As INFJs we are naturally focused on the people around us. It’s so easy for us to sort through their problems and find a simple solution to fix them. But when it comes to our own problems and feelings we get super stuck very quickly.
There are a lot of people who talk about loving yourself these days. I always thought that was a gimmicky thing that only certain people bought into. Sometimes I even felt like I was above it all. Not that I loved myself, because I have struggled with this concept for most of my life. I just thought that it didn’t exist for some people. I read this quote that perfectly summed up how I felt…
I loved you so much I forgot what it was like to hate myself.Unknown
The thing is I had no real reason to hate myself. I have always been the “good girl” who did everything she was supposed to. I am the first in my family to get a Bachelor’s degree, I have a well paying job and live in a nice place. So why do I have no confidence and no self love?
Sure, I know all about being different from other people and not being able to make and keep friends very easily. I know what rejection from the group feels like and what being told that I need to change my personality feels like as well.
But what is this concept of self love and how do we get it?
What is self-love?
Self-love is loving yourself unconditionally no matter what. It is knowing that you deserve better than the things that you put up with and taking the steps to get out of situations that are not good for you. It’s taking the steps necessary to get away from people who are not good for you as well.
It’s putting yourself first, your health and wellness above everyone else who is taking from you and knowing that you must take care of yourself in order to help anyone else.
How do you love yourself?
The underlying problem with self-love is deserving, at least it was for me. I didn’t feel like I deserved to be loved.
Everyone in the whole world has 3 fears: that they are not lovable, not enough and that they don’t belong anywhere. If we are made to feel this way, especially from the ages of 0-7, which are our imprint years, we start to believe that we are not lovable, not enough and don’t belong. It becomes deeply ingrained in our minds and part of what we believe about ourselves.
We will then compensate for this belief by not being able to express our needs, our emotions and not being able to set boundaries with people.
Let me tell you a story
When I was growing up my older sister and I were like twins. We did everything together. She was outgoing and everyone loved her and I was her shadow.
She would say things to me like “you’re pretty, but you’re not as pretty as I am.” She would say those things all of the time. So I began to feel like I was not enough and that I was not lovable just for being me. Because of this I compensated by not being able to tell her how I felt about what she said. I could never express to her how much she hurt me. I also couldn’t tell her that I needed her to stop. I had no sense of boundaries with her either. I did whatever she told me to, even knowing that it would get me in trouble.
It took me getting away from her to even realize the situation that I was in. I thought that’s just how things were. I didn’t realize that they could be different, that I could have healthy relationships that would bring me joy.
4 Steps to self-love
The first thing that you need to do to find self-love is accept yourself just the way that you are. You are different from most other people and that’s ok. It doesn’t mean that you are weird or broken. You don’t need to be fixed. You are perfect just the way that you are!
One of the big things that has helped me is to learn about my emotions. And rather than trying to make them go away, I lean into them and really feel them. Why do I feel sad today? What’s going on that’s making me feel this way? Embrace it and feel it, rather than trying to push it away. When you embrace it, it will actually go away faster, most of the time.
3. Take time for self-care
Self-care is so important. It is how you show yourself love. It’s special “me time” or doing something for yourself that you love. It’s different for everyone, but some examples are:
- Taking a hot, relaxing bath
- Reading your favorite book
- Going for a walk in nature
- Cooking your favorite meal
- Spending time with friends
4. Knowing that you deserve better
Some of us put up with a lot from some people. I know that I did for years. I put up with a lot from my sister for the first 25 years of my life. I have had a bunch of difficult jobs and a whole lot of difficult friends. I put up with them because I thought that was all that I deserved.
But I know now that is not the case at all. I deserve to have an amazing job that I love to do every day. I deserve to have friends that are nice to me and say good things about me. I deserve to have people around me who lift me up and encourage me rather than tear me down. I also deserve to have a beautiful husband who loves me and cherishes me every single day.
You deserve these things too!!! I promise you that you do!