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Discussion Starter #1
Anybody else feel like they constantly need praise or reassurance in order to feel worthwhile or productive?

I try to remain somewhat detached about it, reminding myself that most (not all!) of the time, it's what I think that matters more than what others think. But I internalize the world around me (thanks a lot, Ne), so I find myself worrying and full of self-doubt! Do any of my fellow INFPs feel the same way?

(For the record: I know that the need for praise and reassurance is not exclusive to INFPs, but INFPs might experience it in their own INFP-ish way.)
 

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I've always had this vast difference between how I feel/think about myself, and how it appears the world sees me.

- I have inner confidence, I know what I think, what I like, and I like who I am. I don't think I'm perfect, but I respect myself, love myself. So that part is all cozy and secure.

- However, it seems as though the majority of people don't, or wouldn't, like everything about me that I like. It seems they have very different values, that they devalue some of the things I think are my strong points, and judge me for not having different strengths, or see more of what they consider weaknesses or flaws. This leaves me feeling very unsure and insecure about where I stand in the outside world. Because I've come to expect disapproval, because that seems to be the default assessment of me externally, I Need anyone who deviates from that to keep reiterating it on just about every point so that I actually know where I stand with them. It's been ingrained that I can't just take external acceptance as a given, rejection is the given. I don't need this in order to like myself, but I need it in order to have confidence when interacting with the external world - to be able to expect success instead of failure in that realm, to know that I actually do have a place there and am not completely rejected from that aspect of life. So yes, I need lots of reassurances to counter-ballance the large weight of the message/impression that people don't want me around, don't like how I do things, don't respect my judgement or tastes, etc.

I think I'm great, but that doesn't tell me anything about where I stand with others. I know that My judgement only applies to my inner world, it doesn't grant me status or acceptance or respect or a place I fit in the external social environment. That can only be given by others. I know others aren't by default going to have the same values as me, so it doesn't make sense to simply expect them to approve of whatever I think/do/say. Basically it's like being in a foreign culture, you have to keep checking for affirmation that the way you're doing it is okay with them, that you haven't just made a social faux pas so bad you're about to be thrown out of the village, or burned at the stake.
 

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This is probably a lot more about my own self esteem issues, but I have had a lifelong problem accepting praise. When I get a compliment it's very hard for me to believe it, unless I really know the person well and trust they don't have ulterior motives. And, sadly, when I get criticized I will usually take that deeply to heart - MUCH more than taking a compliment to heart. I might be defensive about it (although I have worked hard over the years to not come off as being defensive when given constructive criticism) but some part of me inside "knows" the criticism is deserved. When I get praised/complimented, it almost always catches me off guard and embarrasses me.
 

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Personally, I have extremely high levels of internal self-worth and I overall love myself. My dad thinks I'm kinda stuck up and arrogant at times, but I know what I want, what I can do, where I have been and how I have improved. However, I know other people see me differently than I see myself and that they have different values and standards, so I doubt anything they say about me. Sometimes I even think it unfathomable that they like me. So I do need a certain amount of praise so that I can convince myself that I am accepted, but I'm like Aelthwyn in that if I don't get it, it doesn't effect how I view myself at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
this is probably a lot more about my own self esteem issues, but i have had a lifelong problem accepting praise. When i get a compliment it's very hard for me to believe it, unless i really know the person well and trust they don't have ulterior motives. And, sadly, when i get criticized i will usually take that deeply to heart - much more than taking a compliment to heart. I might be defensive about it (although i have worked hard over the years to not come off as being defensive when given constructive criticism) but some part of me inside "knows" the criticism is deserved. When i get praised/complimented, it almost always catches me off guard and embarrasses me.
me too!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Personally, I have extremely high levels of internal self-worth and I overall love myself. My dad thinks I'm kinda stuck up and arrogant at times, but I know what I want, what I can do, where I have been and how I have improved. However, I know other people see me differently than I see myself and that they have different values and standards, so I doubt anything they say about me. Sometimes I even think it unfathomable that they like me. So I do need a certain amount of praise so that I can convince myself that I am accepted, but I'm like Aelthwyn in that if I don't get it, it doesn't effect how I view myself at all.
I sometimes like myself too, but, like you, I rather doubt the positive things I hear from others because I have become so accustomed to censoring those parts of myself that others don't seem to like or understand. I strive for honesty and do a good job of using it, but my emotional self is almost totally suppressed in day-to-day discourse.
 
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