I’ve been MIA for a while as some of you may have noticed, and during this time, I have been almost obsessively delving into learning about my MBTI type, which is INFP by the way.
Now, one thing about us INFPs that I could have told you long before I ever watched millions of videos and read a bunch of articles about INFPs, is that we are very attached to our identity and authenticity.
At 29, I spent most of that year freaking out about turning 30. It wasn’t just that all the times I had thought that 30 means over the hill (teenage years, go figure), but also that I suddenly noticed that I had changed a bit.
I freaked out. I wanted to run back to being a teenager. I was doing some “old people” stuff. But talking to my friends that I had grown up with, I noticed that they also changed. I imagine a lot of you are going duuuuuuh right now.
For the first time, I had to come to terms with the new me and accept her… well, me.
I have never paid much attention to the question, who are you. That’s because, to me anyway, I was always just me. I like so many different things, I have so many varying interests, I don’t even have a specific favourite thing when it comes to songs, movies, colours, etc, because I just can’t choose between all the things I like so much.
When I was about 28, my husband and I were talking one day on a little road trip about how we had changed over the years. A podcast about personality and how it changes over the years brought this about.
There were some clear ways he had changed. I like to joke that he’s mellowed in his old age. He still absolutely stands by his principles and by the truth no matter whether people like him for it or not.
He was and I believe always will be a man of integrity, it’s one of the things I absolutely love about him. But he’s a lot kinder in the way he deals with people whose opinions and beliefs differ.
But me? We were stumped. The way I dressed, my moods, being stuck in my head and having a wild imagination were things that were the same when we met. After some thinking, we only came up with me being less energetic.
Those of you who know about INFPs know that we’re not always the most demonstrative or outgoing bunch. But what people get wrong is that we are absolutely energetic, outgoing, and even intense when we’re around people that we’re comfortable with or when our passions are stirred.
At a concert or out partying with my friends, I jumped up and down, I danced. I often had too much energy and constantly moved around… I was a little hyper as a child. Sports took care of that. If I enjoyed the subject being taught or spoken about I was enthusiastic as I added my two cents worth.
I spoke animatedly and often way too much around my good friends and my husband back when we were dating. I still do some of those things, but some of the energy is gone. I blame adulting.
I didn’t know whether to be disturbed or relieved that I was still so similar.
So when 30 was approaching, I started looking inward a lot. I realised that I had in fact changed. In some ways for the better. I am wiser than I was, thank goodness. I was more resolute in sticking to who I am and what works for me regardless of what others said.
But I also was more fearful and anxious which made it even harder for me to make new friends over the years. Not to mention that we’d moved to a new town quite a distance from where I had spent my first 8 or 9 years in Cape Town. It took me 5 years to settle in and really find my “tribe” and feel like a part of the community.
I missed doing some of the things I did with my friends back when we had fewer responsibilities. So much so that I felt utterly dissatisfied with my current life.
When 2020 hit and I turned 30, I realised I was stressing for nothing. And in addition to ageing a year, it was like my Cape Town bestie told me. When you turn 30, you become more assertive.
I reveled in it.
I decided 2020 was the year I was going to explore and put myself out there, do all the things that I wanted to do but had been too afraid too because no one wanted to go with me or because I was afraid of failure… like auditioning at the theatre. A result of forgotten lines during the eisteddfod when I was 11.
Well, 2020 didn’t give a shiz.
And so along with everyone else, I had even more time to acquaint myself with who I had become in the last while.
Some of the major stresses about feeling irrelevant and like I need to go clubbing again lest I be a doddering old lady slowly disappeared.
Because in this case, I realised that it wasn’t that I never enjoyed clubbing, but it definitely wasn’t something I did all the time. It was occasional fun.
And really, I have no desire to be in a ridiculously loud environment till the morning hours. Hello, happy ears and sleeeeep. Many years ago, that wouldn’t have been as much of an issue. But it was now.
This is just one example of what I had learnt in 2020. I also learnt that although I hated being cooped up at home, what I missed the most about going out was seeing my friends.
This year, I have come to the realisation that I am on the wrong path. Instead of thinking that I was resilient enough to do what I need to in this world to be more in line with what society dictates, I realised that I am heading towards depression.
I have immersed myself in more creative pursuits, I am taking my husband’s advice to look for work that I actually want to do.
I have also become more aware that while I am not a complete weakling and pansy emotionally and mentally, that I am stronger and happier when I am being true to myself. My personality and my values.
I believe we all function better when we are who we are. Learning about my personality type has also helped me see some of my pitfalls and I am slowly learning to overcome those things.
But I am absolutely convinced, and not just because of that individualistic streak that runs so strongly through me, that we are all better off getting to know ourselves and living true to who we are.
This isn’t even the first time I’m writing about this. Clearly I feel strongly about it :p
No matter what your personality type is and who you truly are, you are worthy, you are valued, and you are powerful in your own way.
And all that nonsense about our personalities being set in stone, I don’t believe it for a second. While I may always be an INFP or whatever the other personality things say, I can become wiser, stronger, and a better version of myself. The same is true of you.
P.s. I do believe that labelling ourselves can be dangerous. More on that next week. But there is nothing wrong with learning more about yourself and acknowledging and accepting of all your good and bad traits and beliefs. It’s when you do that, that you can take responsibility for yourself and your actions and keep becoming the best version of yourself without the stress of feeling not good enough.