“I'm a teenager and I really identify with INFJs. I always felt so alone until I read about this personality type. Now so many things make sense to me. How did you feel when you were a teenager ?“
Different. I seemed to be liked, yet didn’t see my place in it all at all. I saw so many flaws in the education system and, as I grew older, society. It was difficult. I wasn’t really in any ‘group’ of friends, yet I existed in and seemed to be liked by a lot of them. Sure, there were people I chose not to associate with, or who didn’t get me (fear of the unknown), but I didn’t mind so much. I was so interested in art and beauty and things like that, but kept a lot of it in my head, and I suppose developed this earlier in life. Initially I protected myself from the ‘harshness of life’ by immersing myself in these solitary, private projects (many of which not a single soul even saw).
I remember being resilient to what I was ordered to do by certain people, judging their instructions on a per-case basis and taking everything into account. I had a strong sense of ethics early on. I could see through certain teachers at school, and would perform better for teachers I liked or felt were good people; and if I couldn’t understand the end result of learning something and its benefits, I’d tune out. This was especially true for things like science for me which was so detail-oriented. I just did not understand what the point was in every person being taught that curriculum when every person is so different.
I had a strong sense of others’ pain and suffering around me - my age, older, younger … of human nature in general - very early in life, earlier than teenage hood but yet I felt incredibly alien a lot of the time. I was always confident with the world as I saw it in my head, elaborately fantasising chains of events and complex links between seemingly unconnected things - but I lacked any confidence with aligning that ‘perfect vision’ with the imperfect world. I suppose that just pushed me further back inside to learn more, experience more, feel more. And I don’t regret that.
It took me a long time to realise the only way to exist in the world was to make MY difference in it - and acknowledge I was different, too, and be proud of it. So I did so. I became more confident in myself, but never to the point that I was ever truly aware of how others saw me. That blind spot is something INFJs have their whole lives irrespective of their levels of ‘success’ - but I think it’s what makes INFJs so extraordinary. We’re never fully aware of how others see us, where we fit, yet we see the rest of the world with extraordinary clarity and unbounded insight. I expressed myself through art and writing, did what I needed to do to stay at school and fulfil my parents’ and (certain) teachers’ desires - and engaged in all sorts of projects for fun, not for academia.
It was certainly a struggle at times though, being a teenager - so my advice to you would be to keep riding the waves, be confident in yourself even if you don’t throw yourself into the world just yet, and find your niche. Find your way to express your exceptionally rich mind. Writing, art, music, being an incredible friend - whatever. Let yourself plumb the depths sometimes, in the knowledge that your fearlessness to do so means you rise back up even taller than before, equipped to help those in need in whatever way you can. Don’t let anyone tell you how to be, because as you are, you are fantastic, and that will reveal itself more over the course of time - both to others, and more importantly, yourself.