Something people always say about me is that fitting in is my middle name. I have friends in the nerdy tech circle, and I have friends in the hippie sage-burning circle. I have friends in the digital nomad circle, and I have friends in the spiritual community. And it’s not like I fit in perfectly into either group. It’s not like I am a square peg in a round hole, but I fit in just enough so that people in that group consider me a good friend or close acquaintance. I guess that’s what makes things difficult.
There is no circle or group in which I fit in perfectly. I can play the game and fit in reasonably well with all of the people that I hang out with. And I guess, that’s what it’s all about – playing the game well.
In fact, one of the major complaints that I receive from INFJs who send me emails and messages everyday is this – I feel like I don’t belong anywhere.
This disconnection from the people around them is one of the main reasons why INFJs feel so much gratitude, almost to the point of tears, when they discover the INFJ communities online. Comment after comment on my YouTube channel focused on INFJs says this – “Thank you for making me feel less alone, less like a freak. Thank you for giving me a space to completely and totally belong.”
This Need For Belonging Pervades Every Aspect Of An INFJ’s Life – Fitting In
For myself, I saw a huge upsurge in my self-esteem and self-confidence, once I discovered my identity as an INFJ, and saw the many similarities between myself and the other INFJs online. I didn’t have any INFJs in my offline life then, but it was alright. I was surrounded by people different from me, but again that was absolutely fine. As long as I could turn on my computer and connect with people similar to me online.
This was one of the main reasons I began the YouTube channel as well. I wanted a space for younger INFJs, lonely INFJs, misunderstood INFJs, suicidal INFJs, and all to come and feel that connection that is entirely missing from their solitary lives.
There’s the other side of the coin as well. So many INFJs express consternation at the realization that they aren’t as unique and freaky as they thought they were. They say something like, “I thought I was more unpredictable than this. But I watch your videos and see trait after trait being described that fits me to a T. Does this mean we are more similar than dissimilar?”
Either way, this need for belonging, for wanting to be part of a special group of people dictates a lot of an INFJ’s behaviour. I know it surely has for me. For example, one of the reasons why I love living and working in Chiang Mai, Thailand, is because here I am part of a group of people called digital nomads, who work online and live all over the world, being location independent. This gives me a sense of belonging and a sense of connection with people who think like me in a way that I have never had before. This makes my self-esteem jump up several notches, and allows me to live my life in a more fruitful, full manner.
Sometimes Not Belonging Is A Sign Of Greater Things To Come
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” ― Rob Siltanen
One of the things I tell my listeners constantly is that our unique characteristics as an INFJ, and as a human being is actually one of our superpowers. It’s people like Steve Jobs or Rosa Parks, people who thought differently, who didn’t fit in, who were misunderstood, that were truly able to create awesome change in the world.
If we keep on thinking similarly to everyone around us, we will just keep on following in the footsteps of the people before us. Fitting in is boring! Resulting in the same old boring life. For some people this might be alright. But for most INFJs, there is this deep and intense desire to live a different unique awesome life that will leave some indelible mark on the planet. We want to make an impact. Instigate positive change. We want to use our talents and abilities to make the world a better place. And leave it better than when we came in.
Thus, being different, unique, and not fitting in, is in actuality a great thing. Of course, it takes time for us as INFJs to truly accept this. Age and wisdom has something to do with it.
As They Get Older, INFJs Learn To Love Their Unique Rebellious Nature More And More
This is something I have noticed for many of the INFJs I interact with on a daily basis. The ones in their teens and twenties are usually quite shy, unsure of themselves. And still figuring out what their place is in the world. They are the ones who try to fit in with the people around them. While pushing their own unique needs and desires away.
But as we get older, INFJs especially, become more and more comfortable with the idea of who they are. And learn to love themselves in a way that allows them to instigate change using their unique perspectives.
Therefore, I always tell my younger listeners, to not get impatient. Your time is coming, I say. In fact, the older you get, the better things get – like good wine, or aged cheese.
Don’t despair my INFJ friends. Yes, you might not fit in anywhere. But as you get older, you will realize firstly that you don’t want to fit in anywhere because you like being your unique self. Also that fitting in is actually for noobs. And the misfits are the ones who truly mould the world into becoming better and better. Time heals all INFJs. Fitting in is for suckers. Fitting in doesn’t change the world.