In defense of dithering and ENFPs

Do you ever feel like it's all too much? Like if you try to do even one more thing you're going to absolutely explode into a million shattered pieces? I do.

That's when I know it's time to put myself out to pasture. I call it the fine art of doing nothing. To the untrained eye, it may look like laziness. But it's not.

It's dithering.

Big difference.

Dithering, you see, is how we ENFP personality types process our lives. Dithering is vital to our creative process. ENFPs overflow with ideas, plans, dreams. But the daily grind of life tends to suck this passion right out of us.

We need time to dither or else we get depressed and emotionally overwrought.

When I was a little girl and my emotions got big and overwhelming, my mother would wisely send me to my room for quiet time. This was not punishment. This was not a "time-out." This was me being put out to pasture.

I would putz around my room, coloring or reading, lying on my bed and watching the shadows on the ceiling. I stared out the window. Listened to the birds. Made up stories in my head.

After about an hour of dithering, I felt much better. I was able to handle the mundane, repetitive tasks of life again.

Other personality types have a difficult time understanding ENFPs need for dithering. There is quite a bit of judgment about us not "doing enough." We are often accused of being "too sensitive." People wonder why we can't just "get over it" and "move on" to the next thing.

The thing is, ENFPs are fully capable of "moving on." But first we have to dither. We need to putter about in the garden, experiment with a new recipe, go for long drives, walk in nature, lay on the grass and let the sunshine warm our faces. Maybe we'll have ourselves a good cry. Perhaps we'll write some melancholy poetry.

And then, we rely on the complementary personality types in our lives to gently pull us back into the thrum of life.

My mother would always come check on me after about an hour. She never left me alone too long--because then I would start getting lonely and wondering if I really was being punished.

As an adult, I rely on my husband to pull me back. But he knows not to be demanding or brusque with me (ENFPs do well with suggestions--not commands).

Today, I spent time lolling around on the grass. I watched my twins play. I watched the breeze ruffle the leaves of the trees. I doodled on some paper. I listened to the birds. I felt the warmth of the sunshine on my skin. I did nothing and felt very good doing it.

Then it was dinnertime.

So, I went inside and fixed some dinner for my family.

And I felt...happy.