Fall is in the air here in Boston. Pumpkin spice season is in full effect. I’m so excited about it. I love pumpkin spice.
I love it when the seasons change. It’s a great reminder for me that things do change. I tend to get in the mindset sometimes that nothing will ever get better or change for the good, that things will always be as they are. But then I start to notice that the green is slowly fading to wonderful shades of red and yellow and gold and I realize that change is happening. It’s the same for things in life. They will get better.
One of my favorite quotes is from Glennon Doyle Melton. She said:
“Life is hard. It’s not because you are doing it wrong. It’s just hard. But we can do hard things.”
It’s important to have this reminder from time to time. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you can’t do something.
I have 2 modes. I either think that I can do something that is totally crazy and impossible, or I think that I can’t do something that is super easy and simple. Glennon also said “We can do hard things, but we can’t do easy things.” That’s true for me. Some days it’s all that I can do to take a shower and get off of the coach, but I’m almost always planning something new and big and crazy.
I’ve told you guys before about how I moved across the country a couple of times. I got a job in an industry that is really difficult to get into. I can do really hard things that people tell me are impossible.
I wanted to share that with you because I want to make sure that you know that you can do really hard things too. Whatever it is that you want to do, whatever you are dreaming about or planning. You can do it. I’m sure of it.
I talk to a lot of INFJs who struggle with taking care of themselves. I know that I certainly do as well. I am the last person that I want to take care of. I’m all about taking care of everyone else first. I know what to do for them. I can look at them and know what they need. But when it comes to me, I’m lost. I don’t know what I’m feeling or why. I don’t know how to take care of myself or when to plan the right time.
I only learned about self-care about 5 years ago. It’s something that is so important for us. So, we are going to talk a little bit about that today. And we are also going to talk about self-acceptance. Self-acceptance is one of my favorite topics these days.
So let’s jump in and talk about self-care. What do we mean when we say self-care?
Self-care is taking actions to protect or preserve our own health and well being. It’s literally taking care of yourself.
I think of it as doing something nice for yourself or maybe something that you don’t get to do all the time.
Some examples we talked about in the INFJ Woman Facebook group are:
- Getting a massage
- Taking a nap
- Soaking in a bubble bath (My favorite kind of bubble bath)
- Reading a good book
- Ice cream
- Spending quiet time in the garden
- Drinking tea by the fireplace
Self-care is so important for INFJs. It is so easy for us to soak up the emotions of people around us, even when we don’t realize that we are doing it. Taking time for ourselves allows us to decompress and recharge.
A friend of mine sent me a picture of a sifter. It was a new style one that you shake to make it work. She said “You need one of these and you need to put it to work in your head every single day. It’s so important.”
When I saw the picture it all made sense. As INFJs our head is like a bowl of emotions and problems and issues that are our own, as well as things that we pick up from other people. If we just continue to pick things up and put them in the bowl at some point it will overflow. We will not be able to handle everything anymore.
So It’s important for us to think of our heads and minds as a sifter. We need to work diligently every single day to sift through the things that we pick up and make sure that we are only keeping the things that bring us joy and meaning.
And everything else we need to put down and walk away from. If it doesn’t serve us, we should no longer worry about it. It’s ok to put some things down. In fact, it’s ok to put down a lot of the things that we carry around. If they don’t serve you, put them down and walk away.
I’m telling you this story because it ties into our next subject of self-acceptance.
As INFJs we are told from a young age that we need to change. We need to be more like our extroverted friends and siblings. Because of this we never really find that sense of belonging that we long for.
We go through life feeling like we are not enough just the way that we are. To compensate for this feeling, we become people-pleasers, doing whatever we can for those around us so that we will feel loved and appreciated. It takes some internal work to break out of this cycle and find a healthier way of living. It takes a realization that this is what we are doing to be able to shift it.
Finding a place of self-acceptance is so, so important. It will change your whole way of thinking about life! Just the simple knowledge that you are enough just the way that you are and embracing that daily is enough to start to shift your way of thinking.
I encourage you to write down that affirmation and think about it every day. Write it on a sticky note on your mirror so you see it every morning or put it on the lock screen of your phone. Put it someplace that you will be reminded of it every day! It’s so important to remember!
Change your whole outlook on life
Once you really start to believe it and live it, you will find that so much is possible. Changing the way that you think about yourself will change your whole outlook on life.
It’s about changing the way we believe things are possible. When you really love and accept yourself anything is possible. All of those dreams that you have, all those things that you want to do are suddenly possible.
You can get away from you dad who is always tearing you down. You can finally leave your husband who hasn’t said anything positive to you in years. You have the courage to walk away from your job with the boss who treats you like you are worthless.
You will no longer have the time or energy to accept less than what you deserve from anyone. I want each and every one of you to know this feeling. It’s a wonderful feeling!
It starts with a belief
So many people ask me “How do you get to a place of self-acceptance? How do you get there?”
I wish that I could tell you that there is this one thing that you do and bam! You have everything that you need. But it doesn’t work that way, at least it hasn’t for me. It’s more like a messy process of trying and failing and trying some more.
I can tell you though that it starts with that belief. It starts with you knowing that you deserve better. You are enough just the way that you are. It starts with you owning the fact that you are introverted and need quiet alone time. That’s not something that needs to change. It starts with you leaning into your intuition and following those gut feelings you have. You may not always understand them or know why your intuition is leading you the way that it is and that’s ok. It’s important to trust it anyway.
It starts with you accepting the fact that you are an emotional person. Your emotions are important to you and you have a lot of them. That doesn’t make you dramatic or crazy nor does it mean that you overreact. It means that you feel things deeply. And that is a very special gift that not everyone has.
Self- acceptance is more of a journey than a destination. It’s a process of getting to know yourself and giving yourself grace.
As INFJ we are constantly looking for ways to improve things and that’s perfectly ok. But it’s also important for us to think about ourselves in a more gentle way. You are going to make mistakes. It’s ok when you do. Everybody does.
Sit with the pain
Sit with the pain, the shame, the regret, the embarrassment for a moment or a day if you must. Really feel those things. Don’t push them to the side. Just sit there, feeling icky and gross. Think about why you are feeling those things. Name the things that you are feeling. This is the hardest part for me. Sometimes it really takes some thought and sorting through feelings to say, Oh! It was me being overwhelmed and embarrassed and angry. That’s why I was acting that way!
Don’t identify with the feeling
You are not keeping it. It’s not a part of you, it’s just a visitor. An example is don’t say I’m sad. Say I’m experiencing sadness. Don’t say I’m fat. Say I have fat.
Think about the story behind the emotion
Where did it come from? When has it shown up in the past? This will help you to notice patterns and triggers. The more often that you are able to recognize your emotions, name them and let go of them the easier that it will be.
I want you to encourage you to really take some time this week to think about self-acceptance. Think about how your life would change if you were able to show yourself more grace rather than being so hard on yourself all the time.
Think about what you would be capable of if you believed that you deserved it.