Introverted Feeling (Feeling Analyzer)
Introverted Feeling is primary for ISFP and INFP types. It is secondary for ESFP and ENFP types.
Introverted Feeling is the part of the psyche concerned with what is personally authentic. It asks, “How can I create inner harmony?”
It’s the most subjective and most personal of the deciding functions. It focuses on one’s own feelings.
As an introverted deciding function-attitude it:
- Tends to be more abstract.
- Is subjective in nature.
- Can be slower, yet more thorough.
- Prefers more iterative processes that lead to depth of understanding.
- Tends to be more situational and improvisational.
- Tends to value accuracy over implementation.
As a Feeling function-attitude, it is personal, references emotions, and is empathetic in nature.
Like an authenticity meter, Introverted Feeling evaluates what is authentic or inauthentic through a process of feeling harmony or disharmony with one’s experiences. These experiences may be provoked by both the inner world of thoughts and the outer world of people, things, and events.
The drive of Introverted Feeling is to ultimately harmonize all inner experience in a completely authentic way regardless of the outer experience. Along the way to this ultimate goal, however, Introverted Feeling has the ability to strongly screen out experiences that provoke feelings of disharmony.
The process of feeling harmony or disharmony guides Introverted Feeling as it discovers the following:
- Personal tastes and preferences, including food, the arts, colors, people, etc.
- How to compose and categorize information in a harmonic way. This could be done via all kinds of creative pursuits like music, art, and writing. For instance, Introverted Feeling can be used figure out when it feels right for a movie to end, when it feels right to start a new chapter in a book, or finding just the right cadence to a poem.
- The most stable personal values that guide actions in a variety of situations. As Introverted Feeling develops, it accumulates an inventory of harmonic experiences that then crystallize as values .
- Universal values that transcend situations and people. It continually navigates from the personal toward the universal. These universal values are felt as the most deeply personal and can connect the person using Introverted Feeling to others in a profound way.
- If others are being authentic. The authenticity meter of Introverted Feeling works both for oneself and for others. It can be extraordinarily sensitive in either capacity. Inauthenticity, in any form and from anyone, is often felt as an alarm signal. Accordingly, the Introverted Feeler may respond in a dismissive, condescending, or critical way of others who are perceived as being inauthentic until a greater sense of empathy is developed.
- Empathy for others, the ability to actually feel the emotions of others as one’s own, is part of a well developed Introverted or Extraverted Feeling function. With Introverted Feeling, it serves to link one’s inner Feeling experience with the inner feelings of others. This empathetic bridge between inner worlds then informs the higher development of personal and universal values.
- How to help others discover what is most authentic for them. It can be very committed to helping others be true to themselves. It wants to know what makes people tick, what makes them come alive.
- What causes or sacrifices are worth everything; such as one’s complete devotion or even one’s life. It may take a while, even several decades, for Introverted Feeling to realize what one’s most important values are, but once they are fully formed they can be unmovable.
Though it can be very decisive, Introverted Feeling is not typically quick to decide anything, preferring to analyze the situation thoroughly most of the time. Therefore, Introverted Feelers can seem very easygoing most of the time, displaying a “sure, why not?” attitude until something of importance is at stake. Suddenly, they are not so easygoing anymore. They either disappear or react strongly. This can be confusing to others around them.
The arising of an important value can even be confusing to the Introverted Feeler, as much of the process operates unconsciously and often cannot be explained verbally. It may show up as a strong gut feeling that acts almost like a force field, preventing the Introverted Feeler from going further. Alternately, the important value might show up as a whole-body, volcano-like outburst of energy that forges forward despite impossible odds. Using Introverted Feeling, people will fight for a deeply held value as if they are fighting for their very lives.
Another way Introverted Feeling can be confusing to those who lead with it: An important value is sometimes not realized until it is inadvertently violated or until the highly valued person or situation is gone.
In opposition of Extraverted Feeling, Introverted Feeling will shun social conventions if it appears those conventions are in conflict with a personal value. Introverted Feeling stands for individual values rather than collective ones. Therefore, Introverted Feelers may be attracted to crusade for society’s underdogs; people who are at a disadvantage because of collective social values.
Introverted Feeling is the part of us that says things like:
- “I don’t feel like it” or “I do feel like it.” Introverted Feeling has strong convictions and preferences.
- “That’s me” or “that’s not me.”
Like Introverted Intuition, many times it acts as a means of self-expression rather than speaking.
- It could be the cousin who shows up at a funeral or wedding in clothes that are clearly out of the proper social norms.
- It could be musician that develops a new sound, like when Eric Clapton decided to let his guitar amp distort and changed rock history as a result.
- It could be the author that taps into a deep part of our collective psyche with imaginary characters and stories like J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of Rings series, or C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series.
- It could be the musical crusader such as Bob Marley, who railed against the materialism of the western world and the injustices of the Jamaican government. He once kept a concert date after he and his family were fired upon. When asked why, he answered, “The people who are trying to make this world worse aren’t taking a day off. How can I?”
- It could be the gentle, affirming style shown by Fred Rogers in Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.
- It could be the oddball artist like Andy Warhol, challenging the social definitions of what people consider to be art.
- Being personally authentic. That’s what Introverted Feeling is all about.
- Moral compass. In addition to personal authenticity, there is a certain moral strength to Introverted Feeling that shines, especially when going against accepted social norms. It intends to shine a light on how social norms may be incongruent with universal ideals or values.
- Individualistic. In the same sense that Introverted Feeling can provide a moral compass, it can also provide a unique personal direction in regard to other pursuits such as the arts.
- Listening for authenticity and for what is personally important for others.
- Crusader. Conviction can come easy to Introverted Feelers, leading them to catalyze social change.
- Inclusion. People who lead with Introverted Feeling often hate to see others at an unfair disadvantage and may devote themselves to helping better their lives.
Working with Introverted Feeling
- Give them time to decide
- Be real with them
- Pay attention to their nonverbal clues
- Ask, “How are you feeling about this?”
- Honor how important their personal perspective is
- Make it personal
- Be attuned to their inner world
- Give space for emotional content
- Let them know what is personally important for you
Brain insights from Dario Nardi
Introverted Feelers intensely use the parts of their brain (T3 left ear and T4 right ear) that are dedicated to listening in a holistic way. Thus, they are the super listeners of the world, actively taking in differing points of view. Dario Nardi states, “The whole brain acts as a metaphorical still pond that allows a speaker to project herself and be heard.” When an INFP or ISFP is listening, their whole neocortex enters into flow state where all regions are active, relaxed, and working together. Introverted Feeling is the only deciding function that triggers a flow state. When this flow state happens, the whole brain shows up as bright blue on the EEG monitor. INFPs tend to hold this empathetic state longer (up to 10 minutes) than ISFPs, who tend to spring into action after a more brief bout of intensive listening.
All Introverted Feeling types show high activity in region F8 (in front of right ear) which is active when any type speaks about something of personal importance.
Introverted Feeling types tend to leave the areas of the brain dedicated to deductive logic alone.
“What is most personal is most universal” - Carl Rogers
“To thine own self be true.” - William Shakespeare
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” - Oscar Wilde
“Reason is greatly indebted to passion. The human race would long since have ceased to be, had its preservation depended only on reason.”
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau
“I [am] a mere individual ... with intense feelings more than ideas.” - J.R.R. Tolkien
“[There is] in me ... a distaste for all that is public, all that belongs to the collective.” - C.S. Lewis
“The whole world is a series of miracles, but we’re so used to them we call them ordinary things.” - Hans Christian Anderson
“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.” - John Lennon
“I just want to do what I feel.” - Jimi Hendrix
U.S. Army Report on Jimi Hendrix: “[He] is unable to conform to military rules and regulations.”
Try Introverted Feeling
- Examine how you feel right now about your life and your choices. How are your choices aligned with your values? How might you make difference choices that are more aligned with your values?
- What are your personal convictions? What do you feel strongly about in terms of your most important values.
- What are your most important commitments?
- What moves you to tears?
- What breaks your heart?
- What kind of art do you really like?
- Who’s your favorite singer?