Now, I have recommended for INFJs to use the Fe auxiliary like a motherfucker. It is the very function + position that will save the INFJ from a hell of introversion ala the Ni-Ti loop, or the lesser known, but equally important, Ni-Fi loop.
However, pure Fe expression has its own problems. And in any case, it is not pure because all functions are in the context of Ni in the INFJ makeup.
So, I want to introduce you to a concept known as maintaining Te minimums.
Fe and Te constitute the category known as extraverted judging functions. Fe is the auxiliary function of INFJ. The auxiliary function is where a type has the maximum ability to use something. INFJs have the maximum ability to use Fe to formalize their Ni intuitions in feeling values that everyone can understand. One of the spheres where Fe values most predominate are in the arts. So, an INFJ has one of the greatest potentials of all types to express their Ni visions and insights via artistic activities – writing, painting, musical composition, dancing, gum-chewing etc.
Te, on the other hand, most predominates in business and industrial activities. It is not concerned with the expression of human sentiments. In business activities, the expression of feelings is usually kept to a minimum. Business is concerned with getting stuff done. Order, efficiency, deadlines, schedules, allocating, delegating, expediting, filing, faxing, and fucking over. Functionalism.
You could say that Fe is form, while, Te is function. Form follows function and function follows form.
INFJs generally loathe pure Te-type activities. And in general, they would do well to stay away from the business, industrial, and corporate worlds as much as possible.
However, once an INFJ is on firm footing in establishing Fe flow in their life, they should come back round to that Te world in this new Fe context. Context is the key. Because if Te were the context that an INFJ had primarily established themselves in, they would be some of the most miserable creatures in the industrialized world. But, if they have learned to make Fe the context, they then need to use Te within it. And remember, if you are an INFJ, everything is ultimately in the context of your dominant Ni function.
But, INFJs do not use Ni, rather, they are oriented by it. They use Fe. And within this context of Fe usage, the INFJ needs to maintain Te minimums.
Anyway, let’s say that you’re an INFJ that has discovered the power of Fe use for your type. Maybe you will get a book called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron that has just the very thing a blocked INFJ needs – Morning Pages.
Morning Pages is all about using Fe in an Ni context.
The author of this book has a simple requirement for unblocking yourself:
- Every day, first thing in the morning, get up and write three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing.
This activity is the very thing that will unblock an INFJ locked in the Ni-Ti loop of endless consideration and forestalling in action.
But, INFJ often needs to take an action to get out of their crisis of inaction and to not use thinking to solve the problem. That is the problem. In large part.
So, these Morning Pages are an Fe activity. You just write whatever comes to you, without stopping or censoring yourself, or worse, not doing it at all because of x, y, z and other letters of the alphabet that an INFJ will invent just for the occasion of explaining why they cannot do such a simple activity.
So, you just do it. Action. And if the INFJ wants to they can spend the time during Morning Pages writing 3 pages of why they feel this exercise won’t work. Or they can write that they are not in the mood to write. Or that they have nothing to say. That’s fine. Just write “I have nothing to say” for three pages.
Pure Fe. Just express in words whatever the fuck you want.
Now, here is where this Te minimum thingie comes in
If you will notice in the above statement for the simple requirement of doing Morning pages there are some directives. Those would be the Te things. Yes, like directions for doing something. And it has been kept to the bare minimum in the Morning Pages instructions such that we don’t even really notice it so much.
But, yes, we have the instruction to do these Morning Pages every day. That is a frequency measurement. How often will I be doing said activity?
Then we have the instruction to do this activity first thing in the morning. That’s a sequencing instruction. We don’t do it in the middle of the day or right before bed. We do these pages first thing in the morning. OK, not too bad so far. Fine.
Finally, we have the instruction to write three pages of this stream-of-consciousness writing. How much of this writing are we to do? Not two, not four, but three pages. This is a quantity measurement.
These three things – frequency, sequence, quantity – are all exclusively Te things.
Once all those criteria have been met we have carte blanche to do whatever we want within the scope of this activity. You could write that your mother is an angry cat who licks up your daddy’s irresponsibly spilled milk at every lapping occasion she gets. It doesn’t have to make sense or be linear. You just have to show up first thing every day and do your Fe thing for three pages.
With Te minimums in place.
Do you see why it is important to have some bare guidelines for this Fe freeform expression? Fe and Ni by themselves are like spiders on acid. They can create the craziest most far out things but there is no uniformity, consistency, and pattern to it. No template. Each time Fe sets out to create it will come up with something different. And this is a very great gift if used in the proper context. Such as being an artist, creative writer, etc.
It ain’t great if you are in accounting or brain surgery.
Those professions call for heavy use of Te, which means doing the same thing the same way every time. We are not going to be getting creative in accounting.
An INFJ should be looking for Te minimum and Fe maximum. That is really the balance that an INFJ needs to strike in action. We don’t need to bring up Ni because all these functions are in the context of Ni. When an INFJ uses either Fe or Te (or anything else) it will implicitly be in the context of Ni.
This means that the INFJ Fe expression will tend to be very free-form and crazy. As a matter of fact, the term “stream-of-conscious” pretty much nails Fe in an Ni context.
So, INFJs will be happiest in their lives when they stay as close to this context as possible when picking careers, relationships, living setups and so on. INFJs are basically bohemians in spirit.
But, if an INFJ doesn’t just want to be a dilettante who dabbles about in artistic mediums but actually wants to create something that can endure, they will have to learn how to rein themselves in.
To take the most natural expression of INFJ, let’s pick the medium of written expression. INFJs tend to make the best writers around, especially in creative writing of some sort.
But, if they just write when they feel like it, when they feel inspired, they ain’t likely to produce that much output. Hell, they may never produce anything at all because they have such high standards for expression. This is where their Te superego is running more towards a maximum. It begins to take over Fe, the latter of which, in its pure form, is just about unedited and unchecked flowing expression.
So, it is important that the Te is not too much either. That will choke an INFJ in another way of over-perfectionism and adhering to external standards too much within their medium of expression.
There is also the concept of gateway Te – having some bare minimum Te in place before the INFJ gets started out of the gate, so to speak. An INFJ will often set about to doing something but block because they don’t have any idea where they are going. They don’t know when to stop, what the right amount was to put in their creative expression. They will come to a standstill once again, now this time from an extraverted function (Te superego), rather than an introverted one such as Ti (tertiary temptation).
The INFJ will start to look at what they are doing from an outside objective viewpoint and lose the impetus of what they were expressing, which often has its source in highly subjective foundations.
So, don’t get too carried away with the Te. But, you gotta have the bare minimums or else you will give up in the futility of being lost in a sea of confusion. That’s the Fe expression in its purity. A sea of eddies, currents, swells, drifts, bubblings, swoons, storms etc. All highly unpredictable.
A little Te goes a long way for an INFJ on their sea of unpredictability and in the exploitation of their innate gifts of emotional expression.
Metaphorically, an INFJ has to sojourn via the sea. Therein lies their happiness and bright destiny.
If they dam up the sea and hold it within, they will be unhappy. The sea will turn into a putrid bog (which they will be sunk to the bottom of).
But only a fool would set out onto the sea without some idea of where they were going, how long they would be going for, what to do in case of x, y, and z scenarios, and with the basic vessel and tools necessary to traverse the unpredictable currents.
But, INFJs shouldn’t make it too complicated. I advise INFJs to have the bare minimum of these things and that is all.
Otherwise, they are in danger of overthinking it before they even set out of the gate. They choke themselves with over-preparation. Over-provisioning. INFJ can make Te into a thing-in-itself just like they do with Ti. Actually, that would be their Ti making Te into a thing-in-itself 🙂
Also, knowing when to stop is important too. An INFJ may go to the other extreme of opening up the floodgates and go on and on and on. They don’t know when the journey is at an end. From the Morning Pages example above, the journey is over after 3 pages. It’s important to have a quantity measurement of how much of what is going to get done.
Basically, an INFJ needs Te for starting and stopping. They will say “I will start at this time and I will end at this time. In between I will do this much of it. I will do it again on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.” Rinse. Repeat.
Even though I highly advocate Fe for INFJ it is not an excuse to do whatever they want whenever they feel like it.
With a little Te it is possible to make the most of Fe. In reality, these two functions work in tandem. These are the two functions of extraverted judgment. One implies the other similar to how positive space implies negative space in a picture. They rely on each other for their mutual intelligibility. Darkness is not intelligible without the concept of light and vice-versa.
For example, if you had a painting that was pure white, there would be no painting at all. But, if you had a painting that had a dot of black paint placed somewhere on the white background, you now have a painting. A highly minimal painting no doubt, but a painting nonetheless. Now there is intelligibility of both the white and the black, whereas, with the white painting there was intelligibility of neither. The black dot adds the barest contrast to make us aware that there is anything there at all.
Well, I hope you get the picture (heh).
There is no Fe without some Te, even if the latter’s presence is reduced to almost nil.
How should an INFJ assess what the bare minimum of Te necessary in any given instance is?
Ironically enough, they have to use their feeling to determine that.
More next time.
Featured Photo Credit: Ken Teegardin
If you are an INFJ who wants to get some Te minimums into your life I offer consulting services.
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