”To Adriana, my dear ISFP companion and love who teaches me every day about the value of never compromising who you are. You have the courage of a warrior, to fight for your freedom and your right to be yourself. I love you, and your Strength of Spirit.”
Personality typing can be a wondrous thing. It can also be a very dangerous thing. Cause whenever we have a typology system on our hands, we run into the risk of “boxing people in”, of trying to make the individual “fit” their type instead of broadening the definition of the type to also account for the specifics of the person.
Almost nowhere is this more true than in the case of the ISFP (and maybe the INFP to an extent).
Type promises simplicity, an end to the mental complexity of trying to “figure someone out”. Yet some people are just not meant to be typed. Just observed, taken for what they are, loved, respected and admired for their being, not for their type.
Understanding of the ins and outs of type may help, sure, insofar it aids us in any way in getting to the grass roots of just what is the essence of a person.
Well, when we talk about ISFP’s we are not really talking about a homogenous group. Sure, they may have some distinctive qualities that mark them as ISFP’s and not any other type. But as a group itself, ISFP’s are about as diverse as they come.
For me, I always saw ISFP’s as I saw Nature: a bounteous diversity of essences, colors, fragrances and aromas. Each ISFP is Unique, Incomparable, Unrepeatable, an Original Being unto Itself. This is true of all types, but for some types it really constitutes more than a surface truth. For ISFP’s, I believe, this is a Core Truth.
ISFP’s for me are like the colors of the Rainbow, or of nature. Literally. No two ISFP’s are alike, not in their Essence. Sure, they share a type, they have the same functional stack. But what does that really mean in the real world? Well that they seem to Operate Similarly, not necessarily that they are more or less similar human beings.
Fi by its very nature is unique. It’s never before seen. It’s a personal moral heresy. This is true of all Fi types, I believe, but even more so of ISFP’s. A feeling type par excellence, ISFP’s go against the common morality and make up an ethical system of their own.
The idea here is not that their ethical system is in any way “Good” or what we would call “ethical”. The main thing is for that code of conduct and morality to be uniquely their own. It has to be like no moral code that ever existed, even if it came from another ISFP.
This is, in part, what I meant by “The Right to be Yourself”. While INFP’s may sit and debate philosophically just what that “I” or “Myself” means, using their extroverted intuition, ISFP’s have no actual inclination for that, at least not by sheer type.
Rather, the focus here is not on exploring what the self can be, might be or could be, but on actually BEING oneself, in real life, through concrete action.
The ISFP is essentially a healer. It abhors fighting per-se, but if need be, it will fight tooth and nail for its own right to feel what it does, regardless of anything, or to be who he or she is. He will fight for the same right in others as well.
Now ISFP’s do not enjoy fighting, it is only when their Identity feels threatened that their feral identity comes out. ISFP’s, for me are a sort of Crouching Tigers which hide a hidden dragon that can scorch everything if there is something or someone that needs defending.
And usually, if they unleash the beast, it is because they feel there has been an intrusion or an assault on either their identity or on their right to have a separate and unique identity from anyone else.
Most people are either about blending in or about standing out. Well, ISFP’s are about neither. They are just about “Being Themselves”. If that means blending in, then so be it. If that means standing out, that’s fine too. As long as the ISFP feels he or she is being true to his self, everything is fine.
Of course ISFP’s want to be moral and ethical people. They don’t really put a premium on whether others perceive them as good or bad, as long as they feel they’re being “true to themselves”. But of course they would like to be good people, but that definition of good has to be on their own terms, not on the terms of anybody else and god forbid, not on the terms of Society.
My Rules, My life, My Way could be a motto for ISFP’s. They accept judgment, but not from anybody, and not by any other set of rules than their own. This, again is true of most Fi types. If you think an ISFP is mean or picky but he feels he’s just expressing himself as he is, you won’t really have sympathy.
On the other hand, no matter how much you tell an ISFP you care about that the way he is or the way he acts is virtuous, valorous and worthy of being admired, he may think you’re overstating or over-exaggerating, because it’s a different self-evaluation system than his own.
It’s not that ISFP’s don’t like grand compliments about themselves or that they would rather stay away from the limelight. But if they do receive compliments or if the spotlight is put on them, they want that to happen based on their own unique self-judgment, not because of somebody else’s.
While not really indifferent to other people’s evaluation systems, ISFP’s put much more weight on their own system than on any other external system, not because of thinking parameters like “it’s the best self-evaluation system” or because of intuitive parameters like “it’s the one true system”, but because it’s their own.
This “My Self, My Rules, My Way” is so central to ISFP’s, at least in my view, that if you take the deeply individualistic and personal element out of the equation, you’ve basically negated the core of what makes ISFP’s the wonderful persons they are.
They are not the way they are as a result of a BECAUSE. Other people may be who they are as a result of a because, but not ISFP’s.
People may be who they are “Because it works”, “Because it is the best way to be”, “Because this way of being means I’m a good person and I’m doing a service to my fellow humans”.
ISFP’s are not “Because”. They just ARE. Pure, existential BEING. A thing so removed from the common way of feeling to the rest of the types it may seem somewhat strange.
“How come who you are is not a result of a because?” “How can you even be without a because?, then why do you even exist, what’s your purpose?”
Enter the ISFP’s with their wisdom: “My purpose is to be who I am, unchanged, raw and wild”.
Other types seek improvement, they seek some sort of Perfection or Completion.
ISFP’s understand that pursuit, that seeking, cause it’s a part of being human after all. But they don’t feel the same drive toward it. For them being themselves just does it. It’s enough. This is the pinnacle of human development: simply being able to be, to be in the world, to be of the world, to be at peace in it and one with it.
Everything else, while not “wrong” or “shameful” is just a distraction from pure being.
Being is flow, it is bliss, it is naturalness and ease. It is “doing without doing and everything gets done”. You just melt into your own life, into your own rhythm, into your own authenticity and you trust life. And anything you need to do arises out of that authenticity as an impulse. And you just follow it into the world, with abandon, wherever the adventure takes you.
Unpredictable? Yeah, to be sure. But then again authenticity is. The Self is never static. Like life, it is ever mutating, ever changing, surpassing itself, developing new colors, new structures, new adaptations. And you just follow its impulses into the world, without giving the mind a chance to sway you and tell you “that’s not a good idea, you will get hurt”.
There is a silent integrity to ISFP’s. What could be more natural, more in line with who you are than just acting out the impulses that arise from the Self.
ISFP’s may be the most natural type of human being we have. Like a druid of sorts. Connected to the land, to the grass, the animals, the wilderness, the deep tempo of night and day, of the seasons. Other types have developed other functions: the Socialist Fe, the critical thinking Ti, the pragmatic Te, the Audacious Se or Careful Si, the insightful Ni or the imaginative Ne.
ISFP’s are connected with the One Heart, not just their own, but Gaia’s. The same heart that beats in every human, in every animal, plant, even in every rock. They are all part of the ISFP, as if each individual ISFP were an Earth onto itself, each with its own flora, fauna, even with its own humans.
There is a quiet naturalness to ISFP’s. And a silent wisdom.
Be who you are. Do not try to improve, for how could you improve what is already perfect. Nature is perfect and in being natural, in being just who you are, each being finds its own individual perfection.
Let others seek perfection in any way they want to. There is room for all under the sun.
Meanwhile, merged with nature, the ISFP’s hum their tune and remind us all of what it means to be the original human in a modern world. As the world is so full of technology, of urban development, of distractions and complexity, ISFP’s keep it simple.
A good book, warm fluffy socks, 1 or 2 good friends and some good conversation, or not. Maybe a cat, or a dog, a walk in the park, a nice sunset captured on camera.
What else does a man need in order to be happy?
Not much, really. In the end, all we have, and all we need is our authentic selves. That and the inalienable right to be ourselves.
So thank you ISFP’s.
You remind me about the beauty of just being. And while it may not be my path, while my authenticity may lead me to walk quite a different road, I carry that image of pure naturalness and being in me, to remind me of grass roots and of the time when everything was so uncomplicated, so uncluttered, so … well… so natural. And that is priceless.