When INFJs are Overwhelmed by Injustice

“What do you do when you are overwhelmed by something that you cannot do anything about? Something that’s just beyond your control. How do you deal with a situation that is making you extremely angry but you know reacting to it will only make things worse?”

I got this email this morning. It put everything into words that I’ve been feeling for the last week. 

I too watched the video of George Floyd dying. I was horrified by what I saw. I wanted to scream and cry for him. I wanted to fix it. I wanted the story to change even though I knew the outcome. I’m heartbroken for the injustice. I sat there in shock and horror. Then I started thinking, “What can I do?” I spent several days trying to sort out what I could say.

I know that I don’t understand.

I know that I can’t understand. I grew up believing the police were there to protect us. When I saw a police officer I saw: safety, help, protection. In fact, I studied Criminal Justice in college because I wanted to be a police officer at one point in my life. When I see the people who I thought were supposed to protect us hurting people, I don’t understand. 

Anytime that there is a situation that comes up where I’m overwhelmed I struggle to name what I am feeling. It feels overwhelming. That’s all I can tell you. I know that as an INFJ it takes me a long time to process my emotions. Maybe 3 months from now or 6 months from now I’ll be able to sort it out and tell you what I was going through, but today all I can say is that I’m overwhelmed. 

I watched short clips of the protests happening around the US this past week. As the protesting turned to riots I was again in shock. 

Yesterday I heard there were protests going on in Boston, my adopted home city that I love and adore like no other. To me, it’s a land of opportunity that literally saved my life. I was struggling very badly when I moved here just 2 years ago. I felt so blessed to be able to be here and to feel the energy and excitement that comes from a city of young professionals and entrepreneurs. I felt like there was hope for me, that I could do anything here.

Yesterday I was in awe of the number of people that gathered and marched through downtown Boston. Seeing so many people come together is amazing. It reminds me why I love this country so much and that we can make the changes that so desperately need to be made.  

Last night as I was watching the protest it took a violent turn. Among the peaceful protesters who were trying to change the world for the better there were people who were only there to cause harm and destruction.

I was heartbroken to see the city that I love destroyed by violence and destruction.

I felt for the people wanting to change the world through a peaceful protest only to see it reduced to chaos. I felt for the police officers who spent the night trying to restore peace. I felt for the business owners who have seen their business closed in the past few months by a virus and then destroyed in moments by criminals. I’m also heartbroken for the people who don’t have the same opportunities that I have because of the color of their skin. 

I know that I don’t understand, nor can I relate.

I’ve racked my brain for a week trying to make it make sense, but this morning I’ve accepted the fact that I don’t understand. That makes it so much harder for me because I want to understand. I want to relate. That’s how I deal with things. That’s how I know how to help is by understanding the problem and being able to fix it. 

But this situation is complicated. There are so many people involved and it’s about so much more than just this one person who died. There are good and bad people on both sides of the fight as well. There are good and bad people who walk the streets of our cities every day, no matter what color their skin is. There are good and bad police officers who’s job it is to protect us. There are good people with good intentions who organize protests and there are bad people who take advantage of the situation to damage our homes and businesses and steal and hurt and destroy. 

I want to go back to the questions that we started with: 

“What do you do when you are overwhelmed by something that you cannot do anything about? Something that’s just beyond your control. How do you deal with a situation that is making you extremely angry but you know reacting to it will only make things worse?”

In times like these, when I don’t know what to do or how to process the fear and anxiety that’s taking over my mind, I turn to the people that I love and trust for help. 

I’ve been reading a book recently by Gabby Bernstein called May Cause Miracles. It’s all about making little shifts in your mind every single day. I know as INFJs we typically have an all or nothing approach. We want to make a big change in the world right this second. But when there isn’t a big change you can make that will fix the world, you have to start with fixing what’s broken inside of you first. 

Gabby says there are affirmations that help us to make small changes every day that build up over time, very quickly and powerfully in my experience. Here are some that have helped me a lot: 

“I am willing to witness my fear.” 

You don’t have to do anything about it. Just notice it. Sit with it. Acknowledge that it’s there. 

“I am willing to see this differently. I am willing to see love.”

While you may not understand, you don’t need to be afraid. Love is always the best way to approach any situation. 

“Love did not create this.” 

No, love did not create violence. Violence will not create love either. 

“I forgive myself for choosing fear. Today I choose love instead.” 

Whatever you’re afraid of, whether it’s inside or outside of you, love is the way to escape that fear. 

“I believe in miracles.” 

I love this one the most. In times like these, I have to believe. When a virus is sweeping through the world, taking the lives of innocent people, destroying families and businesses and our whole way of life it’s easy to lose hope. But I have to believe in miracles. 

When violence breaks out in our beautiful cities I have to believe there is a miracle in there somewhere. There will be something good that comes from it all. 

When our friends and family are affected by something we don’t and can’t understand I have to believe in miracles. I have to believe that there will be a miracle in the hearts of everyone who treat people differently based on the color of their skin or where they were born. 

We are all the same. We are all people who deserve to be treated equally regardless of our looks or race or birthplace. 

“We can do hard things.”

Glennon Doyle

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