Introverted Feeling is one the most confusing functions out there, and it is often one of the least understood. It also doesn’t help that INFPs, one of the few personality types that essentially “lives and breaths” “Fi” doesn’t fully understand it either. With “Fi” being at the top of the INFP’s cognitive stack, the INFP uses “Fi” constantly. Because of this constant use, “Fi” becomes the INFP’s constant “mindset”, in that the INFP more often than not will be in this “Fi” mood. Thus, the “Fi” processes are rather unconscious to the INFP. “Fi” as a mental state seems very normal to the INFP, and the INFP will become more conscious of the “Fi” processes when other people state that they don’t see the world in the same manner.
In the last post, I discussed what Extraverted Intuition is like to an INFP. I hoped not just to explain “Ne” in an academic sense, but also from personal observation. And in this post, I hope to accomplish the same thing, except I’ll be exploring the “Fi” processes.
In my The Emotional Life of the INFP post, I discussed a few of the many parts of emotion the INFP deals with, for instance the INFP’s emotional intensity and desire for emotion. Though “Fi” deals directly with emotions, “Fi” deals also with more than emotion.
Now, because “Fi” is the very first function in the INFP, the INFP uses “Fi” constantly, to the point that “Fi” is unconscious to the INFP. Many of these personal observations might not seem to ring very true to all of you, but I can assume that most of them should and will.
Now, concerning unconscious “Fi” use, because “Fi” is a judging function and helps in making decisions, I will often “notice” myself making decisions with “Fi” processes. This is aside from noticing I’m perceiving things through “Ne” or “Si”, which are both perceiving functions. Because of this difference, I will realize I am making decisions in a certain manner, but it will “feel” normal to me. Being fully conscious of “Fi” would be me realizing, “Oh this is an example of Introverted Feeling”.
So, when making a decision, I will often look at the options before me and first think, “Okay, which options feels right to me?” Often times, when I have to make a quick decision, I’ll first ask that question of how the options feel to me. If there is a level of “comfort” or familiarity or a certain option, just a good feeling, then I will choose that option. Many people, when asking why I chose to do something, will not understand this means of decision-making. It will either seems illogical or irrational, or others may state that such an option doesn’t feel right to them, even though it doesn’t feel right to me.
If either options do not feel right to me, or, if there is no depth of familiarity to the options, I will often go deeper and see which option most closely identifies with my personal beliefs, values, and wants. For instance, if I’m choosing between different teams, I will look at what each team stands for. If I happen to stand for the same things a certain team does, I’ll choose that team.
If a decision could affect external circumstances or at least affect other people like family and friends, I will often instead ask for advice from family, as “Fi” cares also about peace and harmony. Though that aspect could be more closely identified as Extraverted Feeling, “Fi” still has a deep concern for both internal harmony and external harmony. It could possibly be against an INFP’s values by going against the decisions and feelings of the family.
2. Belief Checking
Whether I realize it or not, I will often check my personal beliefs and see if I need to “realign” myself based on my personal beliefs. In the same way, I may often see if I need to adjust my personal beliefs based on recent experiences.
I do already have a very deep, old, moral system and belief system that eliminates any need to see if my morals and ethics are right or at least “feel” right. In this case, when I check up on my beliefs, I’m really checking my personal preferences and tastes, and perhaps a few judgments on current events in the world.
I may find myself updating and checking my internal lists of, for instance, personal favorite movies, shows, books, etc. As I get older, I want to make sure that I have my preferences updated so that I can “be” the right person. Instead of going out into the world with a somewhat definable personality that will be shaped the world, I would rather shape my own definable personality and then go out into the world and portray myself with that personality. If I don’t know my own tastes and preferences, then I will not feel grounded.
I find that I do this “belief checking” quite frequently, but usually in the form of trying to figure out my personal preferences. Especially in the off set chance someone asks about it, I want to make sure I know my tastes so that I can tell them to other people.
If I don’t know who I am, then how can I actually “live”?
There is a level of unconscious beliefs, values, and preferences within me that I do not about. I only see my reactions to things that interact with those unconscious beliefs and values. If I can make those values more conscious, then I can understand why I react like I do, and I can use that knowledge to make better decisions in the future.
3. Emotion Checking
Another way I notice myself “using” Introverted Feeling is through emotion checking. It’s different from belief checking in that I don’t try to realign my emotions in any way. Though, I do try to realign myself based on my emotions.
I study my emotions to see how certain events, movies, books, music, circumstances, speeches, and many other events affect me emotionally. My emotions will show me how I should and can react to different events, or teach me that I do like or dislike a certain movie, song, book, etc. Because I’ve learned what emotions spawn from certain events, I’ve mapped out my emotions to a great extent. So when something happens, I often “retreat” internally and study my emotions and feelings.
Those are just a few aspects of “Fi” that I have noticed. I may add some later and notify if I have made any updates to this post. Until then, my next post will be on Introverted Sensing from an INFP’s perspective.