[INFJ] What Exactly Does "Knowing What You're Feeling" Mean?

What Exactly Does "Knowing What You're Feeling" Mean?

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This is a discussion on What Exactly Does "Knowing What You're Feeling" Mean? within the INFJ Forum - The Protectors forums, part of the NF's Temperament Forum- The Dreamers category; ...

  1. #1

    What Exactly Does "Knowing What You're Feeling" Mean?

    What exactly is meant by “knowing what you’re feeling”? I see this often in descriptions of Fi/Fe or certain types, but haven’t found much that really elaborates beyond:

    a) This type is often aware of what they’re feeling.

    b) This type is often confused or unaware of what they’re feeling.

    It’s hard to imagine that anyone would be completely clueless to their feelings in the way that they couldn’t tell if their feelings were good or bad, but I don’t know where the cutoff would be between knowing and not knowing.

    Does knowing what you’re feeling include a general sense, such as being able to discern good vs bad feelings, but nothing beyond that? Or does it include more detail or the why?

    Or does it break down good vs bad further? With the ability to know different forms of good vs bad feelings, like



    Or would this breakdown even be too general to constitute knowing what you’re feeling? Would the phrase suggest even further breakdown of the sub-categories of good vs bad? (I’m ignoring neutral here)

  2. #2

    I agree, Mark. I see in the Extroverted Feeling descriptions "They are unsure of what they are feeling" and I have never been able to relate to this myself. I always know what I am feeling! But I have heard plenty of people on here mention that they don't always know what they are feeling.

    As a counselor, I often ask people what they are feeling. Some people will name emotions like sadness, anger, loneliness, etc. They will name specific feelings. And then I will dig deeper. "Where is the sadness or pain coming from? What is causing it?" So this is how I think it relates to the question of "How do you know what you are feeling?" In any particular moment, ask yourself: What am I feeling right now? And also, what is causing me to feel that way? Where is that feeling coming from? There are some people who can point that out better than others. Some people can't point it out at all! :)

  3. #3

    I had to work all day today and it was followed by drinks and dinner with three extroverts, so take what I have to say with a grain of salt... I pick up on the emotions and mood of everyone that I come in contact with. I'm like a mood ring that reflects back to the other person. I have had to learn to separate the emotions that I was picking up on and my true emotional response. It was a learned skill. I now am better at managing it, but I easily get flooded by other's emotions. No matter how much people try to hide, I can feel how they truly feel deep down. I feel it as well. It's a blessing and a curse. Sometimes it hurts a bit too much because I can't fix everybody. I struggled more when I was a child. I feel the emotions of animals, as well. Anyone else? I hope I helped, even though I am completely spent socially!

  4. #4

    I know for me, the vast majority of the time I'm so focused on what other people are feeling and figuring out ways to keep the peace that I can't tell if I'm feeling something or I'm just echoing the feelings around me. :/

    I am a sympathy feeler to the extreme which is why I hate super emotional and dramatic movies and tv shows. They make me feel like shit, good feelings and bad feelings alike. :((

    So I have a huge problem knowing what I'm feeling. Other people I'm pretty good at figuring out on a surface level, myself I usually have no idea.
    StableSun35, shoot4thestars, DB96 and 2 others thanked this post.

  5. #5

    It is often kind of hard for me to be in tune with my emotions. So often I can kind of "know" the way I emotionally feel, but can't really put a label on it. I also often put others' feelings first, and/or are more aware of/in knowledge of their feelings than my own.

    I think for an Fi user, conscious judgments are more based on feelings and inner values. In that sense, they have to be more consciously aware of how they feel about things. For an Fe user, judgments are also often emotionally based, but the reference for making judgements is more so the feelings of others.

    I often realize after some longish amount of time what my own emotions really are because they have reached a point of somewhat overwhelm. This is especially true when socializing is involved, because Fe really takes center stage in that case.

    p.s. this is post no. 1234 for me!!!! Very big moment, my friends:)
    Last edited by Snowflake Minuet; 05-13-2017 at 10:31 PM.
    StableSun35, charlie.elliot, lizw47 and 10 others thanked this post.

  6. #6

    Well on the subject of Fe in the dom or aux position, here you go:

    One important thing to remember about Fe users is that they often have a hard time understanding their own emotions. They can easily pick up on and understand other people’s emotions, but their own are more confusing to them. This is because their feeling function is directed outwards, towards others, instead of inwards, as with introverted feeling. Fi users can easily understand their own emotions, while Fe users will often have to ‘vent’ or talk their emotions out to understand them. This process of putting their feelings out into the world lets them process them effectively, and is an important thing for them to be able to do. This rule applies more to dominant and auxiliary Fe users, and less to the tertiary and inferior Fe users.
    Source: How Do YOU Use Extraverted Feeling? - Psychology Junkie

    That is how I experience it. I often don't understand how I think/feel about something until I've expressed it externally in some way. It doesn't necessarily have to be through venting to an actual person. It could just be through writing in my journal or writing a poem. It might even be through seeing the exact feeling or experience mirrored in another person. I have a need to see it externally.

    As has already been said, when around people a lot, it can be hard to seperate your emotions from theirs. You start overidentifying with their stuff so then it's like seperating laundry. Which emotions belong to me, and which emotions belong to them? Things start to become a bit blurry until I've had a sufficient amount of alone time to gain clarity. Or...vent in some way. That usually does the trick for me. I usually have a lot of conflicting feelings on my own anyway, so it can still be complicated even when I'm just dealing with my own feelings. I rarely ever just feel one feeling. I don't know how everyone else experiences their feelings. I just know how I experience my own.

    So on the one hand, I know how I feel...I'm probably just more presently aware/focused on other people's emotional energies and how they are interacting with my own. I've had to learn how to develop better boundaries and not take on everything they are feeling. It's not all my responisbility. I can just be aware that they are there but I don't have to receive it into myself or REACT to it...if that makes sense. I can also choose to embrace it in a positive way (where I'm still able to help) or a negative way (where it does harm to myself). But resistance usually makes things worse.
    StableSun35, INForJoking, Sour Roses and 5 others thanked this post.

  7. #7

    Quote Originally Posted by mp2 View Post
    It’s hard to imagine that anyone would be completely clueless to their feelings in the way that they couldn’t tell if their feelings were good or bad
    This is my default state.

    If I want to know what I am feeling, I have to take anything from five minutes to days to examine my feelings. Preferably somewhere quiet, and it works best when I applied in hindsight: I can tell what I felt some time ago. (As you can imagine, that is not highly useful.) It's marginally better when applied to what other people are feeling. And there's it's simply ... well, what it says on the can. You get an impression of someone and have an idea (or more precisely, a feeling) of what they are feeling. Either because you (involuntarily) mirror the feeling, or because you cast yourself in the position of the other.

    So eh, don't knock it. If you can't imagine not knowing what you yourself are feeling at any given moment, your feeling function is not inferior. Congrats

    Now if only everyone considered this, and stopped badgering me about "what I am feeling" when I literally don't know ...
    Last edited by Northern Lights; 05-14-2017 at 04:17 AM.
    thompidoo, StableSun35, Candy Apple and 1 others thanked this post.

  8. #8

    In order to know my own feelings, I need to be alone, I need to have time to somehow extravert what is happening on the inside, either by talking it out (which means I go into 'monologue mode'), write it out, or paint it out. I generally come to an understanding of my feelings as metaphorical images that make it easier to pin a label on them. I completely relate to the description of Fe that emphasizes the difficulty in separating one's own feelings from those of the people in the immediate environment and I believe that it is likely that those who can more easily identify their feelings are more likely to be using Fi.
    Sour Roses, Candy Apple and mp2 thanked this post.

  9. #9

    When I want to know what I'm feeling I search for or think of the ideal paragraph, movie scene or music that fits. This way I can sort of "try on" these things by rereading, rewatching etc. until I found the right one, and then recognize it.

    That's the reason I have so many bookmarks saved and "sources" memorized I can draw from, like a big collection or micro-library. The tune playing in the back of my head I may be whisteling to and my posture are additional hints.

    Feeling happy for example goes along with having rather happy thoughts; I've found that there's always an additional clue to my feelings, they are never alone but always go along with something beyond them.

    I only get completely out of touch with my feelings when I'm really agitated, nervous (positive anticipation as well as negative worry) or angry in a heated argument. After I've calmed down I then notice and admit to myself that I was out of character and what happened and try to appease my brothers again.

    When people remark on things like when I always talk about the syrian conflict (it doesn't seem to leave me alone) when watching any news turned out to be reliable as well.
    mp2 thanked this post.

  10. #10

    For most of my life, I just haven't felt that my feelings were that important. I was so focused on other things that I cared about, and my personal feelings didn't really seem relevant, and were potentially unpleasant anyway, so I just wasn't really interested in them. I was good at pushing them away in pursuit of whatever agenda I was trying to accomplish. My personal goals were so much more interesting and satisfying.

    I didn't really have a lot of thoughts about what i was feeling. i.e. my feelings were not in my head space. However, they would definitely show up in my body, being tense, relaxed, etc.

    The more I think about why I care about the things I care about, the less I find myself getting obsessed with personal goals/ agendas (or something I'm thinking about), and the more I find myself actually thinking about my feelings. It's nice, because it makes me feel more centered and present in reality. It's unpleasant sometimes but that's okay.
    I find more opportunities for closeness and intimacy with friends, too, when I don't just automatically push feelings away, because I end up showing my feelings and then we talk about it etc.

    In terms of Fe, specifically ,it's easy to get focused on what people around you and doing, saying, feeling, etc, and not really feel that your feelings are relevant. It's not that they disappear, it's just that your determination to enact a certain agenda takes over. Of course a really strong or upsetting feeling will cut through all that.
    UnicornRainbowLove and mp2 thanked this post.

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