This article is about my discovery of how people want to be understood on a deeper level.
A few months ago, I started speaking about a specific kind of personality type on YouTube called INFJs. We are supposedly the rarest personality type in the world, and highly misunderstood, and confused about ourselves.
I know, because I am an INFJ, and it took me a long time to understand myself. It took years of journaling, reflection, observation, meditation, and yoga for me to get to a basic understanding of myself.
I decided to start this YouTube channel because I thought I know how alone and insane I felt when I was young. I used to wonder if there was something wrong with me all the freaking time.
There was a lot wrong with me, but also a lot right as well.
I wanted to share a bit of my knowledge with the world. Because it was so important to me to be understood when I was a young and foolish INFJ myself. I hoped that if I shared my meagre knowledge with the world, that some other INFJ who’s sitting there feeling alone, would feel less alone.
The response to these videos has been astounding, to say the least. I mean, I expected to do these videos, and put them out there, just because something in my heart told me to do so. It was something I had to do because it was calling out to me.
So I did.
So Many Messages From INFJs Thanking Me
The fact that I expected maybe two or three people to watch my videos was obvious. I didn’t do anything fancy with them. There were no graphics, no special effects.
Nothing. I put on the damn camera, and speak my heart out into it for a few minutes. Then, when I feel like I am finished, I switch off the camera and upload the video to YouTube.
Thus, when people started messaging me weekly telling me that my videos helped them so much, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. I couldn’t believe it.
I still can’t believe it. My ardent desire was to help younger, and newer INFJs.
I wanted to help them feel understood, and less alone. Thankfully, I have accomplished my goal with the videos.
I get messages from INFJs in their teens, and in their 60s, and 70s. All of them say the same thing. They feel less alone, they feel heard, and understood, because of my videos.
Why am I sharing this with you? Not because I want all of you to commend me for it, and put a monument out in Central Park with my name on it (although that would be nice). But, I wished to share one important learning that I have gained from doing the videos and receiving the messages.
All people want is to be heard, and understood.
That’s all!! It’s as simple as that.
That is the essence of any great relationship. Or any partnership. Any collaboration. Or any powerful creative project.
How Simple And Comforting – People Want to Be Understood
Again, I wish to iterate the fact that I am not doing anything fancy or special. Most people always ask me what books I have read to gain the insights that I speak about in the videos.
They wish to read those books as well. When I tell them, it’s just my learnings, observations, and gathering of data, then I believe they are sorely disappointed.
But these videos aren’t anything fancy at all. They are the simplest things on the planet to do.
I do them because as I said, my heart told me to do them. Because I thought of that young little Boom Shikha who sat there in class or work by herself wondering if she was insane, and why she didn’t like doing the same things as everyone else.
I always think of that little version of myself when I do these videos. In truth, I am speaking to her. I am telling her forever and always that she’s not alone.
She’s fine. Nothing wrong with her.
She’s alright. She’s just a bit different.
And that’s alright. That’s great. Because that means she can use her differences to create a better world.
The power of these videos, I believe, comes from, people feeling heard, and understood. It’s weird to me, how simple these two things are, and yet how powerful.
They can change someone’s world. I receive messages from people almost daily who say that they love themselves more now that they know they are not alone, they are not crazy, and their quirks are just an INFJ thing.
Boom!! They feel heard and understood. They feel like everything’s going to be alright.
Every Person In The World Wishes For That Simple Comfort
As an INFJ, one of the things that happens a lot is people come up to me (we are called Counselors), and tell me all of their troubles. I am not saying that I am a trained therapist or anything.
I sometimes dislike people outright. But, something in me, in my energy, or face, or something, tells people, even strangers, to come to me and tell me all of their joys, troubles, and miseries.
I sit and listen. I am physically and mentally present for them.
They wash all of their troubles away by giving them to me. And then they walk away feeling better.
That’s all they wanted in most cases. All of the people who message me daily or who come up to me randomly in parks, or museums are the same.
They don’t want diamonds or furs or gold leaf teas. They want to be heard and understood.
It is such a simple comfort to offer. And all of us can do it. For free. Anytime we want.
All we have to do is be present, listen, and let them feel that they have been heard. People mostly don’t want solutions.
They know what they need to do in their minds or their hearts. What they want from life or their relationships. They just need some other human, stranger or not, to listen to them, and let them wash away their troubles by speaking about it.
There Are A Lot Of Lonely People On This Planet
Unfortunately, whatever the reason might be, be it nuclear families, or technology, or overpopulation, but nowadays, people are lonely. They are extremely lonely.
I see it so often in the strangers who tell me of their woes.
They are so desperate for someone to listen to their stories, that they will go up to a trustworthy stranger in a public place and tell them their troubles. That’s how alone they are.
I get it. Being in this world right now with all of the craziness that’s going on, can be troubling. Also, most people on this planet right now might be surrounded by dozens of people, but still, feel damn near alone all the time.
My task, I realize slowly, is to be there for these lonely people. I am not doing it out of pity. I am doing it because it is the only human thing to do.
When some other human out there is upset or alone or troubled, it touches me as much as my troubles touch me. In our individualism, we believe that we are all only one person. But the world that we live in, is so interconnected, that someone else’s loneliness or misery, adds and compounds to the general world’s loneliness and misery.
The same thing applies when someone is happy. If I can be there for someone on this planet, and help them feel less alone, and perhaps give them a moment of joy or happiness, that means, the general level of happiness in the world has gone up. And that is a great thing overall.
I want to bring more of this joy and happiness into the world. Little by little.
What Can One Person Do? – People Want to Be Understood
I hear this a lot from people who have given up on the world. There is so much horrible stuff going on, in this world. I get it. There are hungry children, and beaten animals, and dead coral reefs.
I am not oblivious to it all. But, when people say that there is no point in doing anything because one person cannot change the world, I disagree vehemently. I believe (as someone wise said) that in fact, it is usually one person that changes the world.
By being an example to the people around them, and little by little, that effect, and change ripples out to the world. If we can all be these ripples in the world, then can you imagine how the world might change?
Also, people say, I don’t know where to start. There’s so much horrible stuff going on in the world, people might sometimes feel that there isn’t anything they can do about it. Where to begin?
I say begin with the lonely and miserable people around you.
This is a new lesson to me, so I am not going to say that I have always been this way. But, I have to say that this is one of the most important lessons I have received in my lifetime.
Start With The Lonely People Around You
Every person on this plane can help increase the overall well-being of the world right now. They can do it easily, and for free, right now. No need to recycle or use less plastic or stop smoking.
By being there and listening to one lonely person that is in your life. By being there for them and helping them feel more understood and heard.
Quite simply, by sitting down next to them, and listening to their woes.
It’s seriously so simple that we imagine (as I did) that it’s not useful. It’s not going to do anything, I used to lament.
I have to make big changes, huge changes, sweeping changes, for the world to feel any effect of it. Overpowering changes were needed. Not minuscule changes.
But now, I realize it’s the small changes that take hold of this planet. I think of it this way, if one more person feels heard and understood in the world, that means they will be minutely happier, and that means they will eat better, have better relationships, walk more, sleep more, and so much more. The entire persona of that person might change.
That will have a sweeping change on their entire world. And thus, on this entire universe.
That’s how we make changes on this planet. We don’t have to feel like we are helpless in the face of this growing and changing world.
We have more power than we could ever imagine. That belief has to come from within us.
The First Step Is To Start With Your Family
This is another lesson that came to me way too late. As a child or a teenager, I used to always think that I had to go off to the world and help the homeless or the destitute of the world to make this world a better place. I wanted to use my talents and abilities to change the world, but, I never thought about home at all.
The truth is we can all make our relationships at home a little bit better.
We are always lacking in that regard, because familiarity breeds contempt, perhaps. Or perhaps changes at home or work at home seems too small in compared to work in the world.
In any case, I have learnt slowly (and I’m still working on this one), that I have to start at home. My relationship with my family is, thankfully, good.
I love them, and they love me, and we are still a compact unit. But, it could always use work.
Relationships are organic. They are never done growing. They need constant moulding and work.
Thus, that’s where one should begin.
There’s this thing in meditation, where it doesn’t matter if you are the richest person in the world, or the most beautiful, or have the nicest car, if your mind is out of whack, then you have no peace at all. And without that inner peace, all of that outer wealth is useless.
The same thing applies here. It doesn’t matter if your relationships with the world and universe are top-notch.
If your relationship with your mother sucks, then you have failed at life. You are not winning, but losing.
It’s Easy To Do, Much Easier Than We Imagine
People don’t need a lot from us. Just some time, some attention, and some love. Easy enough to do.
Recently, I got this lesson from my mother. She was upset about something, and I just went up to her.
I squeezed her knee, and told her quite simply, everything will be alright. That’s all it took.
Seriously, a minute later, perhaps because she knew I was on her side, she was fine. She was bouncy and joyful. She just needed to be seen, to be heard, to be understood.
I wish I had known earlier in life that it was so simple to show affection to the people you love. I would always be running around buying things for them, or trying to make lots of money. And all of that just falls away in the simple gesture of love, understanding, and time together.
We always think it has to be grand gestures. The grander, the better, right?
But what if we went back to the basics? With everything! I think that’s where true wisdom lies.
When we are younger, we don’t have that lesson yet. So we do lots of other things with hoopla and pizazz. But then all of that dies off as we get older.
We understand the basics matter more than ever.
The simpler stuff. A cup of tea. A touch on the knee.
A quick hug. A pat on the head.
A meal together. A conversation with laughter.