glows, a beacon in the distance; all I have to do is keep on the path that has opened wide before me. Dreams shouldn’t rest, nor exist solely in the imagination, but serve as a lighthouse for the voyager.
In his book, Jung’s Four and Some Philosophers, Thomas King says,
“The time comes when the individual feels life is empty; something is missing. The original sense of purpose is gone and one is dispirited and confused. At this point the individual feels called to make a difficult search… The individual sets out on a difficult and unfamiliar journey (e.g., “a sea voyage,” “a venture into the forest”) to locate the missing function.”
I’m no longer wallowing in a pit, trapped in all directions. I’m free to follow the path I create and voyage into unknown wonders, the wind beneath my sail.
Sources for additional reading: