exploring the inner landscape

INFJ and Identity: Inner Landscapes

It is only in time alone that an INFJ can remember who they are.  In the normal bustle of life there are thousands of us, shattered pieces of a mirror, each reflecting a slightly different image in someone’s eyes.  We are parents, friends, mentors, customers, and unlike other types, each one of those roles is an instant identity, a full-fledged person of a moment.  Sometimes, we get lost in the myriad of people we feel required to be in our lives. We lose track of who we are because we are too busy being who everyone else needs.  It’s instinctive. We do it without thought.  And it leaves us feeling broken, hollow, alone, and strangely undefined.

Only in the silence, when we are allowed to explore our rich inner landscapes, can we truly remember who we are, not who others expect us to be. That is not an indication of shallowness. That is not a lack of a strong sense of identity or of defining principles.  That is an instinctive tendency to put aside the things we deem as merely about ourselves in favor of what see as the needs of others – and, in some cases, our survival.  We lose ourselves in the cacophony of expectations and needs, but we are never gone. An INFJ has an infinitely deep, complex sense of self.  Our inner world is often far richer than the so-called reality in which we operate. It is merely that few other people have the consideration or understanding to respect our need to spend time in that inner world, and we lack the selfish common sense to demand that time.

Perhaps the hardest thing is to preserve the time to find ourselves, to stretch out in silence and remember, without guilt, who we are and what things make us feel alive, only to be called back to who we are supposed to be.  As a teacher, I have the luxury of breaks between the semesters, and in those moments, I am able to relax, safe in the company of the spouse who completes me, and be myself.  I feel alive, whole.  And then I find myself facing a return to my job.  It is not that I do not enjoy my profession – I love it.  But I stand on the brink of a new semester and shudder, because I have gotten the chance to be me, and I know that I must put that away. I piece together the mirror and smile at myself, and then I step out before the crowd and it shatters again. 
- Credit: Wendy Neeld

“We were psychedelic renegades exploring an inner landscape where everything was turned upside down. We had penetrated the looking glass and were living in a parallel dimension where everyone was beautiful and spiritually free. It was great to be young and completely out of our minds…” -Mick Rock

Syd Barrett and Mick Rock, 1971