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Why INFPs Should Pursue Authenticity Despite Being Misunderstood

As Introverted Feelers (Fi), INFPs see the world through the lenses of their personal values, making them independent individuals. These moral standards serve as their guiding compass in life.

However, despite their strong convictions, these gentle souls also possess Extraverted Feeling (Fe) as the Opposing Role in their cognitive stack, which is why they care deeply for others, too. They value harmony and dislike burdening the people around them.

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Looking closer, we’d realize that INFPs usually shift gears between their personal values (Fi) and social harmony (Fe). Sometimes, these two align with each other, but often, they contradict, causing agonizing conflicts in INFP’s decision.

So now, which one should an INFP follow? Do they remain compliant to people’s wishes and structure or do they grow as “stubborn, self-centered” individuals?

If you’re an INFP, you’d know how this contradiction drives an INFP’s world chaotic, making them one of the most misunderstood personalities. Most heated arguments are rooted in such clashing values.

In this post, let’s discuss why INFPs are prone to be misunderstood and why, despite the harrowing conflicts, they must stand firm to their authenticity and follow their chosen path.

Are you ready? Here we go:

Why INFPs are Misunderstood

When we’re misunderstood, the person we’re interacting with sees us in a completely different light than how we see ourselves.

Say, INFPs have a loud, vibrant inner world; people obviously don’t see that and assume they’re rather floaty.

Or you might be deeply hurt by people’s actions, yet they perceive you as passive and unaffected.

As an INFP myselfI guess we’ve always been thinking out of the norm. I sometimes wonder if we’re just born in the wrong era. 

Imagine, we harbor vivid memories of the past, maintain an optimistic outlook on the future, yet often appear disconnected from the present moment.

What a mind, huh?

That said, people misunderstand us.

And worse, even INFPs get lost and misunderstand themselves.

To Be Honest, INFPs May Also Misunderstand Themselves

Eight-ish years ago, my family and friends often get spooked with my several sudden education and career leaps — I quit architecture in college to study automotive engineering.

Quit my job as a marketing assistant and went back to the university. I quit being a teacher to work as a freelancer.

I was so random that my ISFJ mom was anxious about what I’d become. Can’t blame her. I looked like I was lost — but passionately lost! — in life, and they were afraid I was ruining myself.

They would try to put me back on track – a path they know works – without an ounce of idea how an INFP truly functions. 

Well, to be honest, I didn’t really know any better. It looked like I was seeking something but also chasing nothing. There’s a dream I yearn for, but in reality, I can’t grasp what it was. 

Indeed, my early 20s is my “lost INFP” era.

What’s worse, INFPs like me try to fit into society. As we try to reconcile to the social norm, we find ourselves under a lot of pressure.

This struggle is all too familiar among many INFPs. We know there’s more to lifeand we are always looking forward to new things, yet it’s hard for us to stick to a path. 

Even if we obviously see the errors in ourselves, we still don’t seem to get it correctly, making us feel lost and empty.

The Mindset Shift

Not until one day, after all the heartaches and anxieties, an INFP might eventually start to change.

Without anyone’s notice, INFPs begin to veer off the conventional path, leaving everything behind – other’s advice, jobs, old life, relationships, and even their old self. 

A lightbulb turns on, and radical changes start to show in their behavior, causing a lot of friction, tension, and pressure in their families, friendships, and workplaces.

INFPs are starting to get tired of listening to the world, and they begin to amplify the ideals they’ve all been keeping.

Follow Authenticity, Despite the Conflicts

What’s the sign an INFP is starting to wake up to their authentic self?

I would say you’re at the door of your transformation when you experience conflicts and intense arguments.

I’m convinced that the people we often clash with — our family, most of the time — are just genuinely concerned with us. 

Only that, they simply don’t know how an INFP’s mind operates. They’re just as confused as we’re frustrated, hence the arguments.

They’re anxious of where we’re leading, but unfortunately, they have no clue what’s happening inside our heads.

But don’t let these misunderstandings deter you from reaching your true potential.

Instead of crying yourself to sleep, stand firm and keep those intentions loud and clear. Work on it despite the lack of support.

Oh my, I sound like I’m encouraging rebellious behavior. But actually, I’m not.

If you’re 20+ years old and still can’t seem to break free from others, I’m telling you that you have the right to stand on your own two feet, only that your family and friends are so used to protecting a “sweet, fragile” person like you.

That said, you must grow. Make your progress evident to change their behavior towards you.

You’ve been keep your decisions private because you’re afraid of being stopped and criticized. But now, shift the perspective.

Instead of fearing what others would say, be open about what you want, and if you can, show consistency and results.

I say this because breaking free from people’s control and experiencing life more actually forces you to grow in alignment with your real strengths.

If you’re spontaneous, welcome the ideas because that’s one of the nature of INFPs as an Extraverted iNtuitive (Ne). You’re a visionary. 

You find duty and fulfillment in exploration. It gives you a sense of purpose.

Push forth your boundaries little by little. Endure the emotional and mental struggles until you reach the freedom and flexibility to express your unique INFP self.

This is easier said than done, I know.

At the age of 22, I would burst into tears and explosive anger as I asserted how I wanted to start a business instead of applying for a job after graduation.

But my parents strongly went against my plans and stopped our relative from giving me a loan for the capital. I’m from a strict Asian household, so you’d get the idea. I must do as per their expectation. Get a high-paying job!

My INFP partner experienced the same, where he ended up running away from home to escape all the pressures. He was so miserable and misunderstood. Having nowhere to turn to was the lowest point of his life.

So you see, as INFPs start to pursue authenticity, it means that the ever-kind and obedient child who didn’t want to burden anyone starts to cause trouble.

It’s so dang frustrating. I never wanted to experience them again.

But if you’re currently experiencing all this chaos, I just want to tell you that don’t lose heart. Although it’s difficult, these things must happen.

It’s a way you’re pushing forth the boundaries other people set, and a wake-up call to others saying, “Helloooo! I have a mind of my own, you know?”

At the end of the day, you must have the freedom to explore. This way, you can use your Introverted Feeling (Fi) to assess your true calling. Because without those experiences to weigh, you’d never land on your true purpose.

You must explore and discover.

Win or fail, INFPs gather heaps of wisdom along the way.

A word of caution, though…

A word of caution to fellow INFPs: While I know you’re always chasing new adventures, never forget to pay attention to which paths bear fruit and which ones don’t really yield good results in the long term. 

Be courageous and humble enough to embrace changes in your life. Some belief systems will be broken down, that’s for sure, and others will be strengthened.

As you experience more, your spontaneous ideas boil down into compact convictions that truly reflect who you are. 

From my experience, there were numerous ideals I’ve prided on that took me a lot of guts to let go, just like being an auto mechanic. I eventually had to accept that it doesn’t resonate with my true gifts despite being recognized for it.

It was more of an ego thing than really catering to my strengths.

A woman fixing cars? I liked the recognition more than the craft itself. I focused on “proving” to people that I can rather than “nurturing” my strengths.

But after letting that go and focusing on the true gifts I loved all along — researching, self-reflecting, teaching, and sharing my reflections to those who need it — I finally found myself flourishing even it wasn’t as grandiose as the dreams I’ve previously imagined.

These deep insights about life don’t come from your family or friends’ advice but from your own evaluation of life. And that’s why nourishing yourself with knowledge, as a discoverer, is precious.

We’re late bloomers but don’t let impatience overtake you. 

Your wisdom will prove beneficial later in life.

Stand Firm For Your Authenticity

In my life, there have been numerous decisions I’ve fiercely defended despite facing criticisms.

I admit that sometimes, my lack of experience and understanding led me to poor judgment. I lost and failed.

But other times, the rewards for my attempts led me to amazing discoveries.

If I never dared to step outside the rules and embraced being an INFP, I would have never found my true strengths. 

If I never nurtured those talents and gifts, I might still be in a void, drifting endlessly. Lost and purposeless.

We’d be stuck in the same place if we didn’t stand firm for our “weird, spontaneous, and irrational” ideals. But no matter how weird it may sound, give it a try anyway.

Experiencing them firsthand is the only way to recognize if those goals and dreams shine brighter or lose their luster.

Don’t fear failure; fear not making the attempt.

Face the conflicts and embrace the lessons along the way.

Follow your authenticity and evaluate your acquired experiences.

Although we clash with our families and relationships, know that it’s because you both don’t understand each other. 

At the end of the day, when all the uproar has passed, always aim to reconcile and establish harmony founded on respect.

The sooner INFP finds their strengths, the better they nurture them and use them purposefully. 

Surely, INFPs can become more efficient, impacting people with their gifts and skills, and making the world a better place.


That’s it. I hope you gained insights. Thanks for reading! 🙂

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