Dealing With INFJ Doubt
INFJ Professional Life

Dealing With INFJ Doubt

I started INFJ Blog as a way to offer resources, advice, and relatable content for people who identify as an INFJ personality type. I also wanted to address certain topics more thoroughly than I’m able to on my INFJ Twitter and Tumblr accounts. But even as I sit here writing these words, my mind is full of doubt. Who am I to offer advice for INFJs?

Dealing with INFJ doubt is something I’ve struggled with my entire life. But what is it that causes INFJ doubt? I think about the other INFJs I know and realize that INFJ doubt is something that many of them struggle with as well. There are so many wonderful qualities that INFJs possess, so then why are we always in constant battle with ourselves?

There are a few things that cause INFJ doubt, and learning to both accept and work through these things is important when it comes to reaching our full potential as INFJ personality types.

1. Idealism

INFJ personality types are idealists. We see the world not as it is, but as it should be. Because of this, we have high expectations for ourselves and others. Everything we do needs to have a deeper meaning. This idealism causes INFJs to doubt ourselves regularly. Are we really doing all that we can to make a difference? If we make a decision for ourselves is that being selfish? Should we consider the opinions of others more? Because INFJs see the world in shades of gray rather than black and white, outside opinions weigh heavily on our shoulders. So we spend a lot of time looking at something from every perspective instead of following our intuition, which is usually right, to begin with.

2. Authenticity

INFJs value authenticity and it’s important for us to seem genuine. Because of this value, we can get hurt anytime anyone accuses us of being fake or having secret intentions. When we’re trying to make a decision we ask ourselves, ¨By making this choice am I really being true to myself?¨ For example, if an INFJ has dreams of becoming an actor and ends up becoming famous, they’ll probably struggle with doubt and guilt, because becoming famous was not the initial intention and the celebrity image may not reflect their real personality.

3. Perfection

Like other Judging types, INFJs are perfectionists. In our minds, nothing we do is ever as perfect as it should be. I love to write, and I do so almost every day, but I’ve only actually published maybe 1 percent of anything I’ve ever written. This is probably the hardest hurdle for INFJs to get over when it comes to IN?FJ doubt, but it’s important to learn to let go of our internal perfectionism when it comes to going after what we really want in life.

4. Laziness

This isn’t an INFJ-specific quality. In fact, many INFJs are extremely hard workers and I definitely wouldn’t use lazy to describe them. However, sometimes when you struggle with a lot of doubt, it seems easier to just escape from the doubt by giving up completely and spending your time watching Netflix rather than pursuing your passion. All humans are guilty of this. But don’t sit around and let the doubt win. Get off your butt and show that INFJ doubt who’s boss!

Do you agree/disagree? What steps have you taken to try to get over INFJ doubt?

Megan is an introvert and INFJ personality type who enjoys reading, researching, and writing about personality psychology and human behavior. As the founder of this blog, Megan wants to help other INFJs better understand their personality to improve their personal and professional lives.

45 Comments

  1. I agree with all of this, especially the last part about laziness. Sometimes I worry that I’m being lazy but I then realize I’m either overwhelmed by how much I have to do or I feel I won’t be able to complete the tasks to the standard that I’ve set for myself. Thus, I give up before I even try.

    1. I can definitely relate. When there’s a lot to do the perfectionist in me says “Screw it, you can’t get all of this done and meet my standards at the same time, so you might as well not even start.” I’m finding lately that I really have to push myself to get past that voice in my head, but once I do I usually end up being really productive. There are some days when I just have to give in to the laziness though, which I think is OK in moderation.

    2. Rachel, this is me to a T!!

  2. I love you. Thank you. I love you. Thank you. I love you. Thank you. ;D It’s just so relieving that I am not alone. I Love you. Thank you. This means by the way that I totally agree and can relate to everything you have written. EVERYTHING. Thank you. I love you.

    1. I love you. Thank you. Seriously, you’re comment was awesome and it means a lot to know that the blog is helpful to other INFJs. 🙂 Thanks!

  3. What a great blog. Thank you for sharing your struggles and insights. I can definitely relate to the perfectionism bit. A lot of times I noticed giving up on hobbies I want to pursue, just because there is no apparent gain other than enjoyment itself. Kind of odd right? 🙂 If I can’t be the best then I can’t enjoy it. I have since been trying to push to do things I just enjoy.

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  6. Tinu Abayomi-Paul (@Tinu)

    Agree with all. I overcame perfectionism by pairing it with a greater motivation. If I know that waiting for something to be perfect means I can’t pay rent? I use the threat of possibly not being able to live indoors as the motivation to be less perfect.

    I also model my creations after the software shipping model. If it’s perfect, you have missed your window for maximum benefit, whether it’s serving those around you, having enough money, making the world better etc. I’ll call it an Alpha or Beta release and ship. Then I keep editing and updating forever, but at least the book/poem/blog post is Out There.

    I’m still a perfectionist, mind you. But sometime I can delude myself into thinking something is good enough to share.

    I resonated with your last post about laziness as well. Two things make me lazy- overwhelm and working too hard. If I work six 14 hour days, I know three days of laziness are coming. And to slow down overwhelm, I turn my phone on vibrate and set it to 45 minutes. If that buzzer goes off and I feel like I’m drowning in small talk, I get up when that buzzer sounds.

    Even five minutes in the rest room or walking around the outside of whatever structure I’m in helps immensely.

    1. Those are all great tips! Thanks for sharing, Tinu!

  7. I am still dealing with doubt. I doubt myself. I doubt anything I do will ever make a difference like I intend. I am combating this doubt, or trying to at least, by setting my ego aside and accepting I may fail and I may look the fool. As expected my efforts to act authentically have resulted in me being mocked and labeled the fool in the short term. However, I have recieved feedback from people, long after incidents where I was deemed in the wrong, showing appreciation for my voicing my opinion and standing firm by them despite pressure to back down and conform. I try to focus on these little victories but it’s still hard given the abuse I have to deal with when I refuse to wear the socially accepted mask and be my authentic self.

    1. Very powerful comment. I totally understand what you are saying.

  8. […] think this blog post is true that INFJs are perfectionists who don’t tend toward laziness due to our […]

  9. seriously the struggle is real.
    My ideal is no where near what it should be- am i making a difference, will any of this matter, the people I am doing it for don’t even seem to notice. i wish i could rid this doubt…and just be me, but it seems to be cornering me- it’s just so tiring. It IS an every day thing! And hardly anyone seems authentic, without ulterior motives, its hard not to stay guarded in such a world as the one I am in. I even wonder if those I am closest with have other intentions. And why does my idea of perfection hold me back from so much happiness? This can range from keeping the house in perfect museum like quality, to passing by a chance at love. I guess that intuitive side may be what holds me back from the latter. And your fourth point stems from ultimately giving up and becoming recluse to only hear netflix ask me if I am indeed still watching “The Carrie Diaries”.
    A

  10. Thanks for sharing! I was just wondering about whether lazing around is an INFJ trait when I came across your post. I’ve an art exercise to finish today but I’m not sure how to proceed and I’ve been surfing the web and reading instead, procrastinating because what I’ve done so far is not what I like..

    1. Laziness in general is a quality in every type of person, but laziness can stem from different things. In INFJs, procrastination is often a consequence of being perfectionists. We make little things into much bigger things, until we get so overwhelmed that we’d rather be lazy than get something done.

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  12. Hi there! I must say a huge thank you for being able to read me perfectly. I’ve recently found a new calling. Music. It’s been with me for a while, but I’ve subdued it due to various reasons. Now that my desire to change people through my music is back I have so many doubts in my head. I’m 21, so I wonder, am I too old to start? And as I’m learning to sing, ‘Am I doing this right?’ ‘Am I sure I’m doing the right thing?’, etc ,etc. This self-doubt is so annoying though as it destroys my self confidence and even distracts me from singing the way I want to. I tackle my issues by facing them head on.. but with the doubt thing.. boy, I’m just too self critical. I need to stop, I just hope I can be proud of what I do. Not sure when it’ll happen, but hey,

  13. Thanks for this article. I wish that I had found a good counselor who understood the MB personalities. I have spent so much time trying to please others and really out of touch with my authentic self. This pleasing was always in the spirit of “helping.’ I even went to nursing school and became a nurse working in the hospital. Everyone was so behind me becoming a nurse although for most of my life I have been a writer and artist — and very undervalued in these areas. As a nurse I gave everything I had and ended up with panic attacks and a hernia from lifting patients. I felt like I was working in a factory. I left it behind over a year ago although people still say “keep your license– to fall back on.” They just don’t understand what it’s like to feel so undervalued in this society. I feel like only extraverts are rewarded. Sorry for the pity party, but I am an older infj, and I still haven’t found my way.

    1. Lisa, I can relate to what you are going through. I’ve just spent the last 15 years in a management position and am now, at 50, taking a huge risk for happiness and walking away. I am so afraid that I will never find a way to express my authentic self and make a living at the same time. I don’t have the luxury of a lot of time to try different paths or someone to support me so I can just go ahead and write that novel that may be inside me. But at least I took the first step. I guess I finally got to the point where I was no longer willing to suffer for security and a steady paycheck. I pray it was the right move.

      1. GMack – I did the same thing. I was a regional manager at 29 with the largest company in that industry. At 30, I just walked away. I couldn’t do it any more. Everyone thought I was crazy. It’s not been easy. But, it worked out. Along the lines of what Rebekah was saying, I think when you find your passion you’ll see that your path was taking you there the whole time. In my case, I would never have recognized the right path without being lost in the woods for awhile. I’m rooting for you.

  14. Agree 100% with all of this. Especially the lazy part. I get overwhelmed and think I won’t be able to achieve my goals the way I want to (or think I should), so I waste time on Pinterest or even just sleeping to escape. You’ve written it out so perfectly!

    1. Oh my how same can we be RoyalBakaness?

      And this blog is perfect. At least I know I’m not lazy.

      Sometimes a little distraction helps to put us in place. Or a lot more distraction that we thought we spend on. The denial factor is just simply too thick for me I suppose.

      Thank you for this blog post entry. It makes perfect sense that I am normal.

  15. I like to think that the hearts of INFJ’s naturally beats for those we inhabit this planet with. There is no other experience like witnessing a loved one succeed or reach a significant goal. Individual emotion’s are already running high for the INFJ while he/she soaks up the surrounding emotions from others. After my discovery of this unique personality all the dots started to connect. I’ve allowed my vision to become foggy. A lot of our energy is invested into the lives our loved ones because it just feels so right to be there for people that matter most to me. At the end of the day I reflect but don’t confront the fact I did not make time for my own goals today. “Tomorrow is a new day. Until then, Netflix.” We all have the ability to create life and realities through the fineness and passion you put into your craft. We all know deep down inside someone will connect with our creation with a positive result and maybe even make an impact life. When that moments comes it would be selfish to worry so much about perfection and authenticity. INFJ’s know that genuine emotion and creativity comes for the heart. INFJ’s live and breathe genuine. Produce your quality creation and share an experience that only what YOU can make a reality. We’re all leaves from the same tree but not one leaf is completely identical to another. Perhaps your perfection has hidden under shroud of modesty?

    Thank you for this blog! I no longer feel like alien.

  16. This describes me perfectly! I’ve always been a bit of an artistic person, but I become so overcome with doubt and perfectionism that I can hardly bring myself to create artwork. After these thoughts, I spin into the laziness mode. I’m also such an idealist that when I consider spending a lot of time making artwork or becoming a professional artist I feel guilty because it doesn’t directly help people. Even when I do create work that looks decent I question my own authenticity. “Does this work represent my own aesthetics, style and interests?” Am I just copying others and creating what people would want to see and are impressed by? DO I EVEN ENJOY THIS? I am also so sensitive! The introversion comes into play because I’m so drawn to helping people and animals, but am overstimulated and exhausted by them after a few hours. It gets lonely. There goes my rant. EXHAUSTING

    1. wauw, every little thing you said… i feel the same way! Can we just talk over email? I would love to hear from you and to share ideas about infj, and overcoming the obstacles we both share.

    2. wauw, i couldnt agree more with you! Thanks for sharing. I would love to email with you to share some ideas about infj and how to overcome some of the obstacles you are talking about. Is this something you would also love doing? Let me know!

  17. I can not agree more with this blog and with everyone’s posts. I’m 23 and pretty fresh out of college. I blame my personality for this, but I’ve graduated at my university with a multi-disciplinary studies concentrating on Sociology, History, and Business management. Sounds like an INFJ RIGHT? So indecisive and lost. I majored in what I believed was interesting and relatable as well as meaningful in a sense (minus the business management area). Because of this, I’m unable to truly find a career I really want to pursue. I’m struggling so much.. and doubting myself so much to the point of depression. I want to please my parents and please everyone around me. Make myself “look” perfect and have everything together.

    I’m so caught up in what people expect of me and what THEY think is best for me. I haven’t had the chance to really think of what is best for MYSELF. and when I do ponder about it, I’m lost. The answer is always.. I DON’T KNOW. I doubt myself at every option I can think of. For example: Nursing. It’s a long road to become a nurse, which will take time and money and a lot of science courses. I doubt myself that I can even understand all the science courses, let alone pass any of the exams and what if I fail? what if what if what if. So much doubt and lack of confidence in myself. I feel like I chose nursing because it helps others (I really admire that part, but because I feel like others (friends and people around me) will respect me and think of me highly successful and smart (horrible way of thinking). Nursing is a hands-on field and it’s sacrificial and genuine in my mind, which I love. But the process there, I lack confidence and because of this doubt.. it strains me away from ever “trying”. I think this way with every career option I think of.

    Plus I’m a perfectionist. If I miss a class or two.. or fail one exam.. I get discouraged and rather start over the whole class from the beginning to have perfect attendance and a perfect score. If I don’t start off well, I give up. I understand this way of thinking is just HORRIBLE, but I can’t help myself. I’m a pessimistic person. My perfectionist side makes me want to seek the best of the best career.. that will not only make me happy, but make a difference, but also not push out of my comfort zone.

    Someone please help me… any advice? I feel like a lost puppy. No confidence. No path. No self-awareness. … my personality is hitting hard. I wish I was never an INFJ… I’ve taken many personality tests and different ones too, I always get INFJ. I love that we are unique and there really aren’t many of us out there… but overall I’m not proud to be an INFJ 🙁 I don’t know my strengths… I seem to always acknowledge my weaknesses. I’ll be continuing my night time reading on your blogs… maybe I can find some answers soon. THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR POSTS! I don’t feel alone, but I feel embarrassed to be an INFJ tbh 🙁

    1. Hi Jenny – When I was 23-25, I went through a period of choosing my path based on what I thought would appeal to or impress others. This I combined with consideration of my own interests and strengths, sure, but I would not have chosen the path I was following were it not for my concern with prestige and gaining others’ approval. This period was followed by a big work / emotional crisis that began to break down my will to choose a path based on social prestige & approval. It gave rise to an urgent need to choose a path of authenticity, even if that path is not socially prestigious or if others question and doubt me. That battle and decision process is still playing out in my head (and actions), but it is now softer, tempered by a self-compassion and authenticity-confidence that I hadn’t made space for before. We are each given our unique spirit and unique body; others’ are for them to care for; our own are ours to care for, according to their needs. We can’t choose the needs of our spirits and bodies, but we can choose whether to reject and suppress them, or nurture and cultivate them. We can keep doing the former, but they will keep disrupting anything we do that seeks to hide them – in one way or another! Your path is already resident in you; if you can find some space to set aside others’ expectations (remember, they have their one life to tend to, and which is rightfully theirs, just as your life and path is rightfully yours) and listen for what you care about, what you love, what brings you joy, something unmistakeable may begin to emerge. Setting aside practical considerations (eg salary prospects, how to get from A to B) in the meantime may help; they are no match for your life-force, which has a way of overcoming barriers.
      Hope there is something here that helps.

    2. I am in the exact same boat Jenny, everything you said resonates with me and is exactly where I am at the moment. It got so bad for me that I have just come through an episode of major depression which manifested itself in some horrible ways that I hope I never have to relive. I studied Modern Languages but have no idea what direction I should be going in either and doubt every direction I think of. I know I want to help others too but dont think I can handle a stressful career like nursing with the various shifts and generally difficult work in general. I feel like I am too sensitive and shy for a corporate environment. Wish I wasn’t an INFJ either. I’m just wondering Jenny if you have managed to find your way since your post?

  18. This has probably been the biggest challenge of my life as an INFJ. Lately I’m trying to break through it, but it is quite difficult.

  19. ArlingtonDiva (@ArlingtonDiva)

    Thank you for writing this and I agree. I have a lot of interests and I have been told by others that I should pursue certain interests because they see the talent in me. However, my need for perfectionism and the reassurance that I am actually making an impact on someone, stops me from moving forward. I also have doubts about whether I’m really good enough. And the feeling that I have too far to climb to reach my measure of success with whatever I’m doing causes me to freeze up and do nothing. This week I decided to restart a goal that I have started multiple times and stopped because of the above issues. I really hope I can follow through despite my doubts and imperfections.

    1. I admire you for attempting to work through your self-doubt by restarting your goal! Good luck!

  20. Oh my God, this is so much me… How can it be so perfect? Especially the last part!

  21. You are all so wonderful. Thank you all for being you. <3 It makes me literally so happy to read everyone's comments.

  22. I so appreciate this post—and your whole blog. Thanks for overcoming your doubt to share some of yourself with us.

  23. What a beautiful Blog. Thank you Megan!! It’s fascinating and such a relief to see others going through what I’ve been going through for a long time. I have started so many careers and just given up. Like Personal Training, Photography, graphic design, writing and more. I’ve always doubted myself thinking I’m not creative or good enough, Or because it just didn’t have enough meaning to it. As a result I’ve landed up in a dead end job feeling thoroughly bored and with no meaning to anything I’m doing. After reading your posts I feel confident enough to continue with the novel I started writing and when the self doubt sneaks its ugly head in, I’m going to smack it in the face and tell it to get out. I’m a perfectionist and because of that, there is no way it’s not going to be good enough!
    Writing will satisfy my introverted and creative side. I’m also going to finish my degree in Zoology that will will allow me to satisfy my need for having meaning by allowing me to help with rescuing animals. Which I feel confident is my true passion after exploring so many fields.

    Good Luck to all of you finding the right passion and meaning in your life. It’s not easy being an INFJ but I wouldn’t choose to be anything else. When you finally wake up and realize that it’s only self doubt holding you back. You’ll be a force to be reckoned with. Much love to you all.

  24. I was reading this post and love the comments. I found out I was an INFJ recently in my mid-40s. Certainly wish I had understood more in my 20s. So many things make sense when you understand the INFJ personality. I love the last comment on laziness. I see it more as the “giving up” and I’ve been vexed by it off and on for years. Understanding it’s natural and not just “ME”, really helps me look forward.

    I was struck, though, by Jenny’s closing comment, “I don’t feel alone, but I feel embarrassed to be an INFJ.” Hey, you’re the rarest personality type in the world. You may never have met another INFJ in person and you may be the first and only one others around you will meet. Don’t be surprised when they look at you like you sprouted an extra head. You’re a swan in a duck world.

    I had a coach that shared a poem with me in high school. It has really helped me keep a perspective and I think made the years without quite understanding the INFJ of me OK. Search “The Man in the Glass”. Almost any version gets the point across.

    Thanks for the blog. I’ll be watching for more insights from you and the INFJs who share in the comments. So nice to meet them all, even if only online.

  25. Reblogged this on Reading Cards by Candlelight and commented:
    As an INFJ myself, this post really spoke to me. Happy reading! <3

  26. I reblogged this post because it’s awesome. Thank you for this work that you do. You’ve increased my confidence level significantly today. I had no idea that I wasn’t alone. Thank you and bless you. 🙂

  27. I literally love you people lmao. as well as this post I can sincerely relate and especially the last part is something I have been tackling and improving upon. I actually feel understood! great post.

  28. Wow wow and wow… I struggle with the sense of belonging… But I feel like I belong here in your blog… I relate to not only to this blog but so many of these comments too. Today is my 25th birthday and I’m currently laying in bed thinking about the fact that I have no career. I do have an amazing 4 yr old and partner yet my life feels always lacking importance… So I decided to take the personality quiz and all of a sudden I feel like I know myself better… I went to a link and discovered the list of careers that would suit INFJ’s and ironically 6 career’s out of 11 on the list I have considered at different times yet that doubt creeps up every time… I have so many business/ career possibilities in my mind, yet to commit to any feels like I’m not doing my small family justice. Let alone make my already proud mum, proud.
    I would love to find out ways to over come the self doubt even just enough to commit to a study. Laziness/ lack of drive is a common occurrence for me but I wouldn’t say I’m either. Thanks for all the insite thru your blog it’s made me learn a bit more about myself ironically to read about you which I think is such a beautiful thing.
    🙂

  29. There are times when I won’t even start a project because I’m already convinced that it won’t turn out or be just right. A lot of this negative, rigid thinking stems from childhood and is something that I’m constantly trying to work on.

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  31. This is amazing, This is my first time seeing ur blog and im just amazed. Keep it up cuz all of INFJ need mentors , and thats maybe you!

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