Letting go can be hard for INFJs because of their tendency to be intense and perceive things as either right or wrong.
As an INFJ, I learned to let go by being more present and by taking life less seriously. I also realized some of my own thoughts were either inaccurate or unhealthy, and then let go of them.
All personality types have distinct traits and that’s what makes each of them so great and unique.
Unfortunately, strengths can sometimes turn into weaknesses. The INFJ’s determination and idealism can make it especially difficult for them to let go.
Whether it’s letting go of past relationships, ideas that turned out to be not so good, toxic habits and thought patterns — everything, really.
I’m an INFJ myself and in today’s post I’ll try and explain why it can be hard for us to let go, and how I was able to work on that.
INFJ personality type in a nutshell
INFJs are often misunderstood; their thoughts and behavior often seem strange to others.
Driven by their strong intuition (N), and a tendency to prioritize emotions (F) over logic, INFJs see meaning in everything. They are dreamers, and they are intense.
For those who don’t know, here’s what the acronym stands for, and a brief explanation of each term:
- Introverted. Those who are predominantly introverted tend to focus their psychic energy on the inner world (rather than on objects and the external world).
- Intuitive. Whereas sensing types prefer to gather information through their five senses and objective data, intuitive types see the bigger picture; they are interested in what’s possible rather than what’s objective.
- Feeling. When making decisions and interacting with others, the feeling function prioritizes emotions and empathy. The opposite would be the thinking function, which is a more rational, colder way to look at things.
- Judging. Judging types value order and are very organized. They like to plan things, and take deadlines very seriously. Perceiving types, by contrast, would be those who just “go with the flow”.
The INFJ’s dark side
When it comes to letting go, I believe the greatest obstacle for INFJs is the sense of importance and intensity that permeates literally everything they see and do.
I have already said that the INFJ type is intense. This is mainly because of two of the INFJ’s key traits:
- A clear (though not always objective and/or correct) idea of what is good and bad, right and wrong, positive and negative — as they “judge” rather than “perceive”
- The ability to go beyond the tangible world, to imagine, to have dreams which are often more intense than actual reality — as they are “intuitive” rather than “sensing”
INFJs are idealists in the sense that they perceive everything in the world as their own interpretation of it.
This is true for all introverted types, it’s just that the strong intuitive factor (N) and the strong feelings (F) take it to an extreme, not always in a healthy way.
If the INFJ could look at things objectively and suspend judgment for a second, then all the things they cling to would lose intensity and could be let go of.
Naturally this goes against their tendency to dream, and exaggerate or reduce the importance of things (including their own wellbeing) based on how they perceive events.
As an INFJ, I used to hold on to thoughts, people, events, and habits even though it did absolutely nothing for me.
Well, in a way I still do. Only, I have learned to use my energy to focus on what’s truly important rather than obsess things I have no control over.
And I have found that life really is a balance of holding on and letting go, and that the two are equally necessary.
Moreover, I have understood the importance of letting go as one of the foundations of freedom and independence (these are a priority for any INFJ type).
How to let go as an INFJ
These are the realizations/changes that helped me. In no particular order:
1. Be fully present
Each of us has a distorted image of their reality. No one is capable of perceiving their world in a totally objective way.
However, presence can get you pretty close to the state in which judgment is suspended and the world appears as it is.
Most importantly, presence frees the mind from its incessant thoughts. Remove the thoughts and there is nothing to cling to anymore.
2. Get out of your head
INFJs can be quite stubborn. Although perseverance and determination are positive qualities, the same cannot be said for stubbornness or inflexibility.
There is an invaluable skill that helps with this — the ability to detach from your own thoughts and realize that you are not always right.
Your mind makes you hold onto things, but is it always the most sensible decision? Allow yourself to disagree with your own mind from time to time.
3. Allow change
INFJs can be stuck in the past (and find it hard to let go of what has happened) or in the future (and find it hard to let go of their own vision).
You will find that both tendencies are caused by fear of uncertainty and need for control. Remove those and it’s a lot easier to let go.
Once I learned to trust life — some would say surrender to it — then letting go became a way to simply allow life to move me in the right direction, including the one toward my dreams.
4. Take it easy
Last but certainly not least — you want to reduce importance to a minimum and stop seeing everything in your life as intense.
Some things don’t have to be intense. There doesn’t have to be a special meaning behind everything. And life can be taken less seriously.
Know that the very thing you tend to cling to (or your own idea of it) doesn’t have to be that important and therefore can be let go of if it no longer serves you.