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I understand why these functions might be mutually exclusive because I definitely have found myself having to either pay attention to the current situation (Se) or to sort through what the situation means and how it fits together (Ni). However, what makes you say that developing one diminishes the other by default? Why couldn't you have strong sensory perception when needed, and strong intuition when needed? Or why can't we be martyrs in our empathy (Fe) if we choose to, but also have a strong ability to think through cold, hard facts if necessary? Just wondering how you arrived at that conclusion.

-----I think the dominant-inferior function relationship is the most complicated. First, I am not saying those functions are mutually exclusive. Rather, they are two opposite ends of the same stick. Think of our minds as having 100 points to spend on that stick--apportioned to Ni and Se respectively. Let's say we start with a clear preference for Ni (which, as INFJs, we do), so the points stand at Ni 75%<-->Se 25%. So, then an INFJ embraces the popular, oversimplified, and well-disseminated myth of trying to achieve "balance" in the sense of 50%:50%. So the INFJ "works" on Se (directly engaging it), and manages to successfully reapportion some of those points. Now, let's see where the INFJ stands: Ni 60%<-->Se 40%. One has successfully improved the inferior function--at the expense of the dominant function. Now, instead of doing one thing well (Ni at 75%), the INFJ does two things insufficiently (Ni 60% and Se 40%). Instead of one passing grade, now the INFJ has two failing grades.
-----If it were possible to actually balance the function to 50%/50%, the results would be even worse. The following is from Gifts Differing (12): "Some people dislike the idea of a dominant process and prefer to think of themselves as using all four processes equally. However, Jung holds that such impartiality, where it actually exists, keeps all of the processes relatively underdeveloped and produces a 'primitive mentality,' because opposite ways of doing the same thing interfere with each other if neither has priority. If one perceptive process is to reach a high degree of development, it needs to undivided attention much of the time, which means that the other must be shut off frequently and will be less developed. If one judging process is to become highly developed, it must similarly have the right of way. One perceptive process and one judging process can develop side by side, provided on is used in the service of the other. But one process - sensing, intuition, thinking or feeling - must have clear sovereignty, with opportunity to reach its full development, if a person is to be really effective." "In order for the dominant function to grow in prominence, favor, and consciousness, Jung felt there must be a relative diminishment or atrophying of the other functions." See: (http://personalityjunkie.com/12/typological-problem-opposites/). However, he also recognized that this "'one-sidedness' is not without its problems. It leaves us feeling restless, imbalanced, and dissatisfied." See: (http://personalityjunkie.com/12/typological-problem-opposites/).
-----It is important to understand the ways in which the inferior function opposes the dominant function, and also the ways in which the inferior function is an essential part of the dominant function. In order to healthily engage the inferior function, one should not do so directly (like an INFJ trying to become super detail-oriented (and ending up OCD, or at least obsessed), or an INTP trying to become a social butterfly (and ending up exhausted)). Rather, to do so healthily, one should engage the inferior function indirectly by integrating the inferior function through the dominant function. See: (Integrating the Inferior Function through the Dominant | Personality Junkie).
-----If we extend what Isabel Briggs Myers said in Gifts Differing (and embrace the belief of those like DaveSuperPowers or internalize the lessons of StrengthsFinder and Strengths-Based Leadership), we should spend the grand majority of our time developing our strengths--our superpowers--rather than dwelling on our weaknesses. It is inefficient to spend time dwelling on our weaknesses--and obtaining small rewards for a large energy output, than to spend time developing and using our strengths, and in doing so reaping large rewards for a small energy output. So, back to the apportionment table. Let's say an INFJ internalizes these lessons and develops his or her strengths (allowing his or her unconscious to process Se, as it was meant to): Ni 90%<-->Se 10%. Now this INFJ has one exceptional grade--an A!--and one failing grade. This is the best alternative A:F versus C:F or D:F.
-----More to the point, perhaps, is that trying to develop and engage the inferior function directly is like the Aesop's Fable of The Dog, The Meat, and The Reflection:A dog seized some meat from the butcher shop and ran away with it until he came to a river. When the dog was crossing the river, he saw the reflection of the meat in the water, and it seemed much larger than the meat he was carrying. He dropped his own piece of meat in order to try to snatch at the reflection. When the reflection disappeared, the dog went to grab the meat he had dropped but he was not able to find it anywhere, since a passing raven had immediately snatched the meat and gobbled it up. The dog lamented his sorry condition and said, 'Woe is me! I foolishly abandoned what I had in order to grab at a phantom, and thus I ended up losing both that phantom and what I had to begin with.'
See: (Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura Gibbs. Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002. Available at http://mythfolklore.net/aesopica/perry/133.htm). The dog was greedy (trying to take more than it needed). Likewise, the belief that one can wield all cognitive processes with the same ability as the dominant function can lead to becoming greedy, to becoming egotistic (perhaps even sometimes narcissistic), to lose all sense of humility, and to breeding entitlement and to reducing the importance of other people (what is the value of working together if one believes one can do everything and know everything alone?). All of these things operate against empathy. See: (Empathy, Entitlement, & Typology | Personality Junkie).
-----I think it is difficult for many INFJs to accept limitations (not for the same reason as it is for P-types) because as INFJs we strive to always be growing and learning. Our weaknesses seem the obvious choice for improvement. Unfortunately, this works to our detriment in this case. Instead, thought it may seem somewhat counter-intuitive at first, the way in which to grow is to grow in our strengths and to value them as the truly awesome gifts they are.
-----This is my understanding and opinion. :proud:
[HR][/HR]Excellent Resources:

[HR][/HR]Original Thread: http://personalitycafe.com/infj-forum-protectors/128332-studies-kill-creativity-2.html
[HR][/HR]What do you think?
 

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I agree, focus on strengthening what comes naturally and only take the rough edges off the other functions. Much more effective in the long run.
 
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