Your Dominant and Auxiliary Functions- MBTI INFJ
Have you ever wondered why you are the way you are and how you can fully use your personality type and nature to excel in life? Have you wondered what is your purpose? These are are one of the major questions I ask myself ever since I graduated college up to this day.
Life is different outside school, we start to question a lot of things. With no professors and mentors to provide us a schedule, homework and guidance is a challenge for all of us. This is the day we are faced with reality and feel the need to start deciding for our future.
As an INFJ-T type and a perfectionist, I wanted to be certain of the directions I take in every aspect of my life. Just like when I am driving to one destination, before I decide to take a route, I would usually plan out and analyze first every possible directions I know in my mind, taking into account all the traffic, people, road blocks, holidays and schedule. It all boils down into wanting to be practical, to save time, resources, stress and most importantly to be productive.
Although being a perfectionist has its own pros and cons, it can be impractical and inflexible but that is not what I am going to write about today. I will be writing about my thoughts on how we can know ourselves better in terms of our personality type, nature and how we can use it to reach our potential and purpose.
The Myers-Briggs test indicator (MBTI) is one of the personality type indicator test I find very helpful and useful in understanding why we are the way we are. I might not be the best person to explain it in details but I will try to share how I can relate to it from my own subjective point of view and analysis.
Before I go on in explaining how the type indicator functions apply to me, let me first share with you a link that could give you a brief idea on what the cognitive functions are since these are the basis for understanding on how we live, believe, perceive, judge and decide.
As an INFJ-T, the four cognitive functions would be Ni, Fe, Ti and Se in consecutive order. Ni is considered the highest used function and stands for introverted intuition, Fe for extraverted feeling, Ti for introverted thinking and Se for extraverted sensing.
With the Ni as my dominant function, I tend to have a lot going on in my mind. Just like an operating system in the computer, my mind can’t just stay still, it needs to always work before other functions can work. This only happens when I am interested in something or in someone I care about, my mind would constantly gather all my thoughts, knowledge and information I have on that object or person then connect them altogether, predicting all the possibilities that could happen in the future and then finally coming up with a conclusion.
To further illustrate, this is what happens in the mind of an INFJ-T, just imagine a place with no one in it, just empty and then there is an object or person I am interested about at the center, all the information gathering around it just like spider web, trying to connect them altogether, analyzing the patterns of it from the past to present, predicting what could happen in the future and then come up with a theory or conclusion. If there is a new piece of information that could change the whole thing, my mind would go back to trying to connect them again, predict all the possibilities and come up with a new conclusion.
Sometimes, if the information is too much and always changing, this could drive me crazy and exhausted easily yet challenging. This is why it can be very draining if we (INFJs) are always in our heads.
With the Fe as my auxiliary function, I tend to feel a lot of things that I may not be able to understand easily at one sec. This is why there are times when I need to be alone in order to gather my thoughts, using my Ni and then analyze what I really feel and want to do about it.
With my Fe, especially when I am around people, I tend to be very careful, aware and sensitive to what they feel, to the point of wanting to make sure that they have what they need and are happy. So, if someone is alone and sad in a huge group party, I could sense it easily and would usually have this nudge bothering me to either tend to this person or ignore it. If I choose to ignore it, chances are that I would regret it later on. Its just the way I really am, I care too much about people. If someone cries or is depressed or angry about something, I get bothered easily. It is possible that I would cry and be angry too as if it were my own. Then I would usually use my Ni to think of solutions for this person.
They say INFJs are highly emphatic and I can agree to that. It is not that I can brag about it but it could be exhausting. Sometimes I would feel like wanting to give this gift away for while so I could be at peace. Imagine you have a crazy mind already, then you get highly emotional and you would feel like you just want to shut everything off for the moment. Its crazy but yes I admit, it can be cool too.
This is why, based on my experience, there will be times I would want to get away from everybody in order to be alone. I wanted to know and distinguish what I do really care about, what I really feel and what I really want to do apart from those around me.
With Ti as my tertiary function, I tend to think a lot about what I am going to say, write and present based on my NiFe. I think about how I am going to properly express my thoughts and feelings. This is probably the reason why I can be very meticulous. I want every word I say and action I do perfect and accurate. I believe this is where our (INFJs) self-criticism and self-judgement come from. Based on what I have observed, I can see that those personality types with high level of thinking functions would usually be very hard on themselves. We find it difficult to move on from the small mistakes in our way of delivering a message to people. This then can turn us out to be inflexible.
Looking at the bright side, Ti can actually be useful for INFJs because it helps interpret our thoughts and feelings in a sensible way where it can be easily understood by people we share with.
For example, when I have decided to write a blog or shoot a vlog, my Ti would make sure that I say and do what I want to really express. There has to be a sense of purpose or meaning to what I create. It wants to ensure that I have read and watched enough to make it the best it can be until my Ti is satisfied and that is before sharing it with other people.
So I tell you, when a typical INFJ shares something that is editable, they will read and watch it over and over again and then edit it if they find anything wrong with it. Our Ti wants everything to be perfect, it is just the way it is. If we shared something that is not editable and did not deliver the whole message we want to express, it will drive us to thinking of the what ifs, imagining the what could have been and then we will eventually need some time to move on.
With Se as my inferior function, the weakest function of all, I tend to be forgetful and not aware of what is happening at the present time. This is probably because I spend most of the time and energy in my head and thinking about the future too often. So if I am asked to memorize or do activities that has nothing to do with my interests with regards to my NiFe, I can get stressed easily. Especially during moments that are time-constrained, I tend to have a hard time understanding everything right away. I believe that I am the type of person that needs to take the time of my own pace in order to gather every information first, using my NiFe to fully absorb everything and taking them to heart until I understand it completely.
I can say this is probably the reason why they say INFJs are known as the “old souls” because we are often not aware of what is going on in the present. For example, when I am with friends who are of different personality types, they would talk about the latest games, songs, news and fashion that has nothing to do with my NiFe interests, this is where I tend to have a hard time to catching up with them. These are usually the topics I could hardly relate to and have a hard time talking about. For me, I would usually prefer to talk about the history, the whys, the meaning and purpose of everything. These are the kind of topics that don’t usually bore me and are the topics I am comfortable talking about.
Now that I have shared with you how my type works, I believe you could do the same too. It took a while for me to reflect on these things and see how I could relate to these functions. It took time. So, if you really want to know who and why you are the way you are, you need to be patient. Once we know the connection, we can dig deeper into understanding how we can use these functions for our everyday life and future. This way, we will be able to understand and learn how to manage ourselves properly, know when to stop overusing the functions and be content with what we are.
So, how can we use it in our everyday life and future?
Growing up, I have always thought that I was destined to be someone who loves math, data, computers and fields that requires logical reasoning instead of someone who loves to express emotions through arts, writing and to have the desire to help other people. I thought I was the person who is not very emotional, caring and loving about people. I saw these as weak characteristics, this I always preach to myself.
But ironically, I have always loved movies that have a hero in it. I have always loved the thought of saving humanity. I just never thought that I could be that person. I was confused, I didn’t know who I really am and did not know my identity.
Back then, I was the kind of person who loved to manipulate other people into doing what I want. I was selfish and living out the shadow functions of my type. Some may say that they never saw me selfish but that is because they do not know the truth behind it. All the strings I pulled off in manipulating people. I wasn’t genuine and I do regret it a lot.
This was not until April 2014 when I encountered God, He showed me that it was wrong and I wasn’t living my life the way it should be. He showed me that this isn’t the kind of person He wants me to be. He did not create me this way. And I thank God for that. So, as I move on with my life trying to know my purpose and destiny, I took the time into getting to know myself more.
Our dominant and auxiliary functions are the keys into knowing our potential. They are the gifts from God to who we are created and meant to be and that we should fully utilize it. We can use it to fulfill our purpose. Since NiFe is my dominant and auxiliary functions, I can create products with it. It will be natural and fulfilling for me to do something or make products that are relevant to what I “feel” about. I need to feel first before I can make a good product. Since my feelings are so great with people, I can empathize and think of ideas on how I can help them meet their needs and potential. To support and help my Fe, I can also use my introverted intuition (Ni) to come up with solutions. The Ti and and Se are there to support the first two functions.
Some may say that the tertiary (Ti) or inferior (Se) function is working well with the dominant function (Ni) but I believe that in most cases, it would not last long. The chances are you won’t happy and not reaching towards to your fullest potential and fulfillment.
When I was living my shadow functions, the opposite of what my cognitive functions are, it led me to my downfall. I wasn’t fruitful and unhappy with what I was doing. I knew then that I was not close to reaching my fulfillment and potential. Something was always lacking and missing. This is why we should understand first our primary functions.
There was a time that all along I was using my Ti along with my Ni instead of my Fe, which turned out to be very unnatural and difficult for me. I wanted to create products that do not need to involve human emotions but unfortunately, I did not succeed in it. It wasn’t natural for me. Only the INTJs can do this, since they have a dominant and auxiliary functions of NiTe, this would be natural for them.
The point here is that we should not try to be what we are not, there is a reason to why we have the top two functions first in the first place. We can always do something creative out of our primary key functions.