“Talk to yourself the same way as you would talk to a friend who you love.” Isn’t that sort of how the saying goes? Basically, we are way too hard on ourselves, right? We judge, we criticize, we shame, we blame. As human beings, we are often our own worst critics. The most intense internalizers. Negative self-talk has ruined more than one special moment in your life, right? I get it. I feel it. The shame spiral and guilt game we often get ourselves into is painful. And, sometimes, it feels like there’s no clear way out. We get wrapped up in the “shoulds” and forget that our life is ultimately, beautifully, up to us. Yes. You read that right…YOU. Not your family, not your friends, not your boss, not even your partner. Your life is up to YOU, my dear. It’s liberating, and terrifying, all at the same time. But, ultimately, it’s the most satisfying realization a people-pleasing perfectionist of a sensitive introvert can come to.
Permission to Focus on Yourself
Why am I bringing all of this up right now? Well, quite frankly, I’ve been focused externally for the last few blog posts. I gave you a guide for your extroverted bestie. A guide to dating an introvert for you to share with your partner. Even a guide for employers to better understand the superpower that is introversion! Then, I shared some thoughts and strategies about how to cope with visiting or living with an extroverted parent. What do all of these have in common? They are all relationships with others. We need community. Even as introverts, we thrive in community. It’s true! So much of what we love about life actually does concern other people, just not in the way extroverts feel it. All that said, and all of those guides given, we’ve not yet focused on the most important relationship: the one with ourselves.
Your Relationship With Yourself Comes First
Yes, I’m talking about self-love. Self-compassion. Self-esteem. The relationship with yourself is the single most important relationship you can have. And, as a sensitive, introverted woman, your relationship with yourself is the one you need to spend the most time cultivating to keep it healthy. Otherwise, those little thoughts and doubts will start to creep in when you least expect them. Introverts get hit especially hard by these sneaky self-doubts. So, we have to work to protect this relationship however we can.
How can sensitive, introverted women cultivate a healthy relationship with themselves?
This sounds like a complicated process. And, some of us are holding so much trauma, shame, and blame that it is truly heavy. However, the foundations of a healthy relationship with yourself are pretty simple. You need to give yourself the same attention, love, grace, and forgiveness you would give to the person you love the most. The person, or people, who you care about the most. Ideally, the person who you love and care about the most would be you. Is that completely wild to hear? I hope not. Because, my dear, we are not able to fully love, care for, and truly honor another person’s needs if our own needs aren’t met.
Please don’t get me wrong. I know many of us successfully pour from an empty cup all the time. We give more of ourselves than we actually have. Because this is both how we were taught by society and what is “necessary” for our lives. Mothers, daughters, spouses, partners, siblings, friends, coworkers, caregivers…whatever your roles are, you may have found yourself giving far more than you actually have out of necessity or obligation. I am not saying you aren’t doing this well! What I am saying is that if this is how you are operating constantly, you are pouring from an empty cup and ultimately neglecting your own needs. This is not only unsustainable but also not what your loved ones would actually want if they understood what the cost was to you.
A Radical Proposal for Radically Embracing Authenticity
Instead, I propose the idea that we are to become so full, so fulfilled, that our cup overflows with the love, care, and support that those around us need. Can you picture it? Can you imagine being so personally fulfilled that you are no longer giving of your personal resources to help build another person up, but you are simply overflowing with all you need to thrive and can help those around you with the surplus? If each of us genuinely took the time and space to do this, our world and needs would look very different. Instead, we function as martyrs or servants and this is simply not acceptable. And, this martyrdom is rewarded by the world! We’re called selfless, self-sacrificing, and serving (more on all of THAT later, don’t worry). But, then we are given conflicting and forceful messages about self-care (#selfcare) that shame us for not “taking the time for you.” What? This is madness. So, it’s no wonder we are all confused and misguided on how to actually find fulfillment and peace.
But HOW Enid? How do I prioritize my relationship with myself as a sensitive introvert?
My next post will go over some of my top tips, but I also want to hear from you! What DO you do to honor yourself? To give yourself the space needed to fill your cup? How do you take care of your needs so you can be more YOU for yourself, and others? Share with me in the comments below. Or, on our discovery call. We’re in this together.
In the meantime, I’d love for you to take a look around. Read a few other posts about honoring your introversion, the curse of the sensitive introvert, rejecting your introversion, and more throughout my blog for sensitive introverts! Is there something you want me to write about? Let me know!
Ready to Talk About the Radical Introvert Coaching Program?
As an experienced therapist and sensitive introvert, I am uniquely able to help support YOU, wherever you are. This coaching for introverted women program is different from other classes, therapy, and coaching you may have participated in before. We are going to be actively designing a life that is truly yours, amid the harsh reality of our fast-paced world. Whether you are in Florida, California, Texas, Washington, North Carolina, Oregon, Missouri, South Carolina, somewhere else in the United States, Canada, or even the United Kingdom and beyond…I want to help you THRIVE. To get started: