As an INFJ empath, you probably never feel more alone than when you’re in a room full of disingenuous people. You are never more at peace than when you’re connected with another highly empathic being. You seek comfort in the world of complex and abstract ideas. Your energy is often drained by those who lack empathy and compassion. It is revived by those in your tribe who truly “get” you.
Relationships with others can result in spiritual transcendence or spiritual blockages. You can get derailed easily by the toxic vibes of others and put back on track when redirected to your inner voice. You’re overwhelmed by the hatred in the world; bullies, predators, and naysayers can make a meal out of your emotions. They feast on your sensitivity and your perceived gentleness. Yet these people tend to be your greatest teachers of personal growth.
Beneath your gentle exterior, you are a fiery, complex, multifaceted being, waiting to set the world on fire with your truth. But you reveal yourself by layers–one by one–and it can take a lifetime for someone to really know you. Some never do. Sometimes, you’re not even sure you fully know yourself.
You try to find the meaning in everything. Your soul feels the most fulfilled when you are giving back by sharing your insight. Pondering the world and your place in the universe, you feel the sacred connectedness of every action, every reaction, and every person that crosses your path, because you intuitively understand that they are a part of your life’s journey, too. In your world, synchronicities are miracles. You are hungry for deep connections with others. No matter how weak or overwhelmed you’ve felt, you move through the world with a quiet resolve, an inner strength that is unparalleled, despite the adversity you’ve faced.
What is an Empath?
According to Dr. Judith Orloff, author of the book, Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life, empaths are: “…highly sensitive, finely tuned instruments when it comes to emotions. They feel everything, sometimes to an extreme, and are less apt to intellectualize feelings. Intuition is the filter through which they experience the world. Empaths are naturally giving, spiritually attuned, and good listeners. If you want heart, empaths have got it. Through thick and thin, they’re there for you.”
Being an empath doesn’t necessarily mean you are an INFJ personality type, as empaths can be from a variety of personality types. However, INFJs tend to be natural empaths. And, due to our high sensitivity, eerily on-point intuition, and rich inner worlds, we have a lot to give to the world. We find unconventional and conventional ways to share our gifts in ways that can change the lives of others, including our own. We tend to be the healers of the world. Yet the world takes a lot from us, quite easily, and we usually need a great deal of solitude to recharge.
While being an empath can be exhausting, it is also a gift to be able to connect with others and heal them. Many empaths who are also INFJs benefit from using their gifts in professions that heal, care for, or counsel others. Being an INFJ empath means we have to protect ourselves very carefully and wisely. Because empaths have such porous boundaries in terms of how they’re enmeshed energetically and emotionally with others, it’s important to filter out negative, toxic people as well as negative energy. We can do this by giving ourselves some sacred vows to live by in terms of what we will and won’t tolerate in our relationships.
5 Tips for INFJ Empaths
There are five tips that I’ve learned from being an INFJ empath that may help you to resolve the notorious inner conflict we experience: save the world or save ourselves? The answer lies in both—saving the world while creating very strong boundaries that will ultimately save ourselves.
1. Boundaries. As both introverts and empaths, we may have difficulty asserting ourselves, but learning to communicate our boundaries in a healthy way is vital for us to stay grounded. I always advise others to make a non-negotiable contract of boundaries (here is an example list that one of my readers made when I suggested this).
These are at least ten sacred vows you make with yourself about what you won’t tolerate in any relationship. These can be basic or specific and customized to your needs and standards (i.e., “I won’t tolerate any form of abuse” vs. “I won’t tolerate anyone who speaks condescendingly to me.”) Then, make sure you follow through with ending a toxic interaction even before it has had time to build. Do this by recognizing when your boundary is being crossed, asserting your boundary, and reinforcing it by taking yourself out of the toxic interaction altogether if it is not addressed appropriately.
2. Extreme self-care. Extreme self-care is asking yourself every day, “What do I need in this moment?” This practice acknowledges how self-care is selfless, rather than selfish, because the more energy you have, the more energy you have to give to the world. It means addressing your needs almost as attentively as you would the needs of a child, being in tune with how your energy feels, and nurturing yourself without apologies or excuses.
If your need is to get some sleep, it may be better for you to finish up that project tomorrow. If the need is having fun, perhaps you need to schedule a night out. If your need is for solitude, then it’s time for quiet reflection. Whatever it is that you need in order to replenish your reserves, do it. The world needs you and your gorgeous energy.
3. Energy work. Empaths can pick up on residual energy and be deeply affected by the energetic vibrations of others.Cleansing your energy means clearing your sacred spaces–physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, and sexually. Engage in forms of exercise that you enjoy in order to cleanse your body of trapped energy: do yoga, meditate, listen to calming music, or clear the clutter in your physical spaces.
Avoid intimacy with toxic people. Connect with the power of nature as a sacred space of healing. Energy clearing can take any form you feel is right for you–whether it be a chakra healing meditation or a session on the treadmill, do whatever you can to keep yourself cleansed of toxic energies. When you do this, you’ll reconnect with your natural, uplifting energy.
4. Visualization. Imagining a barrier around you that separates you from others can help remind you that you are an independent entity. This can be any barrier you feel represents you; imagine yourself bathed in white light or surrounded by a brick wall that deflects any negative energies coming your way.
Visualization is all about reinforcing the idea that you don’t have to take on the feeling states and projections of others. You have a right to your own energy, your own viewpoint, and your own perspective about yourself. You can stay grounded in your own truth and not have to take on the dysfunction of others.
5. Selective community. Surround yourself with only those who respect your boundaries and those who appreciate you and see your worth. INFJ empaths may have a hard time connecting with superficial people but may be pressured by society to conform. Please don’t sacrifice your uniqueness to fit in. The world needs your gentle guidance, your beautiful spirit, and your creative mind. Don’t chase afterwho undermine you, belittle you, and demean your dreams or insights. Keep the people who see you for the treasure you really are. You deserve to be just as respected, honored, and cherished as any other person. As an INFJ, you have the right to honor and love yourself.