All my life, I've never felt completely understood. Many people I know share this feeling; we as human beings naturally want to feel acknowledged, loved, and accepted by others. But what I discovered upon enrolling in college is that I never felt understood because I had never been able to completely understand myself. I've never been a big fan of personality tests, especially the ones everyone sees on platforms like BuzzFeed that tell what kind of fruit you are. My skepticism towards self-assessments changed recently though when my career advisor suggested taking the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test.
For those of you that have never heard of the MBTI, this self-reported questionnaire divides people into 16 distinct personality types. The four categories that make up these personality types are broken down into how you focus your energy (Extraverted vs Introverted), take in information from the world (Sensing vs Intuitive), prefer to make decisions (Thinking vs Feeling), and control your life (Judging vs Perceiving). As you can tell, 16 distinct personalities can be made from unique combinations of these qualities; for instance, you could be an introverted individual who relies on intuition and facts to structure their life (INTJ) or an extrovert who likes prefers spontaneity and feeling things out with their heart (ESFP).
After doing some research, I placed aside my suspicions and those from countless psychology articles arguing against MBTI's validity and made an appointment to take the exam. I answered all of the questions honestly (even when I didn't like the answer) and to the best of my ability, only to find out that I have the rarest personality type of the 16: INFJ.
As I read through the assessment report, I felt as though someone had finally understood me. INFJ's are described as having "introverted intuition with extraverted feeling", or in other words, (I) Introverted, (N) Intuitive, (F) Feeling, and (J) Judging. Before taking the exam, I had always thought of myself as an extrovert (E) and someone who preferred a more spontaneous lifestyle (P). After reading the full report and not just the 4 letters, however, I learned more about myself than ever before.
INFJ's like myself are very passionate, sensitive individuals. Their goals in life are centered around their need for personal growth and to make a positive difference in the lives of other people. That's the reason, I've found, why careers in healthcare, teaching, and design have always captured my interest. INFJ's have a superior way of reading and responding to the feelings of others; sometimes, I believe that I can feel the pain that others are going through as though it were my own. While this empathy is a wonderful quality, it can make INFJ's susceptible to manipulation from others and burning out emotionally. Many may see INFJ's as sensitive, reserved individuals, but in actuality, they feel and express just as much as they hold inside to contemplate.
INFJ's are without a doubt perfectionists while also idealists in their pursuits; one of the reasons why I had trouble picking a major at first was because I could imagine a variety of careers that I would enjoy and thrive at. This dichotomy of being a very "sure" person while also thinking up new ideas spontaneously has been one of the most frustrating feelings for me. It's as though even when things are good, I always believe that there's something far better out there for me. I've also realized now that my relationships with other people work have followed right in line with the experiences of other INFJ's. While I have social circles in places like class or work, I keep a very small, select group of individuals that I would call my close friends. I cherish the time to myself for recharging after social encounters and thinking. All of these characteristics (and many more) have been what has stumped me for so long when I've compared myself to others. I never grasped how people didn't empathize well or had one life plan figured out or could socialize without end; now, I realize, it's because everyone is their own person that's part of a larger personality group. For me, INFJ is the squad that finally made me feel embraced for qualities that had confused me for so long. A few famous individuals that fall under this group include Martin Luther King Jr., Oprah Winfrey, and Nelson Mandela. Now that's a lineup that I'm proud to be similar to!
Thanks to just a few minutes reading through my MBTI personality report, I feel more sure of myself than ever and proud to be an INFJ. The simple realization that there are people out there that feel and live like me has helped ease my stress on this journey of self-discovery called life.