INFP Depression… Is It Inevitable In This Evil World?

Highly Sensitive PersonSelf-GrowthTalk-Therapy Scribblings
INFP Depression Anxiety
February 16, 2017

To be an INFP is to be a walking paradox. We are authentic, deeply feeling creatures, which makes us the comfortable people to be around. We give acceptance and understand others’ emotions without judging. We love deeply. But feeling too much is also our burden, and hence the paradox. Our biggest weaknesses are the same as our biggest strengths. What makes us understanding and empathetic, makes us also extremely vulnerable to all negativity. Which traits make an INFP depression-prone then?

The answer is:

Weltschmerz.

WHAT?!

Nope, it’s not a weapon of mass destruction. This terrible German word stands for “world-weariness”, but Wikipedia explains it way better:

Weltschmerz denotes the kind of feeling experienced by someone who understands that physical reality can never satisfy the demands of the mind.

 

INFP & Depression… Why Me?

Depression isn’t unavoidable for the INPFs. There are many different causes of depression, and personality is just one of them. However, the way we think, perceive and interpret the world may be one of the risk factors that makes us prone to falling victims of depression and anxiety.

What are the INFP traits that make us susceptible to depression?

 

  • I’m a hopeless idealist who holds extremely high standards and expectations never to be fulfilled. Especially when it comes to love, relationships, and morality. When I love someone, nothing else matters. That’s why losing one of those who loved me unconditionally was by far the most traumatic experience I’ve ever had, which triggered a whole lot of other problems.
  • My naivety makes me an easy target for narcissists and other toxic individuals. I automatically assume everyone’s intentions are as pure as mine are, even when their actions show quite the opposite. I can’t imagine that someone can hurt me intentionally. For most of my life, I believed that “honesty is the best policy”, even though I suffered often as a result. Only recently, my Mom has told me: “You know, Marta, it’s important to be honest, but sometimes it’s better to sweep certain things under the carpet and not to tell the whole truth, especially to your superiors”. Mom, why didn’t you tell me earlier?! It hurts to discover in your adult life that not everyone has good intentions.
  • The empathy that makes me a good listener, also makes me extremely susceptible to other’s moods, and I truly hate that. I get easily upset with problems that aren’t mine or get “infected” with other’s bad mood and unnecessary tension. I can burst into tears watching any movie and I find it hard to say “no”, so people often take advantage of me.
  • My communications skills are another strength that often turns into a weakness. From a simple conversation, I receive tons of input: the pitch of your voice, your facial expression, your intonation, your enthusiasm or lack of it, your choice of words… that’s a lot of data to deal with and everything matters.
  • Closed in my internal world, I think a lot. I overthink everything that happens to me. I ask myself lots of why questions to understand better, but I often don’t come up with satisfying answers. I started writing this blog to get those thoughts out of my head.
  • I’m a born artist, but as a perfectionist, I never find my “artwork” satisfying and I often get discouraged by the lack of progress.
  • I’m a perfectionist on one hand, but also quite messy and chaotic on another. Administrative tasks are just too boring to keep me engaged. I do as I feel, and thus, I often start new projects and suddenly abandon them. As a result, I often get stuck in my dreams and artistic visions… There are so many exciting things to do and so little time, that I’d rather spend it on something else than paperwork, or learning the basics.
  • Being sensitive, I get stressed easily. It’s hard not to get stressed when you feel intensely, truly care and aim for perfection. And in stressful situations, I tend to avoid solving the problem until it is too big to manage. Obviously, procrastination adds to my stress making my life and self-esteem miserable.
  • Overwhelmed by the injustice and cruelty of this world, I switch to my hermit mode. Terrorism, wars, abuse of the weak and the poor, destroying the Earth for profit… I want to make a change, teach love, end suffering, but no matter how much time and effort I dedicate, it will never be enough. When I think about all the evil, I seriously consider withdrawing to a wooden hut in the middle of nowhere, out of network coverage, where I can only hear the birds singing and no bad people can reach me. But I know I would feel lonely too.
  • I have a tendency to be a people pleaser and a praise junkie, which makes me extremely susceptible to criticism. If I put my whole heart in something, it’s unavoidable to take it personally. Even a complete lack of feedback is interpreted as “not good enough”.
  • Being independent, creative, idealistic and cause-oriented, we generally make poor employees. Especially in businesses that are all about the money, such as insurance and finance, for instance (hell, yeah). We can’t bear when our work doesn’t stand in line with our values. But bills don’t pay themselves, so it’s normal for an INPF to be lost in terms of a career. Jobs that demand helping people are difficult too, since witnessing others suffer is too painful and may lead to burnout.
  • No wonder that INPF is the personality type that statistically makes less money than any other. That’s not very comforting. Here is an infographic that illustrates it.

 

 

Does all the above mean that the INPFs are bound to get depressed and fail in life? Is it even possible to thrive and find happiness when you’re an INFP?

 

Living A Happy Life As An INFP

It took me some years to find my way. Now, I believe that depression was a necessary stage of my development. I’m only 27, I believe to be very lucky to have this level of self-awareness. If I wasn’t an INFP, life would have been much easier, but I’m proud of being one.

After many hours of self-reflections and having read countless books on mental health, emotions, and self-growth, I’ve come to some conclusion.

#1. Self-Forgiveness.

Acknowledge your mistakes, forgive yourself and don’t look back. Remember that you are doing the best you can in every moment. If you were aware of the pain you would cause, would you have done it again? And even if you knew, you had no idea how much you would regret. Now, learn the lesson and let go of the past. Even if you did something bad, it doesn’t make you automatically a bad person.

#2. Practice mindfulness.

Perfectionism is usually correlated with high anxiety, and mindfulness is the remedy. Whatever you do, be fully present. Focus on your body and your surrounding, and breathe. If you find your mind wandering, gently bring your attention back to the present moment. It’s okay – that’s what minds do. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy proved to be not only a very effective depression treatment but also a preventive measure.

#3. Dare to be imperfect.

Believe me, done is better than perfect. I know how much it costs you to lower your standards, but perfection is an abstract concept, and therefore unachievable. Practice being imperfect. I do it through blogging. Over time, hitting the “publish” button gets much easier. A minor flaw doesn’t make you a failure, so don’t be hard on yourself. And don’t forget to enjoy the process – it’s not only the final result that counts. The Gifts Of Imperfection: Let Go Of Who You Think You’re Supposed To Be And Embrace Who You Are is a very inspiring and entertaining book on perfectionism that I highly recommend you to read.

#4. Redefine failure.

Success is built upon failures – they’re an inherent part of our learning process. With every attempt, you get better and more experienced. Learn your lesson and move on. You can learn more about redefining success and failure in this post.

#5. Stop watching the news.

What you see on the TV isn’t an objective image of the world we live in. There are plenty of good, compassionate people, but good news just don’t sell. Instead, notice things and stories that inspire you.

#6. Spend time in nature and with animals.

Animals are much easier to be with than humans. They don’t pretend, judge, or hold grudges. And nature doesn’t only make us happier and healthier – research shows it makes us also kinder.

 

INFP Depression Anxiety

 

#7. Go to therapy.

Even if you’re not suffering from clinical depression, therapy is a good investment. An insight of a third person not involved in your problems such a good therapist will help you to see yourself in a new light. Thanks to therapy, I discovered how unfairly I was treating myself and learned self-compassion.

#8. Find an outlet for your creativity

Doesn’t matter if it’s handicraft, painting, writing, coloring, or photography. Or even blogging. Find something that you love and do it just for the sake of pleasure.

#9. Find your mission.

You don’t have to be an executive of a big company and make tons of money to call yourself successful. I believe that finding a job or a business that is in line with your internal values and gives meaning to your life is the only way to succeed in business and be happy as an INFP. Don’t be afraid to try different things, it takes time to discover your true vocation. Whatever it is, dedicate yourself to it and become a badass. Money will find its way to your pocket.

Infp Depression Inevitable

 

I strongly believe INFP depression can be avoided if you live and act in line with your values and follow your heart. What is your mission in life? Do you feel successful as an INFP? Share your thoughts below.

Take care,

Marta

 

PS. Other posts you may find interesting:

As Lonely As An INFP In An Extrovert World…

28 Things I Wish I Knew Ten Years Ago: Advice For My Younger INFP Self

 

PS2. INFPs are generally good writers (I’m not speaking about myself because this isn’t my native language). If you’re interested in how you can make a living with a blog, read this post.

 

 

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32 Comments

  1. Ali Rost says:

    Wow .. what an incredibly comprehensive post. It was my first exposure to INFP and its link to depression. I’ll keep my eye out for other articles .. what an interesting topic! Thank-you

  2. I am exactly the same, I have such high standards that I become frustrated when they are not met and that can sometimes leave me depressed. For me I was a lot worse before I started blogging and my blogging quite literally saved me and made me feel like I was doing something with my life.

    • Marta says:

      The same here. I’m more demanding of myself than anyone else, and blogging has been therapeutic for me.

  3. Mary says:

    I’m an ENFJ that also struggles with anxiety and depression, and from what I understand from talking to other ENFJs, it’s common with us also. Everything on your list above applies to me as well. I’m a magnet for narcs and toxic people, and struggle with how to balance my heart and mind. I’m book marking this site as I’m loving the other posts you up

  4. joseph ludmir says:

    Wow! I am in the midst of coming out of a very deep depression caused by the things that you have mentioned. Thank you so much for this!

  5. Robin says:

    Thank you, Marta, for sharing this! I am an INFP as well and think exactly the same way. Life can indeed be hard sometimes belonging to this personality type. You also mentioned my current problem, I’m greatly struggling with the decision what to do for a career, I feel like I’m so deeply contradictive in my ways, maybe that’s also an INFP thing? And it’s hard to find a job that combines all your high expectations, skills, values, and the aforementioned contradictive qualities.

    But, after all, I’m happy about being an INFP! I’ve always felt like I’m experiencing life in such an intense way. Yes, there are all the struggles which you described, but then there’s also a deep appreciation for all the good things in life, especially the little things that many others don’t really notice or pay attention to. I think it’s better to really experience life’s ups and downs intensely which is truly living to me than to be on a rather even track like maybe other personality types!

    • Marta says:

      Hey Robin 🙂 Not sure if I’m happy to be an INFP, but I’ve never been anything else, so how do I know if I would like it? We should try to make the most of what we have. The career issue is definitely linked to our personality… If only I could separate my work from my private life and get satisfied with making enough the bills! It’s hard to find something that fits your values, makes the world a better place, but at the same time, is fascinating and keeps you entertained… I’ve already changed career twice, done lots of unrelated jobs, and now I am seriously considering becoming a farrier.

      How old are you? What would you be doing if you didn’t have to worry about the money?

      • Robin says:

        Sure, we don’t know what it’s like to be different, I just think we can be proud of many of our characteristics. That we tend to put others first and want to help, that we have strong values, that we dislike small-talk and prefer talking about deep topics, that we value close friendships so highly, and so on.

        I don’t know if I like to trade my wish for a fulfilling career for satisfaction with a “meaningless” office job. It might make it easier, yes, but in my opinion this is a great attitude because it shows you don’t want be a sheep walking with the masses, but that you’re willing to fight for using well this one life that you have. Have you already worked as a farrier? Do you think it’s gonna fulfill you? Imagine it does. Wouldn’t you be happy about having faught for it? Wouldn’t you look back and say that it had to happen the way it did? Other people might have an easier life now by putting aside their aspirations and being satisfied with an office job. But isn’t the most “popular” death bed regret not having lived up to ones dreams and values and not having been true to oneself? So, actually, we can be happy to have realized this so early on!

        I’m nearly 27, got a degree in economics and business, then travelled the world for one and a half years and still don’t know what I want. I’ve never had a business job, but I have the strong feeling that it’s nothing for me and don’t think I should waste time trying it.
        I’ve pondered the money question a lot. Difficult one. Probably producing/making music, translating, or studying psychology. To make it short, the first one is very, very competitive and I have talent, but am far from having amazing skills, I fear the monotony and loneliness of the second one, and the latter might result in a job with too much contact with people which would probably drain my energy. Did you notice my doubts? 😀

        • Marta says:

          I have the same kind of doubts as you have. It seems we’re in the same moment of our lives. At our age, most people have accomplished something, have finished their studies, started some career, already have children or at least, are in a stable relationship… Other personality types follow the scheme without thinking too much about it and questioning everything all the time.

          The idea of my becoming a farrier is a recent one. I am looking for a way to make a decent living in the countryside and be my own boss. As a result of following my reason instead of listening to my intuition, I’ve already tried “serious” business (had an insurance company), and all I can say is that, frankly, there is nothing less suitable for an INFP than an insurance job. Translation was also way too boring to keep me engaged. So I left everything and went to Portugal, and later to Spain, to work with horses (something I’ve dreamed about since I was 12). The Universe somehow made my path cross with that of a female farrier from the US, whom I believe to be an INFP, too. She invited me to come over and learn the profession. I don’t know if that’s what I want to do for the rest of my life, but as I can try without much investment, I would regret for the rest of my life if I didn’t.

          I’m far from telling you which of the three you should do… Maybe all three at the same time? Music seems very risky as a main source of income, but can be a good way to recharge your energy after too much human interaction. As a translator, you can specialize is psychology… All I can say is follow your heart and have fun in the process. <3

          • Crystal says:

            Hi there – I’m not sure if these posts are still being looked at, but wanted to reply. I’m 37 now and at 27/28 I had graduated with a business degree AND had just gotten pregnant with my first son.

            I’m an INFP, and also, if I could do anything, would have gone into music. My second thought choice was psychology as well at the time (after I had already graduated with my undergrad in business, darn it).

            I think part of what is frustrating about being an INFP is endless banter and contradicting yourself in your own head. When I was in my mid to late 20’s I just didn’t make a decision, so I ended up in a career path in business…desk job, boring – yuck. Had to pay the bills, after all. 🙂 My advice is don’t let yourself fall into that if you can help it. I make very good money now…being a perfectionist, I did get good at my job, but it’s kind of soul-sucking. Then throwing young kids into the mix….? It’s a whole new level of mental exhaustion and there is zero time to have hobbies where you can get your love for life after work. It’s really hard to pull yourself out of the rat race once you’ve gotten to a certain level in your career with kids to support, etc.

            Anyway, I’m babbling and I’m on this blog instead of working so hopefully some of that actually made sense. hahaha!

  6. Rachel says:

    After taking the Myers Briggs test a couple of years ago, I’ve been reading up on articles and blogs to learn more about my personality type, helping me to connect the dots with my thoughts, feelings and behaviors and how to cope with them and grow as a person. Your blog has been absolutely spot on. A couple of years ago I separated from my husband and started my own business at the same time. The whole situation was traumatic for me, and I allowed myself to take on every bit of guilt and mental burdens that come with it. I went to a therapist for about a year, and I’m on antidepressants. It has been an excruciatingly long process, but I’m getting better. The stress of the business is slowing down my healing but I have to remind myself it will smooth out and get better. Still ups and downs with anxiety. Best of luck to all of you. Being INFPs may not be the most fun, but it’s nice to see that others can understand how I feel. Good job on your blog!

    • Marta says:

      Thank you, Rachel! It’s incredible how similar INPFs’ accounts are. You are strong, kudos for getting over your past and taking control over your life. I know how much energy costs running a business and how much anxiety it generates, so I can very much relate. What kind of business is it, if I may ask?

      Hugs,
      Marta

  7. Carmen says:

    I really enjoyed your post! When I found out I was INFP I looked for a blog post like this because I felt like my personality explained my current situation. I couldnt find one quite like yours until today! But I’ve been working on my personal happiness and I am almost there. (My perfectionist part of me won’t allow me to say I’m there yet) but I am currently working on my health. I’ve had immune problems and digestive problems so focusing on that has helped me a lot to feel a little more in control. I stopped watching news. I finally found a career I want to have. I’m on the path to become an esthetician. Like you said, we love helping people. But medical help is too depressing. (I tried that) so now I can help people just FEEL good about themselves and LOOK good. The other day I was able to do someone’s makeup for the first time and they lighted up with joy. It is the best feeling ever. I also save time for myself every day to be alone at home or out in nature so I can recharge. Best idea ever. Also, I have removed toxic friendships from my life. (In a nice way) and I feel great. Thanks for this post! I’m not alone! None of us are!! And we can achieve happiness!

    • Marta says:

      Hey Carmen,
      thanks for your message. From what you have written, you’re doing amazing! I’m glad that you’ve found your dream career and are pursuing it, I still have the hope to achieve it one day. Fulfillment is everything.

      XoXo,
      Marta

  8. Kerrie says:

    I see myself in your article, of course I’m an INFP I would have liked to avoid depression. However I did learn a lot from depression. Thanks for the article. I found my career as a librarian very satisfying…

  9. Eunike says:

    Hi Martha,
    I’m grateful that I’ve found your personal blog. Me too as an INFP, feels every single things that you’ve wrote. But somehow I don’t have anybody that I belongs and I have trust, I overwhelmed by people who judges what should I feels, and how unrealistic all feelings that I have. They ask me to not too sensitive. I don’t understand how to share to others how I feels, what I think and what I fear and how that fear so real till got me a trembling and another panic symptoms.
    I don’t need any sympathy, if they don’t understand, but somehow it’s more hurts when people blamed myself, like what I ever done every little mistake that I’ve made. I do blaming myself. And I suffered by my lack ability to forgive myself and let the past go on. I don’t know how to cheer me up, but I’d tried to make a list of grateful things so make me realised that I still have something worth to smiling in my chaos life.

    Actually I almost think that I have PTSD or depression, but I don’t think people out there will believe an overwhelmed feeling that make me unworthy to live. My not so close friend, who have therapy for her depression, told me to get a psychology counselor to find helps. I don’t know how to have a courage to share my untold story to people who I don’t know before. I have trouble with trusting people and low self-esteemed.

    Sorry for telling you so much about myself and my problem, for the first time I feels somebody understand me and that’s make me grateful. Thanks for sharing us, your beloved thoughts.
    With love,
    Regards

    • Marta says:

      Hey Eunike,

      thanks a lot for your message. I really appreciate you telling me all these things. I know what you mean when you say that no one understands and you have nobody to share your feelings with… We are different in many ways. We are more self-aware ofwhat happens inside us than any other of the types, and we feel everything with an overwhelming intensity. Being sensitive and empathetic is our superpower, not a flaw of character. The right people will be able to appreciate it, I am sure of that.

      I know how hard it is to put into words what you feel. Believe me, I struggle with every post and it costs me a lot of courage to hit the publish button, and even more, to share my blog somewhere on the social media. Alas, I’ve never shared this blog of mine with any of the people I know. Sharing with random strangers is much easier, apparently, because I don’t care as much about being judged. Right now, I’m working on a post on low self-esteem… This problem concerns many people, they just mask it with different behaviors.

      As for expressing you emotions, writing helps a lot, so maybe anonymous blogging is an option for you? I know it’s not the same as having a close friend that understands, but it helps to process one’s emotions in a healthy way. A list of things you are grateful for is a good beginning. I have one, too.

      Now, let me tell you something. If you think you may actually suffer from a mental illness, get some professional help. Taking care of yourself is nothing to be ashamed of. If you need someone to listen to you, a therapist will do (most therapists are NF types :-). To a mentally healthy person that has never experienced such a thing, depression is completely illogical, but therapists are both highly empathetic and trained to help!!!

      Take care,
      M.

  10. Crystal says:

    Hi there – thank you so much for sharing this. I’m an INFP and every single word of this spoke to me. I work in the Detroit area as an account manager for an automotive company. I make an awesome wage, but I constantly feel depressed and just mentally exhausted. Every day I’m just left with this feeling of “there has to be more…”

    In general, It’s difficult for me to make decisions, hard to focus, I get sad so easy, and I’m constantly holding my spouse up to these completely ridiculous standards…and then because he doesn’t live up, I completely withdrawl into myself because I don’t feel like he understands me. You talked about how you lost someone who loved you unconditionally and how traumatic that was.,,I think it’s because we feel that there are really so few people in this world that could ever understand us. When my best friend moved out of state, I honestly was so depressed for years and it still brings tears to my darn eyes right now. I didn’t really lose her, but it felt like I did…

    Anyway, thank you for posting this. Sometimes it just helps to know there are people out there that feel the same way. :):)

  11. Sarah says:

    Thanks for this post! It’s super helpful.

  12. Mia says:

    Well, I’ve been told that I have a talent in writing but I don’t consider it as a gift. I don’t make it useful in any way. I don’t know what to write about and I don’t see any chance to make money from that. Very few bloggers can make a living from it.

  13. Nat says:

    This was really nice because for 10 minutes I felt like someone got it. I’m an INFP and lately I’ve been wondering if it has been mild depression that suddenly showed up or if it was all in my head. It’s nice to know it’s not just me.

  14. Michele says:

    I found this in my pinterest feed today and it was just what I needed. I can’t explain the overwhelming feelings of being an infp to anyone and it is so good to read about people like me. Thank you for articulating it so well and for helping us to feel less crazy at times. Now when I meltdown over ASPCA commercials or sad songs I can take heart that there is a contingent crying along with me! Please keep the posts coming.

    • Marta says:

      Hey Michele,

      thanks for being here and leaving this comment. Knowing that somewhere in the world there are folks who relate to my misery makes me feel a little less crazy, too.

      Lots of love,
      M.

    • Alicorn Crystal says:

      Oh My! I really can’t stand that ASPCA commercials. I cried too easily on that commercial. How could they do that? I had to change channel or walked away from it because of my sensitive being, I’ll cry so fast that I had to walk away before I bawl over.

  15. Alicorn Crystal says:

    Hi,

    Seems like there is same name, my name is Crystal, I decided to use my internet name but then again few use that, too. Anyway, I’m INFP myself. I just learn more about me. I’ve been searching high and low and then fed up. I finally decided to try online counselor, a bit price-y but I’ve been saving my money. It helps. I worked few different jobs. I managed to tolerance but deep down I hated it. My parents even pressuring me to get a job. I don’t blame them since I’m living with them. Lucky, I live my own space down in the basement and have windows, bedroom, living room, and mini-kitchen. It is much nicer than my previous place that I lived. I’m lucky that I do not have kids and I do not get married. I seem magnetic for Narcissistic Men. Lucky, I learned how to set my boundary and they hate it and left. I was smarter every man I met, I learned my lesson quickly. Somehow I knew that I’m a scanner but my mother told me that is just a “theory” naturally I felt sad. Depression even worst. Now after I learn more about myself and my strong Empathy, HSP, and INFP. I hope that I’ll find something that is satisfying and rewarding. Right now I am 41 years old and going on 42. I know for sure that Scanner isn’t a theory, it is part of INFP.

    Thank you for posting this. <3
    Crystal

    • Marta says:

      Your Mom sounds like a J-type to me 🙂 regardless of whether it is just a theory or not, there no real reason to value specialists above multipotentialites. These are just two different approaches that complememt each other, and this world needs both. I hope you find a job that will let you be independent without selling your soul. There is a book that completely changed my approach to making money and spending it, You can read about it here. Best wishes, M.

  16. CrystalC says:

    I send a reply… and didn’t showed up 🙁

  17. Joshua H says:

    Thanks for writing this. I’ve intuitively known all that you described in my soul but could never, ever describe it to a person. Now, I can see exactly why after my 3 combat tours I came back so “shattered” feeling. I was an analyst, and a terrible one, but maps and imagery is just so fascinating to me! I recently also “felt” the need to seek out a VA therapist (they are making tremendous leaps and bounds to help veterans) in order to get the tools to recover from what is probably a life-long addiction to depression, perfection and feeling. Also, turning off the news (and tv mostly for that matter) and starting to look for another job besides insurance underwriting (DOH!!) are some things I have started doing to bring more peace into my
    Life.
    Discovering weeks ago my INFP shed some a bit of light in my path, and it’s been rewarding to understand I am absolutely not alone in this struggle. My poor 16 year old daughter is the same type too…. ???? It’s just such a hard path to walk, deeply feeling things can be a good thing, but feeling so overwhelmed most the time is such a hard way to live. Well, anyways, I could easily turn this into a novel so, I just wanted to thank you for your thoughts and suggestions. Your blog is likely something I may come back to often now to get a dose of confirmation from time to time. I may order your T-shirt’s one day too. Keep it up!

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ABOUT ME

INFP. A sensitive, yet adventurous soul on a never-ending quest for the meaning of life and the reasons behind human behavior. Sometimes, a I'm frolicking unicorn pooping rainbows. On other occasions, I can be as deep as the Mariana Trench. After some psychotherapy and medication, I am seeing my depression as a source of positive changes and self growth. If I could choose any superpower I wanted, it would be healing.

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