Don’t Fear the Spark Within You

INFJs are no stranger to broken hearts. A personality with a strongly held sense of idealism and a thirst for justice and equality living in this world is a personality that will always be a little bit heartbroken.

Underlying our quiet exterior, empathy and agreeable nature is a dangerous passion. Passion is what drives our pursuit of a more perfect world. It gives us something to live for. It keeps us up at night. It is a calling toward self-sacrifice and, if we’re not careful, significant self-neglect.

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Passion is fire. Fire burns. Burns hurt.

Everyday we wander through a world that doesn’t care about our ideals. A world in which fortunes are made by violating laws with no penalty. A world full of selfishness, cruelty and pain. A world of oppression, abuse and neglect. A world full of mistakes.

Even if you try to shut out the noise, righteous indignation will just burn brighter within you. And your empathy will remind you that “there is none righteous, no, not one” — not even you. Next the INFJ will blaze all the more, turning the focus onto how they should be better.

Don’t Take Metaphoric Tums to Stop Your Heart’s Burn

I went to law school to make a difference. To be an advocate. To guide those who are lost. To help those who seek to find. To show people the great strength and beauty that lies within them. And so I found myself working at legal aid.

Immediately, I discovered that I was overwhelmed by the fire. The pain, the misfortune, the loss. The systemic problems, the abuse at the hands of government. The sexism and racism and bigotry and stigma were in front of me all at once calling for me to answer them — daring me to challenge their power.

I could not bear the weight of this confrontation between my idealism and my world. photo-1450045439515-ff27c2f2e6b1So I did something I’m not proud of: I shut it up deep inside and I ran away. I could not face this pain. To answer the call terrified me. So like the Jewish prophet, Jonah, I chose to run in the other direction, as fast and as far as I could go.

I tried to do anything other than the actual hard work required of me to broker a peace between my ideals and my actual capacity to contribute. I tried to do nothing. Then, failing that, I tried to find alternative ways to half-heartedly act without being true to my values.

But to ignore what was in my soul was to let the fire consume my integrity. To lose faith in my self. To break.

photo-1439707769435-4bf7b5f265baPassion is Pandora’s Box.

I hear people say, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” For an INFJ, that is gibberish. Intellectually, you know that your ideal world can never exist and yet you feel compelled to wonder about it, to challenge yourself with the comparison of how much closer you have moved the needle with your contributions. Who have you taught something? How have you helped someone grasp at their potential? When did you last encourage or uplift someone? What peace have you helped to broker?

INFJ’s feel compelled at all times to be a better human being than they can ever be. And I’m sure scares you to know that give though you might, you will never be able to fix everything. Still, it is better to keep making a difference and staying true to your ideals than to try to ignore the fire. For an INFJ, the passion never dies and the challenge is unending.

So I ask you: knowing what lies beneath would you rather the spark set your soul, or the broken parts of my world, ablaze? I’ve decided to open the box.

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