“We write to taste life twice.” Anais Nin
My niece came to live with me a few months ago. She’s 18 and still trying to figure out the whole adult thing. Not long after that, she got a golden retriever puppy that we named Goose Graham Galifianakis. Don’t let his cute little face fool you - he’s a monster.
It’s been a lot of change in all of our lives. I wasn’t really thinking about it until the last couple of weeks, but just about everything that can change did. In April, my niece flew to Boston from Las Vegas and she started a new job. We moved to a new apartment in May. I started a new job in June and Goose arrived in August. It’s been one overwhelming change after another.
I’ve been overwhelmed a lot, though I attributed a lot of it to my new job, which is very stressful and busy. But then I started snapping over silly, little things. I noticed that I’ve been angry a lot so I tried to investigate the cause of the anger. I checked the normal thing: am I tired? Am I hungry? Am I stressed about something? Is there a reason for this anger? I don’t tend to get angry and stay that way, so I really wanted it to stop.
When something big, or even medium-sized, happens in my life, I tend to get overwhelmed with emotions. I don’t know what I’m feeling, I just know that I’m feeling a lot of it all at once. I end up feeling numb, really. That feeling can go on for a while, depending on the extent of the event. It someone yells at me at work, that’s a 2-week numb feeling. If I move to a new place, that can be a 2 - 4 month numb feeling.
And even though this has been my life forever and I’ve been fully aware of it for a few years now, sometimes I’m still kind slow to recognize what’s happening. But when I do finally recognize it, then I know what to do to help fix it.
Writing is crucial for every INFJ
People often say that talking about your problems helps and it does, but not all of us have someone that we can talk to about everything that comes up in our lives. Instead of talking to people, I write. Writing is the lifeline that I needed to help figure out what is going on in my head. When I write, I’m forced to sort through what’s really happening. I have a structured system of explaining how I feel and why and there’s no pressure to say it correctly the first time or to say it quickly. It can all be thought out and edited until it’s acceptable to me.
This is why so many INFJs write. We need it. It’s how we survive. It’s how we communicate who we are and what we’ve experienced in this horrible, awful world. Here’s what writing has done for me and what it can do for you:
Writing will help you figure out what you’re feeling and why
So many times, when I’m feeling overwhelmed and numb, I start journaling about my feelings. I let the words flow without any critique or judgment. More times than not, I’m surprised at what comes out. It’s the ability to work out how I feel without exposing myself to the opinions of others that I love. I know that finding the right words in my own way and time makes all the difference to me. It’s the thing that I need to sort out the overwhelm and get back to me.
Writing will help you figure out who you are
I’ve struggled with knowing who I am for most of my life. I feel like Alice in Wonderland, “It's no use going back to yesterday because I was a different person then." Every day I wake up it’s something new. I’ve wholly reinvented myself 6 different times in my life, and I’m not satisfied with the current version either.
But in order to do the things you want to do, you need to start with understanding who you are now and who you’ve been before. So many people skip this step and struggle with making changes. I want to know who I am and why I am the way that I am. That helps me to understand who I interact with others and how I can improve myself without being extremely overwhelmed and lost.
Writing will help you learn how to communicate effectively
Once you understand who you are, then the magic begins. Now you can learn to communicate effectively too. Writing helps you learn how to think and how to organize those thoughts in a way that you and others will understand.
“Be articulate. Because that’s the most dangerous thing you can possibly be.” Jordan Peterson
If you can write, you can speak more effectively too. Now you can talk to people and convince them of things. You can give presentations and formulate arguments effectively as well. Your opportunities will increase exponentially. And with opportunities generally comes money as well.
Writing will help you stand up for yourself and create boundaries
I’ve had a problem with boundaries for most of my life. I want people to like me so I’ve allowed them to walk all over me with the hope that they would return my sacrifice with some form of love or acceptance. That never happens. What actually happens is they realize I will do anything they ask me to and they take advantage of that.
I realized this problem about 5 - 6 years ago and decided that I needed to set some boundaries. But setting boundaries is really hard when you’ve never done it before. I started playing out the arguments in my head and then I started writing them down. I wanted to be prepared for the confrontations when they came up. I was amazed at how much writing helped me through this process. There’s something magical about writing down how you’re feeling and hitting the exact words on the spot. It changes everything. It’s empowering and moving all at the same time.
Writing will help you become the person you deeply desire to be
We’re all here for the same reason, me and you both. You’re reading my INFJ Woman blog because you want to know more about yourself. That’s why I’m writing it too, because I want to know more about me. What’s the point of knowing more about yourself? It’s so that you can change and grow and expand into something new.
We all have a version of our future selves in our heads that we play around with. We imagine who we will be a year from now or five years from now. Maybe you’re skinnier, richer, or in a whole different place than you are now. You’re happier there. That’s the dream: to be happier than you are today. That’s the hope that keeps you going and striving for something new, something better.
I know all about being thankful for what you have today and being happy with being present. That’s all good and well and it has it’s place. But you also need something to motivate you to keep pushing yourself to evolve, to grow, to learn, and to be better.
The dream of the future me is what motivates me to keep going. I write down those dreams so that I can figure out how to get there. I don’t want it to be a dream forever. I want it to be a goal of constant improvement and growth. I’m here to learn so that I can do better in the future.
Writing is crucial for your life
Writing is crucial for so many reasons. If you’re thinking about writing and you’ve been thinking about it for a while, now is the time to get started. There’s no time like the present. And while you’re writing, why not figure out how to make money from it in the process? We could all use more money, right?
I'm breaking all of that down, plus diving into how to write as an INFJ, on this FREE addition to The Quiet Ones podcast. Check it out here.