Asthma asked: As an intj how do you deal with :
– lack of confidence/ low self-esteem.
– emotional emptiness.
I’ve never had a problem with low self-esteem myself, but I suspect that my methods for dealing with self-criticism could apply to your question just fine.
My interior monologue often runs along these lines: Why don’t I feel anything? Why don’t I care that this person in front of me is crying? Am I a bad person? Did l have to say that? It may have been true, but it wasn’t kind. I am a terrible friend. etc.
Here’s how I deal with it.
Recognise paradoxes where they exist
When I start thinking that I’m a bad person because I’m unfeeling (or any other equally plausible reason), I stop to consider all the angles. Rather than simply focusing on only the bad things that I do, I compare both the good and bad inside me.
This always ends with me concluding that I’m not a good person, but that I’m not a bad person either because I do both cruel and kind things. If people are defined by what they do, I can’t be defined as either good or bad because nearly every moral decision I make contains a paradox between the two.
Example: I said something quite brutal to my sister one day, and afterward, I kept thinking I was a horrible sibling for having said it. Yet, when I said it, I did so because it was something that she desperately needed to hear, and had needed to hear it for years. In other words, I did a cruel thing for a good reason.
I still felt guilty about it, looking back, I know that I did the right thing.
Summary: rationalise yourself out of your emotions and consider yourself and your actions objectively.
INTJs are supposed to be known for their ability to take control of a situation and simply do whatever is necessary to achieve the best possible outcome. However, low confidence does tend to stunt that ability.
Younger INTJs frequently suffer from a shyness that causes them to underuse their Te function. These INTJs don’t particularly hold the assertiveness that a strong Te function leads to.
Simple solution: practice using your Te function.
This one is tough.
My advice is this:
#1 Do things you love regularly
I don’t mean occasionally –I mean, use your Te function to schedule time to do things that make you happy. If you love art and you never have time to create art, make time to create art. If you want a 100% guarantee of an empty life, do not pursue your dreams.
As INTJs, it’s often our tendency to overwork and over-schedule ourselves, and while that makes us very productive, it doesn’t make us happy. You have to make a specific effort to do things that give you satisfaction in life. Treat having fun as part of your schedule and don’t think about work while you’re doing it. That way, even when the rest of life sucks, you have something that gives you a reason to keep going.
Even if you’re not an artist, I would strongly suggest watching Neil Gaiman’s Commencement Speech. It has a lot to say about life satisfaction.
#2 Surround yourself with remarkable people
One thing I do to give myself emotional fulfilment is to surround myself with people who help me do that when I can’t do it myself. The majority of my best friends are mature F-types because they encourage me to feel and to have fun.
Furthermore, do not isolate yourself. I learned this the hard way, but if you want to avoid emotional emptiness, you need to force yourself to spend time with other people. It is incredibly important to build and maintain strong relationships (even if, like myself, you only have a few of them) if you want have emotional fulfilment in life.