Roughly five years ago my then supervisor sent an e-mail to our team with an MBTI test. For those of you who are not aware, MBTI is Myers-Briggs. It was defined by a mother-daughter team based off of Carl Jung’s theory that humans experience the world with four functions: sensation, intuition, feeling and thinking.
I was always fascinated with these types of tests, so I dove right into the questionnaire. After answering all of my answers honestly, I was given four letters: INFJ
I = Introversion (preferred to extraversion)
N = Intuition (preferred to sensing)
F = Feeling (preferred to thinking)
J = Judging (preferred to perception)
A lot of my co-workers came back with EXXX types of personalities but I was quite similar to my supervisor, and that made me quite thankful to know I wasn’t the only introvert in the office. The test came with a comprehensive assessment, and I was blown away by it all. I felt as if I was being described perfectly about how I handle situations.
So what does it mean being an INFJ? I can get exhausted and overstimulated from social interactions and prefer interacting with a handful of people or alone with a book. I am very open-minded, imaginative and curious which can be an asset when looking at the bigger picture. I am sensitive and have a lot of empathy which makes my competitive nature almost non-existent. I have no spontaneity whatsoever – I prefer predictability, structure and am quite organized. Some negatives include; being self-conscious and sensitivity to stress. I experience a wide range of emotions and call myself a “Monica” because of my perfectionistic drive.
I was hooked, this test gave me so much clarity! When I got home later that evening, I tried to soak up as much information as I could. If this summary was completely on point, there must be MORE information that I can gather to make sense of myself.
Guess what? Anxiety ties into INFJ just like PB&J – for years I was led to believe that my personality was “wrong” and always had self-doubt creeping in the back of my mind. Now that I was down a path to learn more about my perception I started to love myself in whole other light. All of those negative opinions of me being “too emotional,” “a loner,” “not trying” seemed to wash over me. If Mother Teresa was an INFJ, it can’t be all that bad!
It’s not even 9 am and I’m already having a case of the Mondays.
Last night before I was heading to bed my husband went into a slight panic attack. Nothing to worry about – I was able to calm him down from a ten to a six within minutes. The only downside to this issue is that I’m an empath.
What the heck is an empath, Andrea?!
So glad you asked! Being an empath means that you can feel others’ energies. The number one trait of an empath is to feel/sense their emotions whether it be physical, spiritual, etc. In layman’s terms – you are an emotional sponge. Being able to process other people’s feelings and energies means that I can sometimes take on what their feeling: sad, anger or in this case, anxiety.
While I was quite eager to help calm down my husband I knew there would be a possibility of his anxiety rubbing off on me, and boy did it hit me hard. I wasn’t able to fully calm myself down until 3 am this morning, and even then I was in and out of sleep till my alarm went off at 7 am.
Fatigue is a big symptom associated with empaths, and I’ve grown quite accustomed to it at this point.
I still pushed on with my morning.
I scheduled an oil change for 8 am and what is a 45-minute appointment (usually) will now turn into a longer wait due to customer backlog. What’s the point of making an appointment? SIGH More people are showing up in the lobby – even though I am in the corner writing this up, I can still touch on the majority of the emotions in this room: tiredness (PREACH) and annoyance.
Being an empath can be a blessing and a curse – I’ll delve more into this later. Due to my environment today I’m letting it affect me more negatively. So, I’m having a case of the Mondays.
Think you might be an empath? Take this quiz to find out:
I’m celebrating my two year wedding anniversary today!
My husband and I have been together for roughly seven years, and our relationship is far from ‘normal.’ We met under some weird circumstances – if you’d like to hear the full story, you can go here for a Drunk History re-enactment (Thank you wedding party!)
When we first met, I pushed my husband to pursue his dream of being a sound recordist for television/film. Even though I knew that this switch would be hard and frustrating, I wasn’t entirely prepared for what was to come. Not having a steady paycheck meant that I needed to compromise and go back into the corporate world and retire my makeup brushes. I wasn’t overly upset about this, freelancing was almost a joke in my field, and you were swimming in a full pool. What caught me off guard was the conflict in schedules.
My husband takes pride in his field, works hard and submits to crazy hours. We don’t get the average quality time that most couples do – in fact, most of my mornings are spent alone as he sleeps off his 12 hour day. During his busy season, I will be lucky to spend a full day with him.
These work hours have not only affected our relationship but has cost him friendships and family time. In the beginning stages of our relationship, this was hard for me to grasp. My anxiety got the best of me, and I started to have doubts, and my fear of abandonment went full throttle – you know what did help? Knowing that we were both never going to give up on each other. He was always there to reassure me and never left my side, even when I couldn’t see past my emotions at that moment.
After years of going through the motions and reading all the relationship advice I could get, I can proudly say that my husband works like this so he can be successful and make our dreams come true. It’s not the fact that he enjoys no quality time and working long hours, he does this because he loves our home and would do anything to make us happy. I’m guilty of not seeing this in the beginning – I’m guilty of not praising him the way that he deserves.
Today I want to acknowledge my husband for all of the hard work and perseverance that he has shown me over the years. I beam with pride whenever I think of his career and how far he’s come in this short amount of time. I respect his work ethic, his intelligence, and his core values. I am thankful for his emotional strength during the lows and his sense of humor during the highs. For better or worse, I am honored to call you my husband.
After pushing myself for a couple of weeks, I decided to take some time and just relax. I’ve been working on several projects and didn’t want to overstretch myself – I’m pretty thankful that I did.
During this small break, I took a look back on my writing career. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always kept a journal, but when I entered high school, I got into poetry. My English teacher at the time, Elaine Smajovits, was so incredibly supportive of my writing. Whenever I had a break or lunch, I would try to hunt her down so she could read my latest entry, always offering advice and a smile. My poetry was reflective of my relationship issues with my adoptive father and I never really shared it with anyone. I did try to share some short stories with my adoptive father and then step-mother, but they were quite dismissive and didn’t offer the support that I needed. I was told to find a “suitable career” and believed writing wasn’t viable. I started to doubt myself, and my dream of becoming a scriptwriter seemed too far-fetched.
When I graduated high school in 2004, I was published in an Anthology “Under the Poet Tree” and was quite proud of myself. My “parents” didn’t even bother to buy a copy of it. I swept my poetry under the rug and went into communications/film studies to hopefully find a better calling. One of the electives that I was able to join was script writing, and I figured I should at least give it a shot. My teacher wasn’t the best and constantly asked why I wanted to be a writer. With no self-confidence, I wasn’t able to answer her. When she initially introduced the course to us, she mentioned she doesn’t give anyone A’s, but I was pretty confident in my final submission. The highest grade I received was a “C,” and I took that as my answer to no longer pursue writing.
I look back on all of these factors and want to hit myself over the head. I let my atmosphere and anxious thoughts get the best of me.
Even at my lowest point, I would continue to write as a form of therapy. I have countless journals and a ton of notebooks scattered around the house. Knowing that this brought me joy I knew that I needed to do something about it. In November 2016 I decided to break some barriers and start a novel. This novel has been years in the making, and I finally had an “Ah-ha!” moment on how to formulate it properly.
Doing it part-time for 16 months brought on some new anxious thoughts, thinking that no one would want to read it but I pushed myself. I was back in my element.
On top of that, I started this blog four months ago and finished/submitted a short story to a local contest. I didn’t want to overstress myself and took last week off from my blog to focus on my novel. I’m glad I did because it’s now in the hands of my proof-reader – I feel ridiculously accomplished.
When I look back on my trials and tribulations, I’m not overly upset with myself that I took a long break. Its normal for us to go through anxiety when starting something new. Remembering Elaine Smajovits’s infectious smile was the push that I needed to jump back into it. Thank you for the push!