I would like to share my journey of self growth:
As a teenager I was extremely shy...had only one close friend. I was fearful and anxious about not measuring up, failing, and looking inadequate in people's eyes. I dreaded being on the spotlight, giving presentations, even working in groups... I just preferred to be by myself, watching, observing, reflecting...living my life through my memories and present musings/thoughts.
I tried to be a good daughter, not causing any trouble.... not asking for anything. As a young girl I felt I didn’t have any right to ask my parents for the things i wanted or needed, so I never asked. I sacrificed what I wanted for others . Being dependable and always polite, unassuming... Trying to live life without stepping into people's toes, not voicing my opinions in order to keep peace.
I realized during my college year how unsatisfied I was. I longed for deep and meaningful relationship yet I kept pushing people away...because i always felt like I gave too much, and them too little. Because I gave so much to the point of sacrifice, I held my friends to a higher standard. What i learned is this: ISFJ is like a bank, our friends can withdraw a lot from us, but eventually they need to make deposits otherwise we become bankrupt. We need to limit the withdrawal otherwise we become bitter and resentful for giving too much. Fellow ISFJ it’s okay to say no, it’s okay to assert our needs, it’s okay to ask for help.
The second thing that was keeping from making meaningful relationships is that I held myself back. I didn’t share my true opinions and thoughts… for fear of people not liking me or hurting and offending them. Truth is if we are ever going to make real friends, we need to be authentic and real, even if that means disagreeing with people (or hurting their feelings). As I challenged myself to growth, I learned that we are not responsible for other people’s feelings. They are adults so they should be responsible for their own feelings. Plus they are not going to die if we disagree with them. Sometimes the truth hurts, and sometimes being blunt and truthful is better than pretending everything is okay just to avoid a confrontation.
This past year I have made a lot of changes, most for the good. I’d become more assertive, confident in myself, and less fearful. There’s still a long way to go, but I am hopeful. Even if I fail or stumble, it's okay. After all no one is immune to failure.
Any similar experiences? Any advice to further self-growth, particularly for ISFJs?