As I've searched for more information about Introverted feeling, I've found that it has quite a mysterious reputation. After reading across many different sources, I was able to get a clearer picture of what introverted feeling is.
Below is a list of qualities that makes up introverted feeling mixed in with some of my personal experiences of what it's like for me as an introverted feeling user. By the way, as an INFP my introverted feeling and extroverted intuition work together, so there are instances of the two blending into each other a little.
Creating a structure of internal values
Introverted feeling allows INFPs to judge things by if it's something they personally value. Is it good or bad or doesn't matter? This is why when having to make a decision, we have a hard time reacting right away. We need quiet time to search within before reacting.
Often when others ask me for my thoughts, I tell them that I need time to think about it if it's not something I've thought about already. When participating in a conversation, it's not rare for me to think of something I want say, but spend so much time wondering if those words feel right or not, that I totally miss the moment where I could have contributed something. So annoying! But introverted feeling needs to check and see if things feel "right" before proceeding.
So where does this values system come from?
My values seem to be built on a combination of past lessons from introverted sensing and insights from my extroverted intuition. I gain information from the outside world, and my opinions of them form my values. It's independent from what society thinks—it's about what I think and value. When it comes to past experiences, I look at what's happened before, how I felt about it, and what could have been different. For example, I have strong opinions about social exclusion because I know how painful it can be to be the awkward one. I value giving the quiet a voice, because I know the damage of feeling like you don't have one.
Focused on internal harmony
Introverted feeling not only allows us to create an internal structure of personal values, but it keeps us checking if our lives and actions align with those personal values.
One observation that my husband, an ENFP, has made is that although I come up with ideas at a slower rate than he does, often the ideas I come up with tend to be things I am committed to. That’s because my mind checks if an idea “feels right” before I start to invest in it.
Once a certain course feels right to an INFP, we pursue it with passion. When I find that I’m working on a project that is a manifestation of my personal values, I almost become obsessed with it, putting in the work and the research until that idea is realized. When an INFP works with their introverted feeling, they grow wings.
Every time an “Ah-ha” moment from extroverted intuition is judged as awesome by introverted feeling, we are pushed ahead in our efforts to express our values by what we create.
One problem with introverted feeling though is that this "growing wings" only happens when things feel absolutely right. When project ideas fall into a gray area, I can start out feeling that this is right, but once I get into it my introverted feeling is like, "Nuh-uh. This isn't it." Then I abandon what I started. Sometimes I keep pushing despite not always feeling like it, resulting in projects where I start and then stop. Then I start again and then stop. I've accepted that this is just the way it is sometimes, and that helps me feel less frustrated when this happens.
Introverted feeling also makes us concerned with feeling comfortable within ourselves. If emotions are causing us inner conflict, we can’t help thinking about them and trying to figure out what they mean and how they fit into the big picture of our lives.
Often our efforts bring extroverted intuition into the picture. We look for characters in stories that feel the way we feel, music that fits our mood, and works of art that “speak to us.” I like to use journaling to express my feelings. Once I come to an understanding of what’s going on inside of me and gain a sense that I can handle it, my introverted feeling is satisfied. I can move on from trying to articulate how I feel to something else.
Focused on individuals and their internal peace
The opposite of introverted feeling is extroverted feeling. Extroverted feeling users expend energy in creating harmony in the outside world among groups of people. Extroverted functions go wide. However, since INFPs use introverted feeling, it means we go deep instead.
We enjoy having a few close relationships. It’s been observed by some that INFPs are livelier with one-on-one interactions than when they are with a large group. I know that when I’m with someone I enjoy, I can become loud and silly. When I’m with a group, I tend to fade into the background.
Since we are concerned with our own internal harmony, we are often interested in creating internal harmony in others. If someone is feeling torn inside, we want to listen, and bring the realization that the way they feel matters. Self-esteem, the way we see ourselves, and the desire to be seen by others are deep, personal issues that matter.
Walking in another's shoes
The tendency of introverted feeling to go deep takes on another level when it works with extroverted intuition.
Introverted feeling is a function that goes into others and takes into account their inner balance or lack of it. Extroverted intuition can take the findings of introverted feeling and expand on them, creating possibilities and linking to other concepts.
The results of all of that is something like this:
A distressed acquaintance comes to me and relates their situation. As they are telling me, I'm reliving it in my head as if I am them. This usually happens so fast, that I don’t realize I’m doing it. When I am aware enough to catch this process, I’m always amazed by it.
If it’s someone I’m more familiar with, I am not simply reliving their experience as myself, but I’m reliving it with their unique point of view. I can see the situation as they saw it, like seeing it through their eyes.
Then I say something like, “Wow. You must have felt so ---” insert emotion in the blank. Then the person is like, “Yes. That is exactly how I felt!”
Even stranger are situations where two parties are involved, and I can take a walk in the shoes of each side. There have been times when someone has come to me with a problem, and I can see their point of view, but then I also put myself on the receiving end of the situation, with feelings included. When I look at it from the other side, I can often see things that they didn’t notice, or ask questions to make them more aware of possible misinterpretations of a situation.
INFPs shouldn't discount the power of their listening and internal role-playing skills. We can hone in on what we value and what others value and communicate those concepts in ways that are easy to understand—through stories, art, or basic clarity of language.
So although the gift of introverted feeling maybe difficult for most to understand, that doesn't mean it's not worthwhile. As an INFP, I intend to use my introverted feeling well and never stop searching for harmony within others and within myself.