Friday, March 13, 2009

ISFJ - to the core

Do you ever take personality tests? You should. In mine and Justin's premarital Bible study, it actually had us take one. They can be so helpful in understanding others. I often wish that I knew the personality types of all those around me. Everyone should have them tattooed on their heads, so that I could better understand people and what makes them the way they are. Once I know someone's personality type, so many things click for me. I'm better able to navigate relationships.

Mine has changed over the years. Who I am now, is not who I was in high school and it's even who I was 5 years ago. I think my personality type has changed even since Justin and I have met. I remember realizing when the change happened and when I took a test a year or two ago, and it was ISFJ, I wasn't suprised. It's still that and I'm not surprised. In fact, it makes even more sense now than it did then.

What is an ISFJ? I'll even bold some things that are scary specific about me. Others apply but don't hit so closely to home. You'll never convince me that I'm good with interior decorating though. Sorry.

Here it is:
As an ISFJ, your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you takes things in via your five senses in a literal, concrete fashion. Your secondary mode is external, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit into your personal value system.
ISFJs live in a world that is concrete and kind. They are truly warm and kind-hearted, and want to believe the best of people. They value harmony and cooperation, and are likely to be very sensitive to other people's feelings. People value the ISFJ for their consideration and awareness, and their ability to bring out the best in others by their firm desire to believe the best.

ISFJs have a rich inner world that is not usually obvious to observers. They constantly take in information about people and situations that is personally important to them, and store it away. This tremendous store of information is usually startlingly accurate, because the ISFJ has an exceptional memory about things that are important to their value systems. It would not be uncommon for the ISFJ to remember a particular facial expression or conversation in precise detail years after the event occured, if the situation made an impression on the ISFJ. (this freaks Justin out sometimes. I will remember complete conversations and what was going on in our lives at the moment. People will often retell things and I will know that it never happened with me present or that it happened very differently and though I won't say it, I know it.)

ISFJs have a veryBold clear idea of the way things should be, which they strive to attain. They value security and kindness, and respect traditions and laws. They tend to believe that existing systems are there because they work. Therefore, they're not likely to buy into doing things in a new way, unless they're shown in a concrete way why its better than the established method.

ISFJs learn best by doing, rather than by reading about something in a book, or applying theory. For this reason, they are not likely to be found in fields which require a lot of conceptual analysis or theory. They value practical application. Traditional methods of higher education, which require a lot of theorizing and abstraction, are likely to be a chore for the ISFJ. The ISFJ learns a task best by being shown its practical application. Once the task is learned, and its practical importance is understood, the ISFJ will faithfully and tirelessly carry through the task to completion. The ISFJ is extremely dependable.

The ISFJ has an extremely well-developed sense of space, function, and aesthetic appeal. For that reason, they're likely to have beautifully furnished, functional homes. They make extremely good interior decorators. This special ability, combined with their sensitivity to other's feelings and desires, makes them very likely to be great gift-givers - finding the right gift which will be truly appreciated by the recipient. (not too good at the gift giving thing!)

More so than other types, ISFJs are extremely aware of their own internal feelings, as well as other people's feelings. They do not usually express their own feelings, keeping things inside. If they are negative feelings, they may build up inside the ISFJ until they turn into firm judgments against individuals which are difficult to unseed, once set. Many ISFJs learn to express themselves, and find outlets for their powerful emotions.

Just as the ISFJ is not likely to express their feelings, they are also not likely to let on that they know how others are feeling. However, they will speak up when they feel another individual really needs help, and in such cases they can truly help others become aware of their feelings.

The ISFJ feels a strong sense of responsibility and duty. They take their responsibilities very seriously, and can be counted on to follow through. For this reason, people naturally tend to rely on them. The ISFJ has a difficult time saying "no" when asked to do something, and may become over-burdened. In such cases, the ISFJ does not usually express their difficulties to others, because they intensely dislike conflict, and because they tend to place other people's needs over their own. The ISFJ needs to learn to identify, value, and express their own needs, if they wish to avoid becoming over-worked and taken for granted.

ISFJs need positive feedback from others. In the absence of positive feedback, or in the face of criticism, the ISFJ gets discouraged, and may even become depressed. When down on themselves or under great stress, the ISFJ begins to imagine all of the things that might go critically wrong in their life. They have strong feelings of inadequacy, and become convinced that "everything is all wrong", or "I can't do anything right". !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The ISFJ is warm, generous, and dependable. They have many special gifts to offer, in their sensitivity to others, and their strong ability to keep things running smoothly. They need to remember to not be overly critical of themselves, and to give themselves some of the warmth and love which they freely dispense to others.

ISFJs place a great deal of importance on their personal relationships. They're generally very giving and loving people, who place the needs of others above their own. They sometimes have a problem with becoming overly emotionally needy, and with keeping their true feelings hidden from others. They take their commitments very seriously, and seek lifelong relationships. ISFJs are extremely dependable, and put forth a lot of energy into keeping things running smoothly. They sometimes have difficulty saying "no" when asked to do something, and therefore may be taken for granted.

ISFJ Strengths
● Warm, friendly and affirming by nature
● Service-oriented, wanting to please others
● Good listeners
● Will put forth lots of effort to fulfill their duties and obligations
● Excellent organizational capabilities
● Good at taking care of practical matters and daily needs
● Usually good (albeit conservative) at handling money (haha - that is no joke!)
● Take their commitments seriously, and seek lifelong relationships

ISFJ Weaknesses
Don't pay enough attention to their own needs
● May have difficulty branching out into new territory
● Extreme dislike of conflict and criticism
● Unlikely to express their needs, which may cause pent-up frustrations to build inside
● Have difficulty leaving a bad relationship
● Have difficulty moving on after the end of a relationship

ISFJs as Lovers

ISFJs are committed to their relationships. They have very intense feelings, which is not immediately apparent to others because they tend to hold things inside themselves without expressing them, unless they have a strong reason to do so. Their intensity of feeling makes their intimate relationship their first priority in life, with the possible exception of God. They seek monogamous, lifelong commitments, and can be depended upon to be faithful and loyal to their mates once they have made a commitment.

ISFJs have a difficult time leaving a relationship which is bad, or accepting that a relationship is over. They tend to put all of the blame on their own shoulders, and wonder what they should have done to make things work out. If they have been loyal to their vows and have done their duties, they will be at a complete loss as to what went wrong, and will have great difficulty accepting the end. They are "true blue" lovers, and may even remain faithful to their deceased partners. (Justin is it for me. Even death will not cause me to remarry!)

ISFJs tend to be very selfless, and to put the needs of others well before their own needs. This may backfire on them, if they get into a situation in which they are taken advantage of, and do not have a good outlet for their strong emotions. In this kind of situation, the ISFJ might bottle up their feelings inside them, and form strong resentments against others. The ISFJ should work on recognizing their own needs, and place some importance on meeting them, rather than always putting the needs of others first. After all, if you can't take care of yourself, how can take care of someone else?

The ISFJ is very warm and selfless. They'll put forth tremendous amounts of energy and time into doing what they feel is their duty. What makes them feel best about themselves is when others show them their appreciation of the ISFJ. Consequently, the best gift that the partner of an ISFJ can give them is the expression of their love and appreciation.

ISFJs have difficulty with conflict situations, and would much prefer to just sweep things under the rug. Sometimes facing a conflict situation helps to resolve it, and the ISFJ should realize that the world will not end if they face the conflict, and express how they feel about it. A conflict situation is not necessarily a "problem" which needs to be gotten rid of, and it is also not necessarily the ISFJ's fault. It's a common problem for ISFJ's to not express their feelings until pushed to some limit, after which they explode in anger and say things which they later feel they shouldn't have said. These kinds of outbursts can be reduced by expressing their feelings on a more regular basis, rather than keeping them pent up inside.

In general, the ISFJ is usually a traditional, family-minded individual who places the comfort of their mates and families as their first priority in life. They're great for providing for everyday basic needs, and have a depth of caring which is very unusual, and not found in most types. They highly invested in the health of their relationships, and will work very hard to make things run smoothly. They are dependable and affectionate lovers.

Although two well-developed individuals of any type can enjoy a healthy relationship, the ISFJ's natural partner is the ESTP, or the ESFP. ISFJ's dominant function of Introverted Sensing is best matched with a partner whose dominant function is Extraverted Sensing.

ISFJs as Parents

Parenthood is seen as natural state and duty to the ISFJ. They are responsible about ensuring that their children have their practical needs met, and try to teach them the rules and observations of our society so that they grow into responsible and independent adults.

ISFJs may have difficulty administering punishment or discipline to their children, although most are able to overcome this discomfort because they feel it is their greater duty to instill their children with sound values. As individuals who value order and structure, they're likely to create well-defined boundaries and roles for their children to live within.

ISFJ parents have a very difficult time if their children grow into "problem" adults. They tend to believe that it is their responsibility, and that they didn't work hard enough to raise their children well. This may or may not be the case, but usually it isn't. ISFJs usually put forth a lot of energy and effort and don't give themselves credit for doing so.

In many ways, an ISFJ makes an ideal parent. Their children will not lack for structure, appropriate guidelines, or warmth and affection. Their children will remember and value the ISFJ parent for their warm natures and genuine efforts on their children's behalf.

ISFJs as Friends

Although the ISFJ is likely to place God and family above their friends in their priorities, they genuinely enjoy spending time with friends and colleagues. In fact, ISFJs usually feel a strong need to talk problems and issues over with people before making decisions on their actions. Some ISFJs like to discuss things over with their friends, rather than their families.

ISFJs enjoy spending time with most other types of people. The love to observe people's reactions and emotions in situations, and so enjoy being around diverse types of people. The ISFJ usually remains reserved around others, and does not open up very much. However, since they have a need to talk things over with others in order to make decisions, they do really need some close confidantes in their life. Their preference for these companions is other Sensing Feeling Judgers. They really enjoy and respect the company of Intuitive Feelers as well, but are not able to relate to them quite as well.

Friends of the ISFJ will value them for their warmth, dependability, depth of emotional awareness and understanding.

I know...that was super long and totally not worth reading for you, but wow, did I need that reminder! Thank God!

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