The INFP: Hua Mulan


March 6, 2014 by philipbullitthughes

It’s that time again, time for the long awaited post about one of my all time favorite personality types—the INFP. But first, I would like to take a moment to apologize for dawdling. I recognize that it has been quite some time since my last post. No, I have not forgotten to write. I have just been doing writing of a different sort. I recently completed a novel using the sixteen personality types to map out each of my characters. More to come about that, but it is my hope that my readers will enjoy seeing their personality type come to life in a world as unusual as they are. So stay tuned!

Now, enough about my book. Today we are going to talk about those rare and soulful Healers, the INFPs. One INFP who stands out as a prime example is Disney’s adaptation of the Chinese hero of yesterday, Hua Mulan.Image

INFPs are perhaps the most interesting type of all. Soft-spoken, sensitive, intelligent, kind, these individuals offer a depth of empathy few can employ. While they might appear collected and cool on their exterior, their minds are often a typhoon of emotion, swirling them from one feeling to the next.

Unfortunately for the INFP, many feel misunderstood, and if raised in a family that values the concrete and is obtuse about feelings, they will wither like a flower in the torrid sun. Such is the case with Disney’s protagonist.

Like most INFPs, Mulan feels as though she is set apart from society. Raised amidst a culture that values submission, silence, and conformity, Mulan is torn between two ideals. She is independent, opinionated, and strong-willed, and her natural inclinations are a far cry from what her family wishes of her. So, in an effort to please her family and rid herself of the aberrational stigma attached to her nature, she kowtows to their demands.

Mulan starts her day like many INFPs, running around in a frantic tizzy in a last stitch effort to make sure everyone in her life is happy while simultaneously maintaining some sort of balance in her own life. Feed the chickens, pray, get washed up, find a husband. None of which she is actually sure she wants, mostly because she is told she wants these things rather than making her mind up herself.

And thus she lives, day after mundane day, hoping that no one will figure her out.

But then everything changes. Her father, a war hero of old, is called forth in service of the Emperor. War is upon them, and a male from each family must serve. It is then that the reality of Mulan’s character surfaces. Her father is too old to go to war, and would most certainly be killed. She throws off the ties that bind her, and she surreptitiously takes her father’s place, disguised as a male.Image

And so she begins her quest, a few close friends at her side. Abstract companions are always the INFPs friend of choice, and Mulan is no exception. With the help of an ancestral dragon, a cricket, and her horse, Mulan transcends the confines placed upon her and rescues the Empire from certain destruction.

It is only when Mulan is set free from the ties that bind her that she truly blossoms. Her creative, innovative, and inspiring ways of doing things is adopted not only by her comrades, but ultimately resonates with the entire nation.

INFPs are natural people-pleasers. They want everyone to be happy and will go to great lengths to make sure those around them feel valued and accepted. However, this can be to their detriment. In looking out for others, they often forget to take care of themselves. INFPs need to have freedom, freedom from judgment, scrutiny, and above all else, freedom to be themselves. If you know an INFP, appreciate them for their depth, their quirks, their creativity, and their undying compassion and empathy.

20 thoughts on “The INFP: Hua Mulan

  1. Pliny Gale says:

    This is great! I believe I am an INFP. One thing I find particularly interesting here is the dichotomy between the unshaken idealist, and the people-pleaser that can be present in the same person. This seem almost contradictory to a point, but each trade finds a way to reveal itself at different times in different ways. When I am given a very specific task or goal, I tend to lean a little more towards the people-pleaser mindset. When a situation is open-ended, theoretical, and subjective, I tend to be more of an idealist—focusing on the way things ought to be. Personally I tend to lean a little more towards the later, but don’t think it can be functional without a little bit of the former. I person typically dead-set on ideals occasionally needs that satisfaction of nothing more than a “job well done.”

  2. Colin says:

    Beautifully written, well done!

  3. Hannah says:

    Reblogged this on Hannah's Scribblings.

  4. Raashmi says:

    I’m an INFP and reading about the character Mulan and the struggle between wanting to be free to create your own life that isn’t conformist has always been difficult. The people pleasing part of me has wanted to do the right thing and for many years I looked to settle down, knowing in my heart that the type of inspired love I want in life I wouldn’t find through the conventional routes of my culture. For 3 years I kowtowed, convincing myself it was what I wanted. Now I feel like I want to be free to be who I am, to find the love I want, the way I want to….even if I have to wait 1,000 years. Recently, I’ve started to pursue my interest in creative writing again and that makes me feel happier. I still feel at the back of my mind though, that in doing what I want I will face disapproval, even though if I asserted myself no one would stop me….it’s just the thought of disapproval that digs deep at me. Perhaps this post sounds more dramatic than reality but I do feel this conflict and experiencing conflict does disturb me. If I disagree with someone I’m the type to lose sleep over it, However, I lead a largely independent life now, I love my space and I feel in life I can breathe again. I don’t care about money, I care about having the freedom to create and I value my own independence, even if I have felt lonely at times as a result….even if it means I never marry. The most important things in my life are my ability to express my experience of life in writing, to find a deep and lasting love, which lends me towards the spiritual as human love is not lasting, I also would like to work in a role where I can help others and also being a Vegan, that helps humanity.

  5. Raashmi says:

    I apologise if I’m writing too much but I do think INFP’s are here to show their world through their eyes. Although an autistic person is the extreme male mind, and is contrary to the nature of an INFP the example I use is to highlight the different vision they have of the world. The autistic will see squares and rectangles when they see a window but in contrast, the INFP will look through the window, they will not notice the window itself but the trees, and not just the trees but the beauty of natures palette the brilliance if the green, the fascinating complexity of this design of creation and beyond that… wondering at such an artist who could create such a thing of such quiet beauty. There is a wonderful symmetry to nature, to it’s relation to the natural balance of our own minds and bodies and the question of course then turns to question the true nature of our place in this world. INFP’s don’t see the window, they fly out of it and experience their sense of wonder. As Jostein Gaarder wrote in Sophie’s World “….the only thing we require to be good philosophers is the faculty of wonder…” and this is something us INFP’s have in abundance. We view the world as if through the eyes of a child. We feel a child’s disillusionment with the bad that happens in the world but like a child too our hearts our full of hope that somehow if we try our best we might be able to make it better. When people say for example, that vegans are militant, I feel sad that they can’t see the compassion behind the motive or the inherent beauty of respect for all laugh. However, if I said that to everyone, they would think I was too soft, or an unrealistic person but living a life of love is not unrealistic, it’s entirely possible if we could but work, if not all as one but as a majority at least for the greater good. I’m going to stop my essay now and I hope I haven’t made anyone’s ears bleed. I’m sorry if I have, I’m just passionate once I get going.

  6. Raashmi says:

    I made a few mistakes above: ‘The world through their eyes’, ‘brilliance of the green’, ‘respect for all life’, there’s no edit button, woe is me! 🙂

  7. Raashmi says:

    Also, I really like your post on Mulan and think it was beautifully written. I like your blog!

  8. Raashmi says:

    Dear Philip, I don’t know how to contact you another way but I wanted to ask you if you could please delete my comments from your page. I would like to show a friend your page but that friend will see my comments below and I’d prefer to have privacy. I’m happy to write another more neutral comment for you as I really do believe you bring a touch of sensitivity and insight to your type descriptions that I haven’t found elsewhere. When I have a bad day, I read this post and I feel that there is someone out there who truly understands me…and you don’t even know me. Thank you Philip

  9. The infp man says:

    This is great! I relate to basically everything you said- if I feel comfortable around the people around me, and accepted(Fi), I can be as bubbly and witty as anyone(Ne). I prefer to keep my inner world guarded, but if a cause that I value appears, I show myself. But Im not shy anymore, I’m still rederved, but I’ve worked on exuding my inner-confidence externally ie listening to positive affirmation, breaking down fears etc… I don’t care now, I’ll speak on a podium if-need-be.

  10. I’ve been reading all your texts, I’m an INFP.

    Because I find it hard to express myself in words if not in a kind of poetry where I am free to release my tornado soul, I can just say to you…: Thank you!

    I’m loving to read your writings.

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