It’s a typical response: I’ve always been this way… or… All INTJs are like this. The indulgence of your weaknesses is a choice.
As a coach, I hear it all. I especially frown upon those excuses that are based on a personality weakness.
INTJs have a few quirks that we are well known for. Being blunt, showing little to no emotional responses, and poor communication are the typical trifecta. But having poor communications skills, or not being emotionally mature, are due to your own inaction and effort. It is not due to your personality.
Let’s be clear… communication skills and emotional maturity are skills to learn, regardless of personality or situation.
Some people will be naturally gifted with communication or emotional resilience. Either it’s in their nature (their personality), or it’s something they learned early in life. Either way, it’s learned. We are not born with these skills.
We all know them, the types that are okay with being assholes. Heck, you may even be one! Let’s step away from the ignorance that it’s a trait that someone has forever and explore what evolving skills looks like.
For the INTJ, it can be easy to hide behind these feelings of “I don’t care”. In so many ways, they don’t care. An INTJ is less affected by other people’s emotional states, their emotional needs, or societal norms around empathy and compassion. This does not mean those states don’t exist and that the INTJ can continue to “not care”.
Consider a more tangible example: these will be gradual…
- I want to be able to fly, but the human form cannot by itself. I have to conform to that regardless of my strong desire to fly
- The human palette craves sweets. We do so because sweets had calories and thousands of years ago those extra calories could make the difference between life and death. However, I cannot simply give in to those cravings now because it would create health hazards
- I still have my Fight, Flight, or Freeze responses, but due to societal changes I have to learn a more appropriate response to those triggers (more on this topic later!)
- I have no desire to indulge “small talk” about the weather, how someone is doing, what they’ve done recently, etc. But I need to respect those around me and find a balance between our mutual conversational interests
- I don’t feel like I need to respond to everything someone says, however, some response may be required as a part of communication
- Being logical and concise is great and I value this type of efficient communication, however, not all people communicate that way and I need to learn multiple modes of communication in order to be understood
There is no right or wrong way to feel. Your emotions are your own and how you feel is a gift you give yourself as you experience the world. You need to embrace your feelings, your emotional responses, yet ensure you’ve reflected on them prior to any action you take. Hasty emotional responses often neglect to address our true needs. Thus we feel unfulfilled and are apt to continue to marinate in the emotion until it’s resolved.
There is one feeling in particular that strong people do not like to feel, and that’s vulnerability.
To avoid being vulnerable they will do everything else. They will be angry or apathetic. The real issue with being vulnerable is fear. What if you indulge vulnerability?
- Will you be hurt by someone?
- Will you hurt them?
- Will your job suffer?
- Will you not finish something?
- Will you be sad?
- What’s the worse that can happen if you allow yourself to be fully vulnerable?
The worse that can happen is that you realize you have assholes in your life that take advantage of your vulnerability. I consider that a gift. Purge them like you would a rotten banana.
Only when you embrace your vulnerability can you see the path to addressing your weaknesses and becoming stronger.
You will see your weaknesses differently, without judgment, but as unfinished projects.
You’ll see that communication is a desire and need to be understood and to sincerely understand others. No, that doesn’t mean agreement, just comprehension. You’ll begin to value the art and science of communication and will have purpose in your quest to be better.
You’ll see that emotional maturity and resilience are gifts for yourself. It gives you stability and peace. It allows you to enjoy emotions and use them as input for the actions you’ll take, and not as drivers themselves. You’ll be comfortable with your emotions, and you’ll know when particular emotions need to be nurtured.
Spring is a time for growth and renewal. Use this season as a catalyst. No more excuses. Be vulnerable, let others be vulnerable, and hold each other accountable for the maturity in our emotional responses and communication. Can you imagine a world without assholes or drama-mongers? I can’t… but I’d like to 😉