(Psst! I’m making this blog post available as a Podcast for the first time ever! Check it out here, if that’s your thing.)
Can I be really brave with you guys in this post?
This message has been growing in my heart over the past few months, but I’m nervous to share it with you. I’m afraid that the fact that I’ve struggled so hard with this stuff will reflect poorly on me. I’m afraid of getting this message wrong, or that no one will find these topics as moving and powerful as I do.
But here’s the thing: I really, truly believe in this message. And I made a commitment to be brave this year, and uniquely myself, and I think this post qualifies.
Here’s my truth:
A few months ago I was explaining to a friend the struggle of growing up INTJ and how I’ve changed (and changed myself) over the years. How embarrassed I was by the things I said and did when I was younger, how hard it was to find a place to fit into the world (and sometimes still is), and how radically my job in human resources influenced my growth.
“I know,” she said. “You told me this, once. Years ago.”
It turns out I have a narrative about myself as someone only recently on the kinder side of things. I guess part of me still feels I’ve only just escaped my old thought patterns. Some part still thinks I have to apologize and preemptively warn people I might slip up and say something completely insensitive, and how hard I’m trying to overcome that.
That blog post I made two years ago discusses the the trials and glories of the INTJ personality type, but I’ve never really explained how I taught myself to evolve beyond the more negative aspects.
In the current political climate I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this: How does one move past judgmental, detached thinking into empathetic, compassionate thinking?
I want to use this blog post to explain how it happened for me, and condense the years of wisdom I’ve accumulated on these topics to hopefully help someone else who wants to change, but doesn’t know how.
But listen, another (terrified) part of me thinks you might read this and go, “Wow, what a freak. Was it really so difficult for you to like and get along with people like, you know, an ordinary human being?”
Have I not made that clear by now? Yes.
If making friends and just generally interacting with people was easy for you from the start, I’m very glad for you. It wasn’t like that for me. My introversion, my social anxiety, my neurotic logical floundering… I was just built and grew up in a way that made people-stuff hard. And because of that, I’ve had to study and practice and dig to get at the heart of what people-stuff is all about, and how I could bring myself more into the fold.
Here’s what I found: