I thought I knew what I believed
There are times in life when we come face-to-face with what we really believe. It's in these moments that our true beliefs about ourselves bubble to the surface. Sometimes they might explode in our face. This is a story about my most recent bubble explosion. I know you need to hear what I'm about to share. So, this is for you!
I was recently steamrolled by a virus that knocked me out for two weeks. I haven't been that sick since I was a child. Each night I'd go to bed hoping I'd wake up feeling much better. Then each morning my hope disappeared as I developed new or worsening symptoms.
When anyone in my life is that sick, I want them to allow their body to rest and recover. I would never think or say, "Come on. You've been sick long enough. Get up. Get back to work!" But you know what happened when I was sick, right? That's the bubble that exploded in my face.
I do intentionally focus on self-care in my life. My recent sickness, though, revealed that I still have parameters around how much self-care is acceptable. See? I'm still working on this, too. I view self-care as a life-long process that needs to be regularly evaluated, so it's ok that it's not perfect.
Why do you struggle with self-care? When you think about caring for yourself, you may feel guilty or self-centered. These are common for INFJs. Many INFJs also struggle with their self-esteem and sense of worth. These things make it difficult for us to make ourselves a priority. Then, there's this: your outward behavior is more focused on others and their feelings than your own.
Do you have an underlying belief that self-care is ok as long as the "self" is someone else?
That kind of thinking reveals a lack of understanding of your self-worth. Has someone called you selfish for taking care of yourself? It's especially difficult to take time out for self-care when others don't understand. Anyone who understands their own value, and the value of self-care in their own lives, will value it in your life, too.
I know you want to be the best possible version of yourself, so let me give this to you straight.
You must prioritize self-care.
Self-care allows time to recharge, so we can spend energy on the things that really matter to us.
Self-care allows time to reflect, so we can do the things that build us up—and stop doing what holds us back.
Self-care is a bold declaration that we have great value.
Once I recognized my underlying thought process while sick, I realized how absurd it sounded. I had expectations about when I should feel better even though my body was still under attack from the virus. I realized forcing myself to work or exercise would create more physical stress on my already weakened body. I knew if I wanted to get better, as quickly as possible, I had to stop resisting my continued self-care.
So what's it going to take for you to start regularly caring for yourself? If you're like me, you may find that you have an underlying belief that you can care for yourself up to a certain point.
Rebel against those unhealthy messages that say taking care of yourself is selfish. Stop holding yourself back by withholding your self-care. Make a plan for your self-care today. Ask a friend to join you. Hire a coach to help you better understand how to care for yourself and to hold you accountable. Whatever you decide, take it as seriously as you take your love for learning or helping others.