How important is it for an INFJ to make time to create?
Several years ago when I was taking classes for my master’s degree, teaching, and coaching volleyball all at one time, I was getting sick 3 to 4 times per year. I lived on antibiotics. And up until recently, I chocked my poor health up to working with kids, living in an older house, and not getting enough rest.
But recently, I read a book that said INFJs who don’t have a creative outlet will get stifled, frustrated, and sick. In short, their inner distress will manifest itself in physical illness.
Looking back, I realize that one of the biggest issues for me, aside from having to manage too many details, was that I didn’t make time to create. Certainly, other factors contributed to my poor health, but I’m convinced lack of creativity was a big part of the problem. Ever since I started spending time each day songwriting, writing blog posts, recording podcasts, making videos, etc., I haven’t felt nearly as sick or discouraged.
Have you wrestled with chronic illness, regular sickness, or discouragement? A big part of it might just be because you’re not creating enough.
Why Do INFJs Need to Create?
In your INFJ personality, the most well-developed mindset is introverted intuition (Ni). Ni is an intuitive process that excels at generating ideas, seeing patterns, and digging deep into a topic of interest. It’s also great making connections. All of these abilities give you enormous creative powers.
When you get down to it, creativity is just connecting seemingly unrelated ideas and putting things together in a way no one’s ever thought of before. This kind of thinking comes easily and naturally to you. It’s a gift and one that brings you and others great joy.
To be happy and healthy, you need to employ your Ni on a regular basis simply because it’s one of the most important parts of your personality and identity. To put it another way, to deny yourself the opportunity to create is to pretend to be someone you’re not and to starve your mind. When you do this, you end up feeling depressed, discouraged, and hopeless.
But the good news is that if you’ve not been using your Ni much for a while, you can start right now. Ni is like a muscle. Even if it’s not in the best shape at the moment, with regular use, you can make it strong again
“To Thine Own Self Be True”
When I started making time for songwriting, blogging, and other creative activities, I came alive and could relax. Being true to myself was cathartic. And the same is true for you! What creative activities should you be making more time for?
It doesn’t matter if you like to craft, play an instrument, write, sew, design, work with wood – it’s all good. The sky is the limit! The key is to make time where you can create and to honor your creative side.
Getting Rid of the Obstacles
While a number of things can get in your way and keep you from creative work, the following three causes are some of the most common. Check out these obstacles and suggestions for how to overcome them.
“But Bo, I’ve got a lot going on. I have too many other responsibilities.” I totally get that and respect you for the all the work you do. Life is busy, but you can still make some time.
The past couple years, I’ve either woken up early or stayed up late. Just half an hour of working on something you really care about can make a big difference for you. And I respectfully submit that we have time for what we make time for – even if it’s just 15 minutes to start.
A lot of comes down to who you hang out with. Do you have creative friends? Jim Rohn said, “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Are your friends influencing you and pushing you to develop your creative gifts or holding you back?
When you haven’t created for a while, it can be hard to know where to start. Here are a few suggestions:
A. Just start.
If you haven’t created for a while and wonder if you can still do it, don’t fret. You can. I’ve talked to several INFJs who worried that they’d lost their ability. But they hadn’t. The key is to just begin. Start making things, and it’ll come back to you, even if it’s been a really long time since you last made anything original.
B. Be okay with the less-than-perfect work you create.
As you begin creating again, cut yourself some slack. Remember that you’re your own worst critic and 10 times harder on yourself than most people are on you. Furthermore, since you have such clear visions in your mind, it’s going to be hard to look at the physical manifestation of your work. It just won’t live up to your expectations at first, but that’s okay!
C. Fine-tune what you work on.
Give it time. The only way to create work that measures up to what you envision is to keep creating and honing your skills. Also, sometimes, as Lauren Sapala says, just putting a day or two between the “first draft” of whatever you’re doing and subsequent “revisions” can really help. It’ll give you fresh eyes and a new perspective.
D. Lean into your gifts and passions.
Ultimately, you’ll be happiest when you’re doing what you were born to do. It’s the convergence of your strengths and passions as well as people needs. Frederich Buechner put it this way:
“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
So here’s to creating and being true to who you were made to be. Make time to do your art, whatever it may be.