Our personalities are responsible for our greatest strengths—but they also give way to our greatest downfalls.
We all experience psychological “blind spots”—areas where we hold ourselves back and accidentally sabotage our chances at happiness. These areas look a little different to each Myers-Briggs personality type. Based on your type, here’s how you’re your own worst enemy.
INTJ: You sabotage your life by closing yourself off from it.
An unexamined life may not be worth living, but neither is an unexperienced one. You sabotage your life by waiting until you have absolutely all the information before acting. As a result, many time-sensitive opportunities pass you by.
While it’s lovely to stay informed, your tendency to think before acting can be paralyzing. Sometimes you need to go out on a limb and search for fruit—even if there’s no guarantee you’ll find it. If it doesn’t work out, someone as sharp and resourceful as you will be able to recover.
ENTP: You sabotage your life by losing touch with it.
You’re the master of shaping your own reality and making things happen for yourself. You have a tendency to throw yourself so wholly into your latest scheme that you don’t always pause to consider whether you’re doing what you actually want—rather than just what you’re capable of.
You sabotage your own life by refusing to consider anything illogical as meaningful input. Instead of listening to feelings of exhaustion, burnout, stress or unfulfillment, you throw yourself into yet another master scheme, hoping that this one will be the answer to all of your questions. However, you never pause to consider that having all the answers sometimes means you’ve been asking the wrong questions.
INTP: You sabotage your life by refusing help.
You’re independent to an absolute fault—in most cases it doesn’t even occur to you that you’re able to request backup. While your independence serves you most of the time, it can also hold you back when it comes to projects or endeavors that become too big for you to complete alone.
You sabotage your own life by refusing to call in backup when backup is the very thing that might make the impossible possible. To narrow that gap, get comfortable delegating, collaborating and trusting others. It may not come naturally, but it will prove infinitely worthwhile in the long run.
ENTJ: You sabotage your life by bypassing it.
You’re the master of planning ahead, but you also have a tendency to organize yourself so far into the future that you rule out the present entirely. Rather than allowing yourself to relish in the moment and be proud of yourself for your accomplishments, you gun full speed ahead toward your long-term goals, putting off happiness and fulfillment until a vague point in the future when your ducks are entirely lined up.
To avoid sabotaging your happiness, schedule some time to relish in it. Take a vacation, cut yourself off from your cell phone, and allow yourself to appreciate how far you’ve come. After all, there will always be more work to do. And if anyone has earned the opportunity to relax a little, it’s you.
ESFJ: You sabotage your life by comparing it to everyone else’s.
You’re a people-person through and through, and part of being a people person is keeping up with what your loved ones are doing. However, you’re known to get so caught up comparing yourself to the people around you that you lose sight of what you actually want for yourself. You sabotage your life by trying to live up to other people’s expectations instead of your own.
To avoid self-sabotage, stop trying to make acquaintances jealous. Instead, worry about making your loved ones proud. The people who genuinely love you are always going to want what’s best for you, And they’re not comparing you to anyone else..
ISFJ: You sabotage your life by believing you aren’t worthy of a good one.
You believe that your friends, family and loved ones deserve the world—and you want to be the one who gives it to them. However, you often forget to give yourself the same credit that you allot to others. You self-sabotage by believing yourself to be unworthy of the same happiness that you strive to provide to your loved ones.
To avoid self-sabotage, start looking at yourself through the eyes of the people who love you. Give yourself the same advice you would give your closest friend or significant other if they were in your situation—and then follow it. Because you deserve a good life, every bit as much as the people you love do.
ESFP: You sabotage your life by refusing to take it seriously.
For the most part, you think people take themselves and their situations too seriously. You think on your feet, which means you’re not a huge fan of planning ahead. But occasionally, this tendency bites you in the ass—especially when you’re suddenly encountered with a serious situation that you find yourself wholly unprepared for.
To avoid self-sabotage, identify what your core values are in life—family, friendship, exploration, or whatever else makes up your heart. Make a plan to protect those things at all costs because if anything’s worth planning ahead for, it’s them.
ISFP: You sabotage your life by avoiding it.
You’re an explorer and an adventurer at heart, but you’re also conflict-adverse to a detrimental degree. When things start heating up, you’d rather make yourself scarce than you stick around and work things out—which means that some of the greatest adventures of your life never happen, because you’re too busy hiding from potential clashes.
To stop sabotaging your own life, decide what’s worth fighting for and stick to it. It might be uncomfortable at first but you won’t regret your choice to engage fully and responsively with your own life. Your choice to stop hiding from it will be the exact thing that ends up setting you free.
ESTJ: You sabotage your life by putting off happiness indefinitely.
You’re a practical person, and you believe in working hard and playing hard. It’s just that sometimes the playing hard part gets left behind when you have a lot of work to get done. You sabotage your own life by failing to prioritize happiness, believing it will simply show up once you earn enough money or otherwise properly organize your life.
To avoid self-sabotage, start deliberately scheduling time for the people and activities you enjoy. You know—from a practical standpoint—that life is too short not to enjoy. So, stop cutting your own happiness short and allow yourself some time to relish in it. If anyone’s worked hard for what they have, it’s definitely you.
ISTJ: You sabotage your life by refusing to take risks.
You’re incredibly practical, and you’re rarely interested in leaping before you look. While this tendency serves you well in most areas, it can also be a detriment to your personal success when you opt out of risks that ultimately might pay off in the long-run.
To avoid sabotaging your own life, learn to take calculated chances. You don’t have to spend your life leaping from cliffs, but every now and then it isn’t the worst idea to gamble a bit on an opportunity that’s likely to pay big rewards. If anyone’s able to stabilize themselves after a period of chaos, it’s you—which means that you’re one of the only types who can actually pull off big risks.
ESTP: You sabotage your life by choosing the path of least resistance.
You have every intention of enjoying your life to its fullest potential, and you don’t want to waste time over-thinking things. However, this occasionally leads you to choosing the path of least resistance over the path that might challenge and grow you. You sabotage your life by choosing what’s convenient in the short-term over what you’re capable of in the grand scheme of things.
To avoid self-sabotage, start taking your long-term plans seriously. Back up what’s fun and exciting in the moment with what’s stable and enriching in the long-term. It may require a little extra energy, a little extra focus, and a little extra outsourcing here and there, but you have the potential to reach great heights once you learn to focus your energy—because we all know that you’re not at a shortage of energy!
ISTP: You sabotage your life by staying cynical.
You see the world around you for what it really is—which is to say, you see all the corruption, manipulation, and untrustworthiness of other people. You are skeptical to a fault, and it will keep you at a distance from the life you really want.
To stop sabotaging your own life, set aside your skepticism and let your gut make the odd decision. At the end of the day, you almost always know more than you think you do. And if you end up messing something up, someone as clever as you will have no problem putting the pieces back together.
INFP: You sabotage your life by checking out of it.
You’re a dreamer and a romantic at heart, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just that sometimes, when life isn’t going your way, you tend to retreat into your fantasy world. You miss out on your real life as a result. You sabotage your life by avoiding going after what you want because it’s more comfortable to stay home and imagine it.
To stop self-sabotaging, be conscious of your tendency to think yourself out of taking chances. As great as your fantasy world is, your fantasies won’t be the things you reflect on at the end of your life—your experiences will be. So, make sure you pack a few of them in while you can.
ENFJ: You sabotage your life by settling for less than you deserve.
You’re a giver in every sense of the word. There’s nothing you love more than sharing yourself with the people you love, but you also have a tendency to give more than you ought to and not accept enough back in return. You sabotage your life by settling for unequal emotional investments.
To stop self-sabotaging, set clear boundaries and stick to them. Remember that you teach people how to treat you. The moment you stop accepting less than you deserve is the moment you stop receiving it—no matter how uncomfortable those boundaries feel for you.
INFJ: You sabotage your life by chasing perfection.
There’s nothing wrong with keeping your standards high. It’s just that your tendency to accept nothing less than absolute perfection can sometimes mean you end up with, well, nothing. You sabotage your life by assuming that happiness will only show up for you if you cultivate the absolute perfect situation for yourself.
To avoid self-sabotage, let yourself lean into imperfection. There’s nothing wrong with striving for your dreams, but some of the happiest moments of your life might just arise through trial and error—if you’re willing to open yourself up to the potential for error in the first place.
ENFP: You sabotage your life by running away from everything real.
You’re an explorer at heart, but you have a tendency to spend so much time running towards the next great adventure that you forget to appreciate what’s in front of you. You sabotage your life through impatience. Rather than tending to a good thing until it grows into something magnificent, you chase after quick fixes that will bring you shallow, short-term happiness.
To avoid self-sabotage, allow yourself to trust in the relationships, passions and interests that have consistently appealed to you over the course of your life. Invest in these things and foster their growth—even if they get a bit boring at times. Boredom is, after all, just another obstacle that you need to overcome in order to reach someplace incredible.
Heidi Priebe is a personality psychology writer who focuses primarily on the Jung-Myers model of psychological type. She is the author of five books, including The Comprehensive ENFP Survival Guide and How You’ll Do Everything Based On Your Personality Type. Follow her on Facebook here or argue with her on Twitter here.