Since I have a strange personality (well, really, who doesn't?) that even I don't anywhere close to fully understand, I often feel, oh, how to put this…chronically misunderstood.
By nearly everybody I know.
Yes, go ahead. Pity me;)
No, really, I do think that my thoughts, actions, and motives are often rather misconstrued, and that is annoying.
But a number of weeks ago I let it all go way too far. (I'd known my INFJ results for a number of months, and I'm not entirely sure what got me started on this negative thinking recently.) I started resenting the fact that more people, at least from what I thought, "didn't even try to understand me." I began to bemoan my "trial" to my mother to a perfectly ridiculous extent. "I AM SICK AND TIRED OF NOBODY UNDERSTANDING ME. YOU AND GOD ARE THE ONLY ONES WHO UNDERSTAND MEEEEEEEEEE!"
(Yeah, I think I did actually say that verbatim a couple of times. I already admitted this was not my best moment ;-P)
The problem, plain and simple, was that I had slid into self-pity. More succinctly, the plain-and-simple problem was that I had become hugely self-focused. Of course, as a human being, I'm naturally selfish, but thankfully the Lord gives us grace from the day to day. But a few weeks ago, I decided to feel injured by something I had worked up out of nothing. Starting with the fact that my personality traits are rather complex, I exaggerated that to mean that nobody truly understood me except for my mother and my God, and what was worse in my mind, I imagined that nobody even exerted themselves to try and understand me better--perhaps they were actually deliberately misunderstanding me for their own mischievous ends! What could be more logical, right?!
(It was a funk. It has passed.)
Because I felt misunderstood, I decided that I was. I decided to victimize myself, something I've been trying to guard against for quite a while. And yes, I might be, by some people and in different areas, not crystal-clearly known.
And then I realized something. A few things, actually.
So what if I am a little misunderstood? (Wow, I am overusing that word something dreadful, aren't I?) It's extremely likely that if that is the case, those around me aren't exactly trying to do it. They probably do try to understand me, as my mother tactfully tried to point out to me. However much it may feel like it at times, there is most likely not a mastermind plot out there to Misread Olivia. Even if my friends and family do miscalculate me sometimes, they do love me. They are good to me. They are considerate. And I can't accuse them of attempting to take advantage of me or ridicule me--I know, I know, my mind is a farfetched place--just because my spoiled little self has decided to have an ego crisis.
Is this post making any sense at all? I feel like I'm rambling horrifically.
I guess what I'm trying to say is: I don't need to be so self-focused as to make misjudging my personality a Capital Crime, or a personal attack against me. I really don't even need to think about whether I'm understood by my general acquaintance or not. I shouldn't, what's more. I am who I am, and more importantly, I can be who Christ will make me. Jesus is still sanctifying me, Heaven knows, and apparently He won't be finished "'til He returns, or calls me Home". And in the meantime, I think He wants me to stop nitpicking the Olivia He made me, and I'm pretty darn sure He wants me to stop obsessing over what others think of me.
Really, what drives this overwhelming infatuation with being understood by those around me? Why is it so important to me? I mean, it's important to everybody, but there's got to be a limit!
Yes, as Francesca Battistelli so catchily reminds me, I am free to be me on His shoulders.
I can choose to antisocially read in the midst of social gatherings, yet be constantly distracted by the conversations going on around me (and I may or may not mildly judge the participants while doing so).
I can take a moment in the midst of reading chemistry to ponder about "the origin of life and the universe." I can "stare dramatically off into the middle distance" for no apparent reason.
I can read The Princess Bride and Ivanhoe a copious amount of times. I can be too intimidated to start Anna Karenina in the middle of the school year. I can be equally excited about Star Wars and Wives and Daughters.
I can be my weird, insecure, generally happy INFJ self.
But I don't have to be a narcissist about it.