On Being an ENFJ (open confessional letter)
After a conversation this morning, I began thinking about my personality as an ENFJ. I reflected on how much I have evolved since my early 20s, and how to a well-seasoned & mature ENFJ; they might not be able to see we held the same title. Now, as I'm nearing my 35th year of life, I can look to other individuals who I can clearly see are ENFJs; yet, they show some negative traits, or self-protecting layers. As a result, they might not appear as ENFJs. More importantly, as an ENFJ myself, my whole motivation in life is:
If I were writing a letter to my younger self (or a reminder to my current self), I would probably say something like this:
Dear Kamille (the younger ENFJ),
You have always sought out to be an individual. You highly regard that there is not anyone quite like you in this world. Being unique is a strength in your mind. You have always had this uncanny ability to gather people around you to do what you want them to do. Yet, you've never used it for tyrannical purposes. No, you value right relationships.
Some might think you're a bit pompous or a "know it all," which is true to a degree. But, know that if you wield this and look at your advice giving as a strength (and basically knowing when you keep it to yourself), which is an intuitive insight into the unseen nuances you can garner so much growth for yourself and others.
However, watch out for thinking you do know it all. This leads to pride and an unteachable spirit. It is also your stubbornness; because, you can quickly come up with why that person doesn't know what they're talking about. Lean into humility, and offer up your advice and insight as gifts you were given in the first place. I know it's because often you see how this person is going to make a mistake. Then, you carry their burdens upon you. But, reject it, reject the Savior complex.
Oh, and that self-protecting layering you do. Although you're an extrovert, you are quite observant in groups paying attention to body language and examining someone's story they hadn't yet offered. Since you are naturally a leader, at your worst you walk in with this false confidence into new situations. You begin accessing people and ensure you remain the Alpha cat. This produces a downward spiral; because at your core you value authenticity and vulnerability. Yet, you find yourself putting up an impenetrable wall, which does nothing for welcoming authenticity or vulnerability.
Rather, it communicates to others "Well, I guess she has it all together. I can't approach her. Plus, she always has an answer and knows A LOT about (insert topic)." Do you see my point?
Your "feeling" side can turn all judgmental.
So, here's the good news, albeit hard, but good. Since you are a Lion leader, when you come into a group showing that weak, sensitive, raw feeling side (which just "gets" it), do you know what you do for others?
Yeah, it's pretty phenomenal. You lead others into the place of them becoming who they have been created to be. You give them permission to be weak, sensitive, and vulnerable. And then, with your ability to mentor as a teacher, you can walk with them in that empathetic, genuine ENFJ way.
Oh and you're going to need a lot of SJs on your side; because, they are super great with systematic details and you're not so much. That "J" is more about organizing people and not systems. Also, remember to keep that grace in check. Recall often how as you walk along this journey of self-actualization that not all ENFJs (or other personality types for that matter) have matured or dealt with their stuff. This will give you grace for that young lady you meet and cringe a little. Mainly, because you realize you were her. Then, you think of all the people who were gracious teachers and mentors in your life at that time. Maybe, you can be that to her.
So, in closing, keep rocking your ENFJ self. You'll never tire talking about nerdy things like MBTI and personality tests, even with the many eye rolls you get along the way. Just smile and keep analyzing their personality without them knowing it.
Kamille, your future ENFJ
IF you're an ENFJ, I would love to know what you would add?