one can see how and where he loses his way."
* * *
going to read like a shameless plug for my services. And you're
welcome to view it that way if you like. I feel like one of those
late-night infomercials where the guy says he was so impressed by the product,
he bought the company!
thought it was just me. My self-esteem has been in the toilet for a large
part of my life. I didn't know I was eligible for Mensa until I was in my
forties (even though I'd been eligible since my high school freshman years
according to my transcript) -- but even when I found out, it didn't banish the
niggling fear that I was stupid, nor reverse the damage done by decades of
suffering with low esteem. Really!
While I could walk onstage and look confident in a role, or in class I might sound
confident to others,
that didn't translate into real life where I often felt miserable and
clueless. My insides didn't match my outsides at all.
I was in a
relationship for many years with someone who had amazingly high
self-esteem. We joked about starting a production company and naming it
after him: Megalomania Productions.
can't even imagine being a megalomaniac.
you've guessed the punchline: coaching turned it around for me.
While I'm still not egomaniacal, five
months of coaching confronted many of my demons, irrational fears, and the
persistent belief that everybody else on the planet was more important than me.
actually take all that much to nurture my spirit back to life. INFJs are
hardy folks who respond well to a little focused attention.
didn't do it for me. I'd been to several therapists in my time and got
nowhere. Therapy left me feeling broken, desperate, helpless -- my
service providers failed to throw me a lifeline.
my coach didn't throw me any lifelines either. But she asked me powerful
questions that renewed my spirit, connected me to my own power, and validated
my progress. How something so simple could make such a huge difference I'll
like the infomercial guy, I "bought" the company. Well not
exactly. What happened is I became a coach. And now I give back by
helping others like my coach helped me.
thing is, it's hard to sell INFJs on coaching. Yup, they resist it.
Why? Several reasons: sometimes they think they can't afford it or
don't deserve it. Other times they believe they have to "go it
alone" and pull themselves up by their bootstraps. (Who knew INFJs
could be such independent loners?) Sometimes they embody low self-esteem
patterns by displaying the nigh-irrational belief
that they should be able to figure this stuff out on their own, despite all
evidence to the contrary. Crazy!
really. I do mean crazy. Because here's the thing: after
hanging around the type world for the past decade, I learned that INFJs typically
suffer from low self-esteem. Here I thought it was just me, but no.
Apparently it's a universal INFJ problem. INFJs are renowned for doing a
number on themselves and convincing themselves they don't measure up, can't
deliver the goods, don't deserve happiness, lack the looks/talent/skills that
others have, and must generally settle for a second-class lifestyle. Type
descriptions make them sound like paragons, but it doesn't appear to play out that
know. Perhaps it's because introverted Feeling (our sense of identity) is in the
domain of the Witch/Senex, or because introverted Sensing (recalling) is our demonic
-- so we torture ourselves with memories of failure, or because our Thinking is
goofy in both the introverted and extraverted forms... or because we have an
extraverted Sensing inferiority complex that holds us back. We want to
look good so much we end up looking bad. Or maybe it's because with extraverted
iNtuiting opposing us, we limit ourselves from considering other
possibilities. So many
choices! So many excuses.
is, it seems to be inherent in our pattern.
INFJs are destined to battle this challenge every day in every way. And
look "together" while doing it!
Trust me, I
was as surprised as anybody to learn it's chronic. And that's why I'm writing
this picture with the ENTJ medical doctor I know, who served on a White House Committee for alternative medicine and was in charge of the UCLA Pain
Unit. He has a standing appointment with a therapist every week that he
faithfully keeps. Even when he doesn't have something to talk about, even
when the therapist suggests taking a hiatus, this ENTJ says,
"No! This is my time to talk about what's going on with me, and I
will not forfeit that time. It's important for me to know I have an
outlet, even if I have nothing to talk about."
don't like the idea of coaching because of the accountability aspect. I
understand that -- the idea of somebody nagging me to do something I don't want
to do doesn't appeal to me either. However, as far as I'm concerned, the
accountability occurs in the coaching itself. Simply by virtue of
accounting for *yourself* and what's going on with you by talking to somebody
about it qualifies as accountability. It's not like you have to suddenly
catch up on all your filing like you keep threatening to do.
perspective, it's almost hilarious how fast INFJs solve their own problems
just by hearing themselves talk out loud to a coach about them -- it's the
"talking out loud to a coach" part that makes all the
challenge resonates for you, please get help. Talk to somebody. You
can talk to me. If you're suffering in any way,
recognize it as a signal that change is needed. Reach out and let
somebody support you -- and I don't mean somebody who's going to make you wrong,
prescribe you pills, or treat you like you're broken. In my book, it means get yourself a coach of some kind.
some other way of redressing this INFJ self-esteem problem for yourself.
somebody to confide in who believes in you.
to go it alone. You've done that far too long already.
* * *