There is one situation in relationships where I often realize how different I am from the world as an INFJ. The hidden meanings behind gifts and giving separate me from most other people. Throughout history gifts has been a way to form and reinforce relationships, and in some cases even force them onto others. The act of receiving something often reinforces a feeling that you should be giving something back in return, or are in a type of debt to the other person. More often then not people help each other because they expect to receive the same back when they need it on their terms. It’s an untold rule in human relationships and if people would not treat us like we treat them, we would not help them.
Humans are often selfish by nature and this is the way nature intended us to be in order to survive. Problem is that today we live in different kinds of societies that could sure benefit more from people being less selfish. Buddhists have a great view on this and I’ve read interviews with the Dalai Lama where he talks about keeping compassion and forgiveness close to your heart when dealing with people that let you down. Because we have to remember that every human being just wants to be happy, this is the core wish in our lives and what controls all our actions. Even if our actions are sometimes not kind to others. Just because people do not live up to your expectations doesn’t necessarily make their intentions any less so.
When I was a kid my father would give me things to compensate for the emotional pain he caused me. He was aware of it but still did it and this was his way of repairing the damage on his own conscious. Of course you can’t really buy an INFJ and it did me nothing, even from a very young age I was aware of the hidden motives of this act. But this is common behavior among people. Like the cliché we see in movies where the guy is cheating on his wife and comes home with expensive jewelry to her in order to make the action fair in his own mind.
The difference is I offer things and myself to others to show them that I appreciate who they are and what they are doing, I ask nothing in return. I genuinely feel that I want to contribute to their happiness because it in turn makes me happy. I feel the most fulfilled when I get to help somebody find their way and this comes natural to me. It’s like when I’m buying a gift to somebody I can spend hours researching and tailoring my gift to suit their interests and needs, because I know this will make them feel special which they are.
Me being this way also brings me pain in my life since I can often see straight through peoples actions and motives. I can see if they are true and if they are I will give them a piece of myself, if not they probably won’t be hearing from me. The truth is of course that most people on this planet is not like us INFJs, which is a reality we have to face sooner or later. However, just because people are not like you, do not value the same things or can not express their love and friendship on the same level, doesn’t mean it’s any less true then your own. With people everything is relative and we are all very individual to the way we express or perceive our love for other people. There is no harm in giving just for the sake of giving. Because if you always expect things in return what you are really doing is just trading your love or friendship. True compassion should be a love not based on your own individual needs.