Color in a black and white world

Color+in+a+black+and+white+world

Starr Benson

It's not easy being a feeler in a thinker's world.

I recently took a Myers-Briggs personality test and discovered that I am an INFP.

What that basically means is that I’m introverted, intuitive, feeling and perceiving, which describes me perfectly. I enjoy spending time with other people, but I do need my solitude. I trust my gut and go with what I feel rather than facts (which can be a good and bad thing). I prefer to see the big picture and analyze the meaning behind a situation rather than taking it for what it is.

There is only one problem with people like me. Being a feeler is anything but desirable today’s world.

In Western society, particularly in America, everything is either black and white or matter of fact. Thinkers are highly esteemed and associated often with intelligence and nobility; unfortunately that’s not the case with feelers. We’re labeled as “crybabies” and drama queens and are often perceived as weak figures who crack under the slightest bit of pressure. We’re seen as people who care about “artsy” endeavors such as art, music, and writing. These are “soft” fields compared to the competitive concentrations such as business, economics, law and science that Americans tend value greatly.

As Robin Williams once said in the 1989 film “Dead Poets Society,” “ We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”

The world needs a balance of thinkers and feelers. Too much of something is never good.

For years I’ve always felt out of place. Plenty of my friends and family members are thinkers, constantly looking for facts and were not easily swayed by emotions. I am the complete opposite. I am more in tune with my feelings and can connect with others deeper on a personal, emotional, and sometimes (although very rare) spiritual level. I can sense if a friend is angry, ecstatic or anxious just by looking at them without asking. Empathy toward others, for me, is natural.

I’ve also been told that I cry too much, to suck it up and that in the “real world” I will be chewed up and spit out for showing my gentle side. I admit I can be a little sensitive than most but that’s who I am and many people I have encountered have had a problem with it because they simply don’t understand me.

Today, individuals have been conditioned to become so hardhearted that tears are seen as a form of weakness and showing a hint of sensitivity is subject to mocking and discouragement. It has become so ingrained into modern thinking that it has seeped into religion. Since Christianity is predominantly male dominated, feelings are obviously spurned. Of course at church I was often told to never trust my feelings as if it was a sin but to trust God and the mere words in the Bible. Why would I dismiss the characteristic that is so intricately entrenched within me that God obviously placed there for a reason? Even Jesus wept in the Bible.

A word of advice to my feelers and thinkers alike: Accept yourself and accept one another. Acceptance with an understanding of how you are will make the world seem less cold. Strive to understand others’ point of view, even if they do clash with your beliefs. The world is pretty colorful and not so gray as many perceive it to be.