Overthinking is a big problem for both INFJ personality types and INFP personality types. As a writing coach who specializes in working with both types, I’ve seen that overthinking is tied to INFJs and INFPs struggling overall with creativity, feeling connected to their intuition, and life in general.
So many INFJs and INFPs have said to me:
“I overthink everything. Why can’t I stop?”
Overthinking for INFJs and INFPs manifests differently, but with either type, it tends to show up around the same areas in life—specifically in writing and creativity, and in relationships and interpersonal interactions. In all of these areas, overthinking tends to manifest as decision anxiety.
INFJ and INFP personality types are two of the most creative personality types among all the 16 types. We love art, writing, color, beauty, and finding the deeper meaning behind everything. However, as a writing coach who specializes in working with INFJ and INFP writers, I can tell you that I’ve worked with so many people of either type who have said to me:
“I know I’m creative, so why is it so hard for me to express it?”
When I was in my 20’s, I fell madly in love with a guy and ended up moving across the country for him. We were together for three months in Seattle before he broke up with me and started dating someone else. A couple of friends had moved out to the West Coast with me, so I wasn’t totally alone, but I was still devastated. Not only over losing the guy, but also because it seemed like no one else around me understood what I was going through.
This had been a pattern before the Seattle-guy breakup, and it continued to be a pattern afterward. For a long time, I assumed that I was too sensitive, or that I got too attached to people. For a while, I just thought something was wrong with me. Why couldn’t I get over people as fast as others did? Why did it take me a year or two, or an even longer amount of time, before I wasn’t actively in pain over a relationship crashing and burning? And maybe the weirdest thing of all, why did I still FEEL the energy of the person long after we had ceased to speak or even glimpse each other in real life?
I was working with a new client who had come to me because she said she hated her writing life. As I sat with her on Zoom and asked her questions about her writing, I watched her face change as she described how she used to feel about writing when she was much younger, and how she felt about it now.
She looked troubled, and sad. And also confused. Why was writing so hard for her now? she asked. She didn’t understand why it felt like pulling teeth to sit down and crank out 500 words. Writing had always been something she loved. She didn’t understand why it now filled her with so much dread.
As we dug deeper into the layers of her problems with writing, the truth became more and more clear.
Although most writers are well aware that they struggle with a fear of failure, many writers don’t realize that they also harbor a fear of success. For a lot of writers, the thought of being a successful writer carries with it the assumption that they will have to promote themselves and their work in ways that make them uncomfortable.
This is understandable, because marketing can be scary. When you put yourself—or your work—out there in the world, you may experience rejection or negative comments, or you may just feel more exposed than you ever have before. This is why the thought of marketing makes most writers cringe.