Are you happy with your life? Is it what you want? Is it what you thought it would be? Many INFJs struggle with these questions. We have big dreams for ourselves. We have high expectations and often struggle under the weight of them.
This time of year, when I’m reflecting on the past year and thinking about what I want to accomplish this next year, is when I feel it the most. Not only is it Christmas and New Year’s, but my birthday is right before Christmas and that always puts me in a reflective mood.
Is this all there is? Is what you have what you want? If not, how can you get what you want? How can you live a life of meaning and authenticity?
How to Live the Life You Want with Meaning and Authenticity?
We’ll let’s break it down a little bit. Let’s start with the life you want - what do you want? Do you know? Have you thought about it in detail?
Most people will say that they want more money. But why? Money can bring stability to your life. It can help you pay the bills and provide for your family. Obviously, it’s something important that you need in your life. But can it bring you meaning?
What else do you want in your life? What are you missing? What do you not have that you thought that you would have?
I thought that I would have my own home by now. I live in an apartment, a nice apartment, but it’s not mine. When my lease is up I’ll have to move, again. I’ve moved more times in my life that I can count. There’s a subdivision that I recently stumbled upon not from where I live. The houses are idyllic with wrap around porches and white picket fences. I take my niece’s dog, Goose, for walks there often. I took him for a walk through there today actually. I would love to have one of those houses. It’s motivation for me to work harder.
But, at the end of the day, it’s just a house. It’s not meaning. It’s not going to make me feel fulfilled in the long run. I know this because I hung my hopes on getting a nice apartment and that didn’t work. Before that, I hung my hopes on moving out of my parents house and getting my own apartment and that didn’t work either.
Meaning and authenticity
Let’s back up a little bit more. What is meaning? Why are we looking for it so much? Why do we need it? In episode 133 of The Quiet Ones we talked about having difficult goals.
Why should you bother with looking for meaning, with doing something extremely difficult? Because it’s worth it. Because the opposite is suffering. The opposite is feeling lost and feeling that your life is hopeless and miserable. What’s the point of suffering? Especially if you are the cause of your own suffering. There is no point at all! Life is way too short to be the cause of your own suffering, to know your life is miserable and it’s completely your fault. I can’t bear that thought myself.
For me, the most meaning comes from helping others. There’s research that says helping others by something as simple as volunteering once a month can help lower depression and give you a sense of meaning in your life. Just spending a little bit of time giving back can improve your life tenfold.
Whether you choose to pursue meaning through setting a big goal for yourself and striving to achieve it or by volunteering your time to help the poor or something else entirely, it’s up to you. As long as what you’re doing brings you that sense of meaning that you need and you’re making it a priority in your life.
The other thing we need to talk about is authenticity. For me, authenticity is difficult. I view authenticity as something similar to comfort. Being authentic should feel familiar and comfortable. But I like to pursue meaning with difficult goals and those make me feel uncomfortable. So how do you square the two? How do you push yourself to be better than before, but also stay true to who you are?
I don’t know that I have a good answer for that one actually. It’s something that I struggle with a lot. It often feels like two steps forward and three steps back. So I try to acknowledge the fact that I keep trying and that’s enough for me.
Living the life that I want for me really boils down to one thing: freedom. That’s what I want more than anything. I want the freedom to get out of bed when I want or sleep if I feel like it. I want to make my own rules about the work that I do. I don’t want to have to follow anyone else’s rules. I want to live where I want and go on vacation when I want and help the people that I want to help.
That freedom comes from having my own business. I’ve never known the same type of freedom as this. And I’ve never been as successful in any job I’ve had as I have been in my own business. I’ll give you a good example: Instagram.
I've been working in digital marketing for about 10 years now. I've worked for several different companies in different markets from nonprofit to entertainment to real estate to engineering to B2B. while the businesses have been different, they've all had something in common - they all have arbitrary rules when it comes to social media. There's somebody who's generally 127 years old who makes ridiculous rules about what can and cannot be posted on the business's Instagram. Some businesses wouldn't even allow us to have a business Instagram account. For those that would they would have silly rules like you can't post photos of employees or you can't post outside of business hours or you can't talk about your customers or you can't post photos of the products that you sell. In order to keep your job you have to abide by their silly rules.
When I started my Instagram account for my own business in December of 2018 I felt an immense amount of Freedom. This was the first account that was 100% mine. There was no one telling me what I could and couldn't do. I could do whatever I wanted to do and whenever I wanted to do it. Within the first 6 months I had over 5,000 followers. There were some months where I gained two thousand followers a week. I was shocked when I saw 10000 Followers and even more so when I saw 25,000 followers. Now, I have almost 75,000 followers.
I didn't use the same strategy throughout the whole four years that I've had this account. I change it quite frequently. There were times when I posted 5 Times a day every day of the week. There were also times when I posted less than five times per week. Sometimes Graphics work better. Sometimes videos work better. Sometimes Instagram rolls out something new and you have to change everything to implement their new-fangled toy. But my point is I could do whatever I wanted. If something wasn't working there was nobody else telling me that I could or couldn't change it. I simply changed it.
I want that same kind of freedom in every area of my life. I want to talk about what I want to talk about and when I want to talk about it. I want to work when I want to work and not work when I don't want to work. I want to buy the house that I want to buy in the car that I want to buy. But mostly, I want to help people in this process. I want you to be just as successful if not more so than I am.
Write for your life
One of my resolutions this year is to spend more time helping others. A lot of people ask me about writing and podcast and how to grow followers on Instagram. Instagram has given me another one of their newfangled toys which is called subscriptions. I'm just learning how to implement this new toy into my business and so I thought a great way to use it would be to talk about the process behind running your own business. So if you're interested in a behind-the-scenes look at how I run my blog and my podcast and mostly my Instagram account you can go over to my Instagram page which is at INFJ Woman and click on the button that says subscribe.
I want to help you live the life you want with meaning and authenticity. Many INFJs end up wanting to write for a living or wishing they could. I did. But I never thought that I could make a living from writing. I started a blog in 2018 because I wanted to get some practice writing. I had no idea it would become the thing that consumed my thoughts, plans, ideas, hopes and dreams for the next 4 years and then some!
A lot of people ask me about the process of writing and even more people have told me that it’s their New Year’s Resolution, that like me, they’re starting a blog now or are planning to in January. So, I decided to put together a free 5-day bootcamp to talk about what I went through with starting my blog 4 years ago, share all of the good, bad and ugly, and help you plan what you should be doing without making all of the mistakes that I did.
You can join by going to https://infjwoman.com/challenge/. It’s called Write for your Life. All of the fun starts January 9, 2023.