How INFJs Transcend The Self By Connecting With Nature, Their Bodies & Extroverted Sensing
Hi Philosophers, Sages, Dreamers, Idealists, and everything in between. I wanted to write this article to help INFJ and INTJ and other types who relate to the introverted iNtuitive dilemma to connect more with Extroverted Sensing and to recognize it’s power in your life.
INFJs and INTJs that have been able to unlock and build a healthier relationship to Extroverted Sensing have a stronger and more healthy relationship to the unconscious, have more energy, flow, and mental balance, and experience stronger insights. A stronger and healthier relationship to nature and your body can do wonders for you as an INFJ, helping you ground your introverted intuition in real and important life events, and helping you use your theories and vision for the betterment of your outside reality, of the present moment, and the friends and family members, and people in your life.
But before we get into that, let’s discuss your powerhorse: Introverted iNtuition.
The Problem with Introverted Intuition
The more introverted, the more conscientious, and the more intuitive you are, the stronger your introverted iNtuition. This function is responsible for a lot more than you think.
It’s an Existential Intelligence, and thanks to the influence of Judging, it’s also a left-brained process, associated with thoughts about the future, what could be, and how to organize your life to achieve your dreams. It makes sense then that many INFJ and INTJ believe this function to be their highest calling, the dominant function, that will solve all their problems, and lead them forward to a better, happier, and more succesful life. However, while this function helps you achieve many of your core needs, for example, your need for a higher purpose, and your need for a future and long-term utopia to work towards, it also keeps you from achieving a connection to nature, your body, and the present moment. Now, you might scoff at me, and say, that such pursuits, are beyond you.
You’re an intellectual, a philosopher, a Sage, a Visionary, beynd worldly pursuits, beyond the body, and beyond simple hedonistic desires for pleasure. But what if I told you that your body contains a higher wisdom, and that a stronger connection to nature could help you achieve a higher level of intuitive wisdom, a more balanced truth, and an answer to the secret mysteries to life. In this article, let’s talk about why nature intelligence, and a strengthened Sensing function, can do miracles to the happiness, and growth, of the INFJ and INTJ personality type, and how you can use this function to achieve Flow in your life.
This link is an article on Psychology Today that discusses the relationship between Extroverted Sensing and Introverted Intuition and how they can work together to help individuals achieve their goals. It could be a useful resource for readers who want to learn more about the topic.
Why Connecting with Extroverted Sensing is Important
I remember when my parents would take me out to the cabin in the woods. We’d sometimes spend an entire week there. I’d hate it. The flies and mosquitos everywhere, the lack of running water and electricity. I’d make the best of it, write, and think, mostly about all the things I was going to do when I got back to civilization. As a kid, I couldn’t understand leaving the house. My own inner world and my own room contained all the most important mysteries of the world. I didn’t need to go anywhere or meet anyone. I was perfectly content just thinking about why I was here, and all the things I would do when I became an adult.
Do you ever think about how much time you spend planning and thinking about the future? All the places you’re going to visit? All the goals you’re going to achieve? All the things you’re going to write, all the discoveries you’re going to make? Compare it to all the time you could be outside, playing with friends, touching the grass, watching birds, and running in the forest. Why do INFJs and INTJs have such an aversion to Extroverted Sensing and the outside world? Most I ask would point to straightforward things, such as, that’s just who I am. Or, if they’d elaborate, they’d say, they just prefer and get more energy doing such things.
If you’d start to dig deeper, many would say they were Highly Sensitive People, a trait only found in 20% of the population. HSPs are said to have unusually intense experiences with sensory stimulation and need more downtime to recharge and scale back to avoid overwhelm. But many of the INFJs and INTJs I’ve interviewed also point to another, more serious problem. Many INFJs and INTJs revealed that they had an extremely difficult childhood and that conflicts at home, bullying, or struggle to socialize and connect with other people, drove them inwards, to their own inner world. It’s worth thinking about.
Overcoming Aversions to Sensory Experiences
Are your aversions to the outside world, and your obsessive focus on the future, a result of a natural inclination based on your personality, or is it the result of trauma, and a general aversion to something you failed to build a healthy relationship with as a child? Perhaps your inner child today, has come to associate going out, parties, and intense experiences, with an anxious response? If that were the case, you might find yourself obsessively overanalyzing and preparing for situations that you might rather just engage within a playful, spontaneous, and more adaptable approach. If that’s the case, it’s worth seriously taking a step back, to consider: Is there a healthy way that I can reconnect with the outside world and my body and the physical and sensory, without becoming overwhelmed and overstimulated, or in a more positive and playful way, that works with and aligns in harmony with my dominant personality traits and interests?
Now, you might be saying “Why should I do that? I’m perfectly happy the way I am.” I’ve spent about a decade doing research on flow, and I recall Jung’s own words on the topic. Jung argued that we experience massive psychic energy when the dominant and inferior move as one, together towards a common cause. And psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi took these ideas on when he was doing his research on the flow state. After analyzing hundreds of top performers, chess players, athletes, and musicians, he made the discovery that flow is the result not just of a strongly developed dominant function, but also a heightened capacity and use of the inferior. It seems that the balance between both, help provide mind-body harmony, and improved connectivity in the brain between these processes, seems crucial to nurturing a synchronous, and harmonious internal state.
Strategies for Nudging Your Brain Out of Its Comfort Zone
When people obsessively develop the dominant function, at the expense of the inferior, internal conflict occurs, and you might find yourself in a situation in which you start running in circles, returning to the same compulsive and stereotypical thinking, over and over. Psychologists call this overdevelopment of specific cognitive functions “Asynchronous development” in which, we have overdeveloped certain traits, at the expense of other, vital and important parts of thinking. So how can you start building a better relationship to Extroverted Sensing and restore your cognitive balance? First, you might want to sit down and reflect on positive things you could achieve through a stronger and healthier relationship to Extroverted Sensing. Think for example about how healthy physical outlets, and practical activities, could help your brain rest and recharge and build new cognitive pathways. Consider how touching things, or engaging in healthy, positive sensory sources of stimulation, could help you develop a stronger connection to nature and the real world.
Recognize how, participating in events in your local environment, right now, could help provide you with outside perspective and practical examples, that you could later analyze and interpret with your introverted intuition Once you’ve started to get clear for yourself, what you could benefit from connecting more with this function, you might want to consider what ways of connecting with this function could work for you. You could, ofcourse, dive right in, as uncomfortable as it is, a dive head in, could help rewire your brain in the most direct fashion possible. But for most people, the most effective strategy seems to be nudging. Nudging is when you slowly “trick” your brain to get used to an activity. If you don’t like going to parties, you might find ways to make the party more fun to you, by finding smaller parties and venues, that offer a more cozy and safe space. But nudging is more than just slowly easing yourself into an activity. For example, there’s the silent disco, where you get to party and dance – but with headphones. Or, there are walks in the forest, photography, videography, vlogging, or meetup.com, a website where you can connect with people locally.
Make a list of your favorite local parks, cafes, and other places that you enjoy visiting. Then, challenge yourself to explore at least one new place each week. You can also search online for meetups and events in your area that align with your interests. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and try something new!
Nudging has to do with finding subtle and creative ways to make initially unappealing activities more appealing and more positive, by connecting them to your core hobbies. For example, humanitarian causes, philosophy cafes, art and painting outdoors, and other events. You might think you don’t have any energy for these things, but often, you have more energy than you think. There are tricks to manage your energy and to endure these events for longer, without becoming drained and overwhelmed, if you start researching HSP, and discuss your feelings with friends and family. People can help you deal with these traits better, if you let them.
Managing Sensory Overload
If you struggle with sensory overload, try using noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs to reduce the amount of noise around you. You might also find activities like yoga or martial arts helpful, as they can help you develop a greater awareness of your body and its sensations. And don’t forget about the power of meditation – even just a few minutes of deep breathing and mindfulness can help you feel more grounded and centered, both indoors and out. You can meditate anywhere, at any time. On the train, at home, or by taking ten minutes to check out when at a busy event.
The goal is to build a stronger and healthier relationship to the outside world. Through connecting with Extroverted Sensing, you can experience a stronger sense of connection to your country, your local environment, and your community. This can help break feelings of loneliness and alienation, and also help provide you with a sense of stimulation and activity. It can also provide cognitive balance and a space to relax and unwind, helping you strengthen your introverted intuition, by allowing it time to rest and take breaks.
The overuse of introverted intuition might not be bringing you towards that positive future you are hoping for. You might be pushing this function so hard, that it gets no time to breathe. Over time, this can cause the function to break down, and your perspectives to become blurry, vague, and ambiguous. I see a lot of INFJs and INTJs with promising ideas and perspectives. But you gotta be able to connect it to something real. Your theories and ideas should be applied to the people right in front of you, the real experiences in your own life, and the real actions that are happening right now, in your community. That way, your ideas can have a real value and meaning to not just yourself, but also, the people in your life.
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