Sometimes the hardest decision to make is the one that is best for you. But in the end you have to trust your heart to do what is right. — Unknown
I used to have the hardest time making decisions. I needed to know the perspective of everyone involved before I decided anything. I was trying to make everyone happy. And when I say everyone, I left myself out.
Even when I knew everyone’s perspective, I still hated making decisions.
What if I made the “wrong” decision and hurt someone’s feelings? Or worse, what if they wouldn’t talk to me afterward? This would make me feel like the world was ending and I couldn’t function.
I would be that person who chose the “I don’t know” or “undecided” option on those self-help tests because I couldn’t decide what the “right” answer was.
I looked to the outside world to figure out what to do. If someone got upset over my choice, I felt guilty and depressed. I would hide under my bed covers and shut out the world for a while.
I felt trapped with no way out.
For example, I used to work in a multi-level marketing business. When I signed up, I was ready to build my business. But after a few years, I had made about $300 dollars and was not much closer to my dream of being an entrepreneur.
I wanted to venture out on my own. But I felt guilty about telling my sponsor and the other distributors that I wanted to quit. So I kept working in that business, even though I was unhappy and not making much money. I was thinking about everyone else and not what was best for me.
Eventually, I had a breakthrough. Now I manage my own successful business coaching introverted highly sensitive people. But first I had to learn a few things: how my natural tendencies as an INFP personality type affect my decision-making process and how I could follow my own inner guide.
Discovering my personality type
Even if I did what other people wanted, I still ended up depressed, because I felt horrible about the decision itself. I finally figured out it was because the decisions I was making didn’t fit with my personal values. As an INFP, my values are at the core of my very being.
I have always been a life-long learner–a student of my own life–which is why I decided to re-take a personality test. When I discovered that I’m an INFP, I researched this personality type further. As I read more and more, I started feeling like someone had written my life story!
I remember smiling, closing my eyes, and feeling that deep sense of belonging I so craved. I understood why I didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere and knew that there were others out there that must feel that same emptiness. It made sense that I hated making decisions—I just wanted to please everyone.
Finding understanding myself was a huge relief.
What I learned about making decisions
I took the information about my personality type to heart. Over time I learned how to make decisions that didn’t cause me days or months of misery. I began to make my own decisions without needing everyone’s approval.
Here are nine things I learned that helped me:
- As INFPs, we have an intense need for following our own values. So I followed them. If someone wasn’t happy with my decision but I listened to my heart, then I’m okay with that. I know my decision came from a place of love.
- When people are upset with me, it’s not about me at all. You may have heard this before but it really is true. What someone thinks of you is an inner reflection of them. If they are upset with my decision, it’s not about me.
- I will not go against my inner compass. It’s not necessarily about what’s right or wrong. It’s about what feels good and aligns with my values. So I don’t look for the “right” answer anymore. I look for my answer. I believe in myself.
- By following my inner guide, I will never be taken down the wrong path. As INFPs, we have an intense need for the world to be happy and peaceful. So I’m not afraid I will make a decision that will intentionally hurt another person. I just need to trust my inner guide.
- I found my community and tribe. I created my own Facebook group of people just like me, and I joined a few other groups I resonated with. By engaging in the groups daily, I remind myself I’m not alone. Others are in this with me. And when I help people in my own group, it gives me that sense of purpose I naturally crave. By helping others and having this community, I feel supported in my decisions.
- I recognize that things are always changing. If someone is upset with me and it was because of a decision I made, I remind myself that things will change. They may be upset now but as time goes on, they will most likely calm down and respect my decision.
- I release my feelings over to the universe. When my emotions are running wild from a decision I made, I sit in silence and allow the feelings to flow through me. I try not to judge or stay attached to any one thought. If I find myself attaching or judging, I softly bring myself back to the moment.
- I talk to the people who feel hurt. I may ask others if there is a misunderstanding they have and if there is something that needs to be cleared up. Maybe they took something the wrong way or projected their perspective onto my decision. I do find a deep conversation can help.
- I continue to grow. Each and every day I’m working on my personal development and spiritual growth. It’s easy to fall back into old habits, and I need to keep constantly improving in order to become my best self. When we are our best selves, it allows us to have a clear understanding of what decisions will feel best for us.
So, my fellow INFPs: search your soul, know who you are, and stay true to yourself.