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Brenda has truly opened up a space for introverted types on the ‘net, and her self-revelations are always inspiring. Her voice is one I always look forward to. She is one of the writers that actually played a part in my return to writing.  — S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
You’re so honest in your writing. It’s bold. It’s frank. It’s wonderful. I could definitely see the work you are doing here as a useful book. It could save/make a lot of relationships! — Jimmi Langemo
Jimmi Langemo
Your site has saved my sanity and my life. Maybe even my marriage. I work part time and have two young boys at home, my husband is supportive of me but until recently I thought I was going crazy. … Reading your writing not only inspires me to pick up the pen again, but gives me nourishment in the deepest places. I will fight for balance. Everything you write is spot on… And wellness is so incredibly multifaceted.  I was ready to give up hope, but understanding myself through your words is bring…
J.K.
I think I want to print out your articles and hand them out as a sort of relationship waiver form. “You want to be my friend?….You are interesting in going out? Here read this first. Sign here to acknowledge that you have read and understand the enclosed material. Thank you.” Seriously. I think it would work. — Guerin Moorman
Guerin Moorman
I have been dating an introverted man who I am very in love with for almost 2 years.  Reading your posts have helped me to be more supportive and understanding to him especially during the times when he needs space.  I just wanted to thank you for your weekly posts and let you know how helpful they are for someone who is in a relationship with an introvert. C.M. on space2live
C.M.
That courage and dedication you so generously share with the world, has inspired me to push myself a little harder, persevere at each task a little longer, dig a little bit deeper to where the answers just “feel” right to both my humanity AND my spirit. Your insights have reinforced my direction and given me additional tools that help me clear my path. I’m wired into my creativity as never before and the new music is pouring out of me faster than I can record and produce it; this is the Un…
Gary
THANK YOU….. you just summed up my swirling thoughts into something i can read with out everything else in my head meshing with it. I finally feel like i can explain what happens within without getting distracted. I’m an Introvert with ADD and it makes it so hard to explain quite what im feeling sometimes. — M.G. on space2live
M.G.

“I was struggling with my daughter (16 at the time) and our constant fighting. You said something to me that changed my life! You were speaking about your own situation and you said to me “my child could not handle my emotions”. This was a HUGE “lightbulb moment” for me and it forever changed the way I dealt with my emotions when I was around my daughter!

I am happy to say that things have never been better between my soon to be 18 year old daughter and myself! I honestly never thought we would…

Mom M
This is me. This is me from the day I was born. For so long I felt misunderstood and rejected, even by the people closest to me, because they could never understand my need for solitude, and I had no idea how to explain it to them. Even now that I know more about Introversion and have a more informed understanding of my hard-wired need for solitude, it’s still very difficult sometimes to help my loved ones understand this profound craving for time and space all to myself. This is one of the best…
Sharon
I met Brenda and took the MBTI… I had a fairly good understanding of these types before the meeting but was impressed by the depth of knowledge that Brenda shared with me. She clearly has a passion for this work and a gift in imparting the information. There have been doors opened for me because of our talks… — Alan Hintermeister
Alan Hintermeister

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Intuition, Feeling, Men, Myers – Briggs and Snowblowers

Mindfulness-and-Living-a-Busy-Life. head exploding

My mind is buzzing (in the bad way) about my snowblower situation. The weather clock shows snow for this weekend. The snowblower (or thrower depending on where you are from) I ordered from Sears is in. I simply have to pick it up, prepare it to work and clear my driveway.

Rent – a – man?

The thought and anticipation of the logistics and mental processes involved to do this make my head hurt and my pulse escalate. I need physical strength and mechanical aptitude. I have to ask for help because I don’t have enough of either to make it happen easily myself (mostly because of the strength

Wha??

Wha??

needed to get the big box out of my van, but there is also the fact that inner-workings of machinery bewilder me). I do have women friends who could help but I’m not sure if we could move the box ourselves. So that leaves my male options. This makes things complicated. I don’t have any adult male relatives in the area. I have to ask a neighbor, the ex-husband, the former boyfriend or the current squeeze. Note to self: get more male friends. I don’t like asking any of them for help. I prefer independence. I imagine how this imposition will affect each of them and it just feels uncomfortable to ask.

I wish I was at ease with household maintenance and mechanics but I’m not. It’s not because I’m a woman. I have mechanical engineering women friends who rock this stuff. It’s because I’m an intuitive feeler. I care about the big picture and people, people, people.

Myers-Briggs in a nutshell

I am a Myers-Briggs certified practitioner. What does that mean? It means I am allowed to administer and interpret the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator ® which is the most commonly used personality assessment in the world.  Over two million people take it annually in order to gain self-awareness, enhance leadership skills, facilitate a career move, improve relationships or learn about team dynamics.

Based on Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung’s personality theory, the assessment sorts individuals into categories based on their innate mental process preferences. The MBTI looks at:

1. Whether you prefer to spend time in and energy on your outer world of people, places, things (E extraversion) or your inner world of thoughts, reflections, ideas ( I introversion).

2. Whether you prefer to take in information through your senses, facts and concrete data ( S sensing) or

Yep, and then there are those types

Yep, and then there are those types

through the big picture, possibilities and concepts (N intuition).

3. Whether your natural inclination is to make decisions by using logical, impersonal and objective methods (T thinking) or human value driven, personal and group harmonizing methods (F feeling).

4. Whether you orient yourself to the outer world by being organized, structured and scheduled (J judging) or by being flexible, open-minded and willing to explore all options (P perceiving).

After completing the assessment, you are given a four letter type based on your natural preference in each of the dichotomies.

What the heck is an intuitive feeler?

I’m an INFP (occasionally an INFJ).  Which means I am an introverted (I) intuitive (N) feeler (F) who is drained by using logic, attending to practical details and step by step experiences.

I don’t have to look very hard for proof of my type’s validity. It took me all morning to even think about checking the weather channel to see if the expected amount of snow even warrants the use of a snowblower.

It doesn’t.

Logic Bren-duh.;) Details escape me unless they are about people. I remember intimate details about people.

Now, I can put this decision-making process off for a few days (gathering information and exploring options like the good perceiving P that I am).

Do you know your Myers-Briggs type? Where do your inferior functions trip you up? Are you more logical or relationship focused? 

Related articles:

Careers for the 8 Introverted Personality Types (The Dangerous Lee News & Entertainment)

Power Tools and Empowerment: Every Day a Little Bit Stronger

The Sweetness of Self-Reliance:How One Married Mom-Lady Found Her Way Home

Just for Fun Examples of Myers-Briggs Personalities in Stories – Television Tropes and Idioms (TV Tropes)

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26 Comments

  1. Kristen January 2, 2014 at 10:44 am - Reply

    Now I know why I enjoy your blog so much–I too am an INFP. It took a while to understand why I see things differently than so many other people but I think part of it is that we are in the minority of each of the classifications (i.e. more people are extroverts than introverts, more are thinkers vs feelers). But I am learning to appreciate my uniqueness, even more so now that I understand it’s root. What trips me up so frequently is that I know I need alone time to recharge my introverted (I) self but my intuition (N) and perception (P) are attuned to how other people’s feelings are hurt by that withdrawal and I feel (F) it very deeply as guilt.

    • Brenda Knowles January 2, 2014 at 1:47 pm - Reply

      Yes, we are in the minority and often seen as dreamers (idealists). I’m learning our love of harmony and strong sense of empathy make us healers too. We see the potential in everyone. I’m learning to relish our unique capabilities and see them as gifts. We have vision and adaptability. We have a longing for perfection and hold others to lofty ideals but we can use those preferences to help others.

      We may need space to process and dream but in the end our intentions are good.:)

    • Brett January 3, 2014 at 9:08 am - Reply

      I’m an INFP, too. With a ‘type A’ wife and 4 boys aged 10, 9, 6, and 2… I’ve really had to make time for myself my biggest priority.

      I get up at 4am everyday just to have solitude and silence and a cup of coffee in my armchair by the fireplace… I let my mind wander while the fire takes hold… I meditate, bless myself, bless my day, my family’s day… I fight to feel filled up and ready for whatever the day needs from me: an encouraging word for my wife and children, a smile, a hug, emotional support, whatever…

      All of that, and a bit of exercise, and I’m usually feeling pretty good about life in general before the rest of the house is even stirring.

      I retire to my office to write for a bit, b/c these are the moments when I get my best ideas and inspiration. Sometimes I get inspired ideas for some problem at work, or something.

      Anyway, I’m rambling. My heart went out to you b/c I can relate so well to what you wrote and wanted to encourage you somehow. As empaths we soak up other people’s emotions like sponges even when we don’t want to… It’s hard to remember that it’s their problem and not ours…

      Don’t give in to the prevailing spirit that other people’s opinions stir up all around you… Otherwise, you’ll be tempted to wear a mask to make others happy, while you feel miserable and unattended, and separate from your own soul…

      Be your ture self. Let your essential spirit prevail… Listen to your body. Listen to your soul. I’m sure that you know when you’re feeling the need to be off by yourself for a while. Let Silence become your Muse. And make no apologies for it. The world needs you.

      PS: Just finished Laurie Helgoe’s book, “The Power of Introverts.” She cites one study that shows introverts to be 50.4% of the population which, if true, places us in the (thoughtful) majority.

      • Brenda Knowles January 3, 2014 at 2:41 pm - Reply

        Thank you Brett for your kind words of support. They arrived at the perfect time, when I was feeling a little unsure about a few things.
        I also make use of early morning hours, especially on the weekends and in the summer when my kids are home. I love the quiet time to reflect and make progress. I also tend to stay up late for the same reasons. I try to balance the me time with sleep time so that I’m not tired and grouchy.
        I did wear a mask for many years so that others were satisfied. Eventually, my true nature had to surface. My values couldn’t be suppressed anymore. I’m more self-aware and content now but it still feels like I’m going against the current on many days. I’m thankful for my writing outlet, the amazing people that surround me and the energy a healthy diet brings.

        You mentioned INFPs being empaths. I find that often other people’s feelings and my own take up a lot of my mental space and energy. If there is dis-harmony around me I almost feel stymied in my work and thinking. I’m working on developing my thinking/sensing functions in order to temper that a little.;)

        May I ask what type of work you do? It’s always interesting to hear what other INFP/healer types do for a living.

        I love Laurie Helgoe’s book. I’m starting to think even extroverts need more and more solitude to escape the frenetic world we live in. Thanks again for your thoughtful comment. I truly appreciated it.

      • Brett January 5, 2014 at 3:24 am - Reply

        @Brenda: Thanks. I think I may use the term empath lightly… but you seem to have caught my gist of it: the human emotional sponge. We seem to “get” people without trying, or even wanting to. Or, in the case of Kristen above, we pick up too keenly of the fact that others see us as the source/reason/justification of their ilk. So we’re now weighed down with our thoughts, their thoughts (the ones they said out loud, and the ones we read on their exasperated faces or in the tone of their voices, or whatever…)

        (I don’t think of myself as an “empath” on the level of say, Judith Orloff, or someone like her, though I’m fascinated by her ability to tune in rather deeply to people in her psychology practice.)

        As for work, I’ve always been a mismatch : marketing, sales, and more recently a Sales Manager for 9 years… Have been laid off this year and am currently looking work.

        I’ve only recently disovered that I’m an introvert, an INFP, an HSP and my newfound cravings are to read everything I can about it, because in reading about these topics I find myself in the pages. And it’s encouraging.

        My temperament has influenced my jobsearch to the point that I’m not really interested in looking for a sales position any longer. The idea of going back to that life gets me down, but I’m going to need something soon.

        I’m more fascinated by things like the Myers-Briggs certification ever since you mentioned it. I think that deep down, I’d like to help people “find their way” on their path to discovering who they are, and to encourage them to go for it.

        We’ll see what happens. Meanwhile, I’ll enjoy reading your posts, and continue to swim against the current.

        • Brenda Knowles January 5, 2014 at 5:23 pm - Reply

          You write very well and have a gift for expressing yourself with clarity. I appreciate your insight and openness. I suggest you find a position where you can use your communication skills to help people. You could start by volunteering somewhere and making connections. Does a career with spiritual affiliation appeal to you? INFPs are drawn to counseling and the clergy. I worked in corporate America for 7 years and have a business degree. It was not a good fit for me although I feel if I went back now I would add value in different ways. I’d have more confidence and knowledge in my own skill set (listening, thoroughness, ability to synergize vast amounts of info).
          Congrats on your newfound awareness. Enjoy the ride.:) Fill your mind and heart. Gather amazing, insightful people along the way. It’s a beautiful time and once you are awake to all of this you can never go back asleep.

    • Brett January 7, 2014 at 2:49 am - Reply

      Thanks for the encouragement. I really appreciate it, as I’m contemplating blogging about what I’m learning, but never really have ever thought of myself as a writer. So your words are timely and mean a lot. Especially the bit about being a good communicator, as I live in France and, though fluent, French isn’t my native language. I’m constantly reminded of my difficulties in “communicating”… though they’ve probably more to do with differences in temperaments than anything else. (I’m surrounded by a lot of Type A’s over here.)

      I’ve thought about some kind of counselling for others, but have no formal training in such a thing, but I’m reluctantly having to admit that I’m naturally pretty good at it and should explore it. Possibly such a thing via the internet or online coaching/blogging eventually…

  2. LB December 21, 2013 at 7:13 am - Reply

    I’ll qualify by saying I read both this blog and your Christmas blog at the same time. (Is that cheating? I already know how this story turned out before I comment 🙂 )

    First, I really want a snowblower. Really. Really. I don’t have one because I can’t afford it right now. But I get along with machinery. If I need help, it will be with the heavy lifting, but not the operating. I am a logical thinker and as long as I have a set of instructions (“destructions,” my boyfriend calls them) and a phone number to call if I need help deciphering them, then I’m good. But I can put off the question of buying a snowblower for the moment too. Not because there’s no snow (there is) but because I possess another type of snow mover. It’s called a 15 y/o boy who likes to get paid 🙂 Ten bucks at a shot to him to shovel is better than the $600 or so it will cost me to buy a suitable snowblower for my driveway. Logical, no?

    Which brings me to… I’m an ISTJ mostly, but occasionally I’ll test as an ISFJ. (I haven’t found a pattern for this yet) I definitely prefer my inner world and to gather information using concrete facts and data. Sometimes the bigger picture completely escapes me. And I’m definitely organized, structured and scheduled. (It’s even on my resume) It’s the feelings part that gets me. I’ve always been logical, even (especially?) as a child. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to trust my feelings more, but it’s still difficult. I have to remind myself sometimes that gut feelings can have great value, even if they appear to defy logic. I will base a decision on a feeling, but it feels like a great risk to me. This is especially true when I have to spend money. Which is why I haven’t bought a snowblower. My gut feeling is telling me I can make better use of the money by using the 15 y/o 🙂 And why it took me an agonizingly long time to buy insurance, even though I know I need to have it.

    I want to say thanks also for that very simple and clear explanation of what each of the four parts of the MBTI means. Usually when I read these explanations, they are long and too involved, and I lose patience. I can’t easily decipher them (logic anyone?) When I read your explanations, it became crystal clear to me why I score those same attributes every time I test myself.

    Next… your Christmas blog 🙂

  3. […] ← Intuition, Feeling, Men, Myers – Briggs and Snowblowers […]

  4. Catherine December 17, 2013 at 8:53 am - Reply

    Whooo Hooo!!! I’m an INFP too and love it, although I irritate “the living daylights” out of some folk 😆

    • Brenda Knowles December 18, 2013 at 7:43 pm - Reply

      Let me guess, you irritate the STJs? 😉 We feelers frustrate the sensing logical people sometimes and vice versa.

      • Catherine December 19, 2013 at 6:08 am - Reply

        Yep… 🙄 However, my daughter is an ESTJ and we compliment each other brilliantly because we understand, and appreciate, the differences 🙂

        • Brenda Knowles December 19, 2013 at 1:19 pm - Reply

          Bravo! Good for you and your relationship with your daughter. I have two sons who I believe are S/Ts. We struggle sometimes to connect and understand each other. If you have any tips on how to help the different types respect each other I’m all ears.:)

    • Catherine December 19, 2013 at 2:44 pm - Reply

      Ah well… for me Brenda it was all about the timing and the circumstances. When her dad, of the same/ similar personality type as her, flipped his lid and abandoned not just me but our children too… 🙁 she was stuck with her INFP “feeling” mum who is not judgemental, leaves “the door” open to other possibilities but INFURIATED her so very much!!! We just kept sharing our own understanding/ learning, found our way through it and now the grandchildren are the beneficiaries as we keep passing this understanding on.

  5. Janet December 16, 2013 at 9:59 am - Reply

    I took the test many years ago. I am also INFP. Do people change their basic nature throughout their lives? Would I still be the same? Somehow I think I would be and that explains why your posts have such meaning for me.

    • Brenda Knowles December 16, 2013 at 9:10 pm - Reply

      According to the massive research that Myers-Briggs has done, most people do not change their types when given the test again, even years later. The preferences revealed in the assessment are innate. MB does say we tend to work on shoring up our inferior preferences in the second half of life but they will never be our most natural choices. For example we learn to “extrovert” as we go through life but it will never be our most comfortable preference.
      Yay for INFPs – the healers.:)

  6. EmSpeaks December 16, 2013 at 8:10 am - Reply

    I’m an INTJ, and I think I would have enjoyed putting together that snowblower! I can absolutely appreciate one’s independence getting in the way of asking for help.
    True to my type, people in general don’t interest me. I have to get to know someone as an individual (either in person or online) before I actually *care* about who they are and what happens to them. Once I do, I care very deeply—that’s why it’s hard for me to start new relationships or maintain superficial ones. Until then, though…eh.

  7. Scott Mettler December 14, 2013 at 6:37 am - Reply

    My GF does the same thing about not asking for help, and it makes me feel less than useful. I am always at the ready to help her but she never asks. I guess independence trumps all. I favor interdependence, but I’m also not as introverted. But if you had more male friends, would you also not want to impose on them as well?

    • Brenda Knowles December 14, 2013 at 9:36 am - Reply

      I hope you make it very clear that you are there to help her anytime. I know I need to be darn sure the other person doesn’t mind before I ask for help. I think introverts have a hard time initiating interactions period. I had a great guy friend who helped me tremendously. We had a system set up where he helped me around the house and I made him dinner. We liked being together so we each did our part. He also was very handy with home maintenance. Sadly, he moved away last summer.

  8. Doug Toft December 13, 2013 at 10:53 pm - Reply

    OK, so I read the headline for this post and wondered how you could possibly deliver.

    You did.

    • Brenda Knowles December 13, 2013 at 11:43 pm - Reply

      Doug after four days of MB training and conference-like socializing I let this one show up on the page however it wanted to. It’s me spilling the contents of my dizzy tired brain on the page. Thanks for the assurance. Always appreciated.

  9. Brett December 13, 2013 at 10:47 pm - Reply

    I realize why I relate to most of your writing. I’m an INFP dude, just slightly more “P” than “J”… I love making lists, but would prefer staring dreamily out the window, with my cup of coffee, pondering the wonders of the life, the universe and everything…

    Great post.

    PS: Has anyone considered how the snowblower feels about all of this?

    • Brenda Knowles December 14, 2013 at 9:24 am - Reply

      That’s me exactly! I also have copious J tendencies but left to my own devices I choose engaging my curiosity and staying open minded. The snowblower will be properly heard.;)

  10. Brenda Knowles December 13, 2013 at 5:26 pm - Reply

    The snowblower made it to my garage. Ex-husband and my two sons off-loaded. Grateful.:)

  11. www.laurensapala.com December 13, 2013 at 4:04 pm - Reply

    I’m an INFJ and I’m ALL about people and relationships. I can only handle so much people time in person, but I can spend hours on my own contemplating people and what makes them tick. Machines on the other hand…let’s just say I totally understand your dread of dealing with the snowblower! Machines leave me cold, as does any rational system based on pure logic.

    However, if I was curious about a certain person, and that person was really fascinated by snowblowers, then I could probably get into the snowblower itself temporarily, in order to get inside the other person’s head and understand what they love and why.

    • Brenda Knowles December 13, 2013 at 5:19 pm - Reply

      Yep, it would take a person who loved snowblowers to get me interested in snowblowers (at least a little) too. I need the human association with objects in order to make them matter to me. I think I spend so much time and energy putting myself in others’ shoes that it both wears me out and energizes me. I love to mentally process people’s feelings. I can be moved or drained by them.

      I’m still on the fence whether or not I’m an INFP or INFJ but for the moment (after taking the MB certification course) I am leaning towards INFP. I have a lot of J tendencies though.

      Thanks for sharing Lauren.:)

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