I am my own worst critic. My inner INFJ self-criticism levels are so high that everything I do goes through a detailed analysis of “was it good enough?”. Of course, I don’t relish the prospect of having to constantly question my own actions and words. But my inner critic sometimes gets the best of me, and I believe you can relate.
Why is self-criticism the default state of an INFJ?
When you have an idealistic personality such as ours, it’s not easy to lower your expectations. INFJ inner criticism tends to make us feel that no matter how hard we try, it will never be enough. Nowhere is this more visible than in our careers.
People who are closest to me know how hard I am on myself. Only those who worked with me know that I’m extremely self-critical. The founder of Introvert Spring and my mentor, Michaela Chung is one of those rare people who knows about my inner critic.
Trust me when I say, everything I write and create has to go through an incredible ordeal in my mind before it even sees paper. I work tirelessly to silence that voice of INFJ self-criticism, which only creates more overthinking and more anxiety.
Most INFJs are perfectionists, and I am no different. As I mentioned, people with whom we work with know firsthand that every project must have perfect results. Not because that’s being asked from us, but because we want it to be so. It took me years to accept that there’s no such thing as perfection.
Is good enough a reality for an INFJ?
Absolutely. In fact, through my line of work talking with thousands of INFJs I’ve come up with these three simple, but ridiculously effective ways to silence that inner critic.
1. Using the 1/10 scale.
A while ago I saw an experiment where a person would be asked to grade their success in life with a number from 1 to 10. Most graded themselves with 3, 4, or 5 at the most. Then the examiners called their best friends to grade them. Guess what happened? They all got 10’s, even 11’s. When your INFJ self-criticism becomes unbearable, ask your best friends what they think. You’ll hear a beautiful reality that you are much more successful than you think.
2. Journal every day.
I know what you are thinking: “Ain’t nobody got time for that every day.” I’m not asking you to write hundreds of words, just five of your accomplishments from that day.
Maybe you washed the dishes, bought a book, went to the gym, or you just got out of bed after a difficult time. It doesn’t have to be a major accomplishment. The goal of this exercise is to show you that you are enough no matter what you do my dear INFJ friend. <3
3. You are not in competition with anyone.
Humans have this habit of always comparing ourselves with each other. For an INFJ who seeks perfect results, this is difficult to digest. That’s why I’m here to tell you, you are not in competition with life! You have time, there is no rush. Slow down and take a breather. INFJ inner criticism thrives on our quick, idealistic nature. Please let go of the fact that everything needs to be ideal.
Just like INFJs sometimes chase unhealthy relationships, we don’t want to be our own worst critics, yet we are from time to time.
The best thing you can do is to be gentler with yourself. Now, I want you to remember what I am about to say:
You are doing everything you can, the best you can, and that is enough!
That alone is worth recognition. If you feel that INFJ self-criticism keeps getting louder, let me silently remind you, you are worthy and you are enough. You’ve always been enough. <3
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Are you your own worst critic too? I would love to hear from you on this one, so feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.