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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Figured I'd also post this here, partly to expose this to fresh sets of eyes, and partly because this subforum is so active.

I'm wondering if anyone here relates to this at all.

I've always felt out of place in the world, in society, but haven't been able to quite express or put my finger on why.

For example, in high school, I saw myself as someone who was physically present, who hung out and interacted with the other kids at school, but that no one would miss, nor remember after I was gone (aside from my group of 4-5 friends). It also doesn't help that I was the only person from my graduating class going to the particular university I chose.

The closest analogy I can think of is somewhat of a bad example, because it puts me down and assumes a better experience without me around. Also, apologies if the situation doesn't apply to you - I'm making a generalization from my own experiences in an attempt to better explain myself.

High School Analogy:
I would harken my presence in high school to advertisements on television. You notice them when they're there, but if you watch the same show without ads, you don't miss them or notice their absence. That's more or less how I felt, and in some sense, still feel with regards to my social presence - and yes, sometimes, but not always in a negative light.

I've noticed that I'm different than "normal", with normal being defined by our ESTJ society, that places emphasis on being an ESTJ as a male - being social; taking action and doing things, rather than overthinking; highly sensory, focusing on one's immediate surroundings, and even seeking material goods and/or power.

I just don't dig it, and thanks to the exploring I have done thus far, I can at least explain my differences in terms of the MBTI / cognitive functions, the enneagram, and type stackings.

Let's review the checklist:


Sooo...for starters, I'm different than what society typically portrays as male role-models in...yes, that's right, all four axis. So already, based on my MBTI type, I'm in complete opposition to what we're told the "norm" is for men in society.


I have no idea what the norms are with regards to the enneagram, nor for stackings, but what I do feel here is the anti-social nature of these types in a social world.

Which instinct is my stacking lacking (heh, unintentional rhyme)? Social.

Type 5s, from my limited understanding, are typically distant, aloof, and generally not social.

No wonder I generally feel misunderstood and alone. Also makes me wonder if these differences - or my perception of being different, like a lone alien camouflaged as a human, "knowing" that you're the only one of your kind in your surroundings - reinforce my being a Type 5, because it's easier for me to step back and be an observer when I notice how different I am relative to hoi polloi.

What this all boils down to is that I really want to find my personal niche within the world. For me, this includes forming deep personal connections with other people, preferably in person, although getting to a point where I feel comfortable doing that feels like having to climb my own uncharted Mount Everest. In terms of dating, it really doesn't help that men are expected to be the ones to "take the plunge" and make the first move (damn social conventions! View attachment 36519 ).

I'm familiar with the saying "the greater the challenge, the greater the reward", but damn if it doesn't seem insurmountable...

Also, I'm not depressed about any of this - it's more of an annoyance. These are my observations "as is", albeit coloured with my feelings about them - perhaps that's the seemingly contradictory nature of a Type 5 Feeler.
EDIT: I want to overcome my social discomfort and fear of exposing my vulnerability, but I don't know how to articulate this situation in such a way that people who haven't experienced something similar can actually understand.

I don't feel comfortable seeking help from someone unless s/he "gets" where I'm coming from, including the magnitude of my situation, and the ambivalence between desperately desiring to form genuine connections with people and shying away from/avoiding people because the actions I would have to take to start and maintain such relationships scares the shit out of me.

And since I don't feel able to adequately communicate this to others, I feel more or less stuck between a metaphorical rock and hard place, with my only valid option being to remain in this predicament and to continue to observe my condition as-is (excluding the fact that my verbal translation of my thoughts tends to be terribly abstract and imprecise; i.e. I generally find it hard to verbally articulate what I'm thinking or feeling, especially on short notice).
 

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I have yet to put this idea into test, but my general belief is that when someone feels bad because they don't fit in it should mean that they are seeking acceptance from the outside, while lacking acceptance from themselves.

Well, I have to agree that we are not the usual type of people. I never figured out the dating game in practice, nor felt especially glorious by having many friends. I never cared about being a winner (Stacking trophies and medals), all I ever cared was making sure I was within the pace life had put on me and got along with everyone.

The usual milestones and achievements that the society puts on us don't really work for our kind. Not that we're special and superior, we're just different. The great problem is that we tend to feel left out from society, especially during the high school years. Since we do not share the same goals and aspirations as many others, its easy for us to lack merit according to these standards.

But normally the INFP grows up to learn its own gifts. And that doesn't mean being a tree-hugger vegan passive hipster who only writes poetry and draws (nothing against those). But in order to find your own gifts, you have to know and accept yourself.

I feel it's like a test life puts on all individuals - to find themselves within the world, and give that self a meaning. And that test has to be passed sooner or later. But how do I find myself? Go beyond your borders. Lose yourself in life - try something you never did, do something you always wanted to do and stuff. That's the only way to find out what's you and what isn't.

I understand your distress, but don't try to measure your awesomeness according other standards. It's like measuring heat with a watch - it will not work.
 

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"For example, in high school, I saw myself as someone who was physically present, who hung out and interacted with the other kids at school, but that no one would miss, nor remember after I was gone (aside from my group of 4-5 friends)."

Dang, man. I've felt like this my entire life.

I think it's an INFP thing -- we're more aware of similarities and differences between things and people than most people are. I've never been able to relate to people my age, either -- when I was a kid, I usually talked to adults more than other kids. Even now, I prefer the company of Gen-X's and Baby Boomers more than that of people in their mid-twenties. What about you?

It helped me to wait until I met a girl who was the same kind of different that I am -- an outsider, watching people for a while before joining with them. We took to each other pretty quickly. Keep watching for people like this -- they stay near the walls; they frequent libraries, quiet places.

It sucks that it annoys you, but it's good that it doesn't bum you out. Self-acceptance is probably harder for INFP's than it is for other types.
 

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Well I must say Wayfarer, I do believe you described exactly the last four years of my life in high school. I always noticed people would converse with me during class, but somehow I always went unnoticed, other than my group of 4 friends. So yes, I relate with you a little too much on this topic. As well, I do believe I am an INFP and 5w4 (possibly 4w5) so perhaps that is why I relate so well.
 

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"For example, in high school, I saw myself as someone who was physically present, who hung out and interacted with the other kids at school, but that no one would miss, nor remember after I was gone (aside from my group of 4-5 friends)."

I feel you. Like I'm just there and it doesn't really matter.

Also I've always had trouble with new people, I don't think I've ever gone up to a stranger and talked, most people I meet through friends or class or something. But I'm alright with friends, quiet in groups usually though.

I'm sx/sp 6w5 I believe, I hate to stand out and am driven by my values and try hard to achieve my goal.

I have yet to put this idea into test, but my general belief is that when someone feels bad because they don't fit in it should mean that they are seeking acceptance from the outside, while lacking acceptance from themselves.
When people don't fit in I think they think they are different, even though there are many people like them, and they think because they are different it is bad and they should change (so seeking acceptance from the outside and lowering acceptance of self), or other types think "whatever" and might think its the other people who are umm.. Not sure how to put it, sort of less worthy (not seeking acceptance from outside and liking themselves more) although people seek both acceptance from others and themselves.
I think acceptance from self will help me with acceptance from others so helping confidence. I know acceptance from others effects acceptance on myself.
 

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I can relate. I've always felt different. I find it very difficult to understand how normal people view the world. The very concept of normality is strange to me. The majority of people I meet, fit into this idea of being normal and I find it very difficult to relate to them. The things which concern them don't really concern me. I find it very difficult to find common ground that I can use to relate to them.

I have this tendency to not see people as individuals. I see people as being part of a larger whole that is mainly governed by instincts. I enjoy thinking about how these instincts shape society and how individuals within society follow these instincts. The problem is that when you view people in this way, it makes it very hard to interact with people on a normal level. But it's the way I naturally think and I wouldn't be being myself if I tried to change.

When I'm around people I'm usually very quiet because I find it difficult to communicate about the normal things that people enjoy talking about. So I must appear like a very bland individual. Luckily I have many friends who I relate to well and I don't think they would describe me as bland. I think you just need to find those people who you share a mutual understanding with.
 

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I can relate. I've always felt different. I find it very difficult to understand how normal people view the world. The very concept of normality is strange to me. The majority of people I meet, fit into this idea of being normal and I find it very difficult to relate to them. The things which concern them don't really concern me. I find it very difficult to find common ground that I can use to relate to them.
Don't understand- Economic stuff. Football fans saying "we" like they are part of the football club. Everything.
Problems- With little problems I don't even care about them and I only worry about big problems periodically. They won't matter very soon anyway. Just deal with it
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Here are a few quick responses before I call it a night.

I have yet to put this idea into test, but my general belief is that when someone feels bad because they don't fit in it should mean that they are seeking acceptance from the outside, while lacking acceptance from themselves.

(snip)

I understand your distress, but don't try to measure your awesomeness according other standards. It's like measuring heat with a watch - it will not work.
I don't feel bad that I don't fit in, it just is.

What I feel annoyed, a bit frustrated, and envious about are the people who do the common mold. It feels like they're intrinsically a step ahead of us, because they already know where they fit in.

Whereas for us, we first have to find - or make our own - mold that fits us, and that only puts us on parity with those who fit into a common pre-made mold.

It's like running a race where you happen to be starting with a large handicap - the end goal is the same (I'll generalize this end goal as happiness) - but with a larger distance for you to cover compared to the other runners.

It's not intrinsically good or bad, but I do find it frustrating. Life isn't fair, but nothing you can do about that, so it's not worth worrying about.

</rant> :tongue:

I think it's an INFP thing -- we're more aware of similarities and differences between things and people than most people are. I've never been able to relate to people my age, either -- when I was a kid, I usually talked to adults more than other kids. Even now, I prefer the company of Gen-X's and Baby Boomers more than that of people in their mid-twenties. What about you?

It helped me to wait until I met a girl who was the same kind of different that I am -- an outsider, watching people for a while before joining with them. We took to each other pretty quickly. Keep watching for people like this -- they stay near the walls; they frequent libraries, quiet places.
Now that you mention, yeah, I think I do prefer the company of Gen Xs and Baby Boomers. I've always felt out-of-place within the Gen Y age group, feeling somehow more mature and self-aware. On a tangential note, I also sometimes feel that I am living in the wrong era, as if I was meant to be from a different time period - I know there are specific terms for this, for something being either behind or ahead of its time, which I feel I can relate to.

Part of my problem with that is that I'm quite averse to initiating conversation. I often wish people would approach me, and engage me in conversation while keeping things real - avoiding the phoney pre-texts and preferably the, IMO, boring sensory details; someone who's comfortable in her/his own skin, who might be able to draw my genuine guarded-self out piece by piece.

Basically people who willingly show their vulnerability without apologizing for it nor being ashamed of it - i.e. the antithesis of me. :blushed:

Then again, given how cold and aloof I can appear, or my talking to myself out loud about whatever I'm pondering at the time, I imagine I don't seem very approachable.

I'm probably unintentionally fending off people that might want be interested in speaking with me, meanwhile I'm scared shitless to approach someone else and start such a conversation, because I'm incredibly uncomfortable exposing and expressing my vulnerability in person (yet here I am doing it "anonymously" on an internet forum, to strangers across the world :tongue:).

Catch-22. :confused:

I wonder if this is partly to do with the enneagram type 5 in me.
 
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I often wish people would approach me, and engage me in conversation while keeping things real - avoiding the phoney pre-texts and preferably the, IMO, boring sensory details; someone who's comfortable in her/his own skin, who might be able to draw my genuine guarded-self out piece by piece.

Basically people who willingly show their vulnerability without apologizing for it nor being ashamed of it - i.e. the antithesis of me. :blushed:
How would this look in an intial meeting? Agreed, it would be wonderful to be able to be open and vulnerable right from the get-go, but I wonder how this would be achieved...
 
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I have yet to put this idea into test, but my general belief is that when someone feels bad because they don't fit in it should mean that they are seeking acceptance from the outside, while lacking acceptance from themselves.
That's powerful. I feel like I can really relate to this quote, given my current situation.

I feel it's like a test life puts on all individuals - to find themselves within the world, and give that self a meaning. And that test has to be passed sooner or later. But how do I find myself? Go beyond your borders. Lose yourself in life - try something you never did, do something you always wanted to do and stuff. That's the only way to find out what's you and what isn't.
This exceptional. My motto exactly. Thank you! :proud:
 

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I'm a female but I can identify with all of those traits. The thing is, I don't mind be different in those ways. And I don't mind people not being anything like me in that regard. I accept our differences, that's what makes getting to know people interesting, that we can be so different. But the issue is the tendancies of people in general to reject anything that isn't the norm. This sort of person dislikes quiet people or anyone else that's different simply because that's not what is socially acceptable. That's incredibly closed-minded.
 
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Honestly, sometimes it really does have to do with the environment. I don't think that highschool is going to incline someone towards "self-acceptance" but even if you were accepting of yourself, you can still feel out of place. That's how I feel now that I'm in a completely different state from the one I grew up and was raised in. If you feel out of place EVERYWHERE, then you do need to start from a place of self acceptance but it might honestly just be environmental/circumstantial too.
 
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Discussion Starter #13
How would this look in an intial meeting? Agreed, it would be wonderful to be able to be open and vulnerable right from the get-go, but I wonder how this would be achieved...
Thank you for bringing that up, because I'm not sure what it might look like. I quite like the encounter in Dostoevsky's White Nights, however fantastical, romantic, and seemingly unlikely to happen. :wink:

I'd probably prefer a more common, down-to-earth scenario, but as to the specifics, I don't know what I'm looking for quite yet.

This is something I'll have to ponder.

Honestly, sometimes it really does have to do with the environment. I don't think that highschool is going to incline someone towards "self-acceptance" but even if you were accepting of yourself, you can still feel out of place. That's how I feel now that I'm in a completely different state from the one I grew up and was raised in. If you feel out of place EVERYWHERE, then you do need to start from a place of self acceptance but it might honestly just be environmental/circumstantial too.
I've been out of high school for almost eight years now, and I still feel somewhat out of place. I'm pretty sure it does have to with self-acceptance issues, including a feeling of not being good enough.

This belief can be quite annoying, because even when friends, family, or even acquaintances give me genuine compliments, I still feel as if they're "just saying it" and don't mean it - even when I can tell that they do, in fact, mean it.

It's annoying being unable to rationalize this limiting belief away, since I know it makes no rational sense.

Any tips or suggestions for confronting and healing a low level of self-acceptance?

Or should I just start a new topic? :tongue:
 

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Ah, I've been there. I know how it feels like when you see yourself as completely different so that when people give you compliments, even though you know they're sincere, you don't feel like they're speaking the truth because if the person they're complimenting exists, it doesn't feel like it exists in you.

Can I ask you where you think your self-acceptance issues come from? I think I would know how to respond from there.
 

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Ah, I've been there. I know how it feels like when you see yourself as completely different so that when people give you compliments, even though you know they're sincere, you don't feel like they're speaking the truth because if the person they're complimenting exists, it doesn't feel like it exists in you.

Can I ask you where you think your self-acceptance issues come from? I think I would know how to respond from there.
I'm pretty sure it has to do with being bullied and, to an extent, ostracised as a child, starting in grades 1-2, and then primarily in grades 6-7. Back in middle school, I was the quintessential nerd whom the majority of my classmates would make fun of - at my expense - including most of the so called "friends" I had at the time.

Also, it might have something to do with my younger brother (by two years) and I frequently fighting until we were around 18/20 respectively, and being told off and punished by my parents as a result. In terms of academic, extra-curricular, and social expectations or standards, I'd say my parents were quite lenient, so long as I at least put in the effort to try.
 

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I'm pretty sure it has to do with being bullied and, to an extent, ostracised as a child, starting in grades 1-2, and then primarily in grades 6-7. Back in middle school, I was the quintessential nerd whom the majority of my classmates would make fun of - at my expense - including most of the so called "friends" I had at the time.

Also, it might have something to do with my younger brother (by two years) and I frequently fighting until we were around 18/20 respectively, and being told off and punished by my parents as a result. In terms of academic, extra-curricular, and social expectations or standards, I'd say my parents were quite lenient, so long as I at least put in the effort to try.
Ahhhh, I feel ya. I was in a similar situation in life. And funny, my parents were like that too! I read somewhere (might have been on this forum actually) that infp kids might have developed because their parents were detached and in a way, gave them some mental space to develop their intuition.

One thing that I did was honestly disown the past. Those kids were awful, your parents and your brother weren't what you needed and all of them did hurt you and that is valid. Your emotional core might still be that boy in school who get bullied and ostracized but you've got to think of yourself as the adult who is empowering him. I hope that doesn't sound like some pseudo-psychology bs I'm trying to throw on you, aha. But really, you empower him by being the kind of person you wanted when you were a kid. Think about every obscurity you have, whether it be in a mannerism or an interest, and appreciate yourself for it. Every day, while I'm doing something, I honestly say to myself stuff like "How cool is it that I think this way while most people tend to think "X"?" It might sound even dumb to do that but it's really worked for me! I don't do that whole "look in the mirror and say what you like" because that can depend so much on your mood and lighting and whatnot but something as concrete as what you're interested in really doesn't (it just expands).

I feel that especially when you've been ostracized, to convert that intensity of imposed isolation, you really really have to be diligent about appreciating yourself for the very things that have always made you to "stand out" and "be different". Also, you're already on the right path on trying to find communities that you can relate to. A LOT of people have felt like you are feeling right now and they're still feeling that way. Hell, I struggle with it from time to time.

Do you live with your family? If you do, I understand if moving out isn't a practical solution but you have to find ways to get of the house for the day, if only to be the 100 percent introvert that you are (;D) because you will not recharge your batteries around toxicity / anything that reminds you of your past.
 

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I can relate, as opposed to the typical male counter type. I have felt a need to chameleonize myself in certain situations just to *survive*. It isn't as a matter of acting *fake*, I'm true to myself...it is a matter of survival as true self expression in many cases meant severe repercussions. It doesn't help that I also want to transcend existence itself into some kind of ethereal realm through art. That definitely doesn't help with fitting in with the typical ESTJ male / culture.

I've found either a) starting fresh in a new city or b) just living in a big city with lots of "groups" can help alleviate some things that could be dragging you. There are places where I could *fit in* way better than others, where as some places I felt like I couldn't even act myself for fear of odd looks, rejection, opposing views.

The causes can DEFINITELY be environmental... living with family, high school, even a particular city can most definitely be stifling depending on the individual. I've definitely seen the grass IS actually greener effect a few times. Then when I go to some places as I travel a bunch, I certainly feel like a fish out of water. I think this is one of the reasons why I initially associated "travel" with good, b/c I was leaving home/where I was from for a bit and getting out to something else.

I definitely had to develop that exterior Te with dealing with the world, while completely hiding my internal F. In that sense, I do think the majority of people I've casually run across have no clue into the "real me."

It took until my late 20's until I started having *significant* breakthroughs and trying to live life more authentically, not just on the inside. It's still hard dealing with older friends who have some perception of myself, family, etc.
 
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