“Love yourself first.”
women are stumped when they receive this kind of advice. It sounds like alien which they’ve never heard about. They weren’t even aware that they’re suppose to love themselves, much less know the specific ways to go about it. And so they would return with a question: How do I do that?
I understand how vague this advice can be, especially when someone has lost her identity by revolving her world around her relationships and responsibilities. Nurturing others is a noble endeavour, however, when we forget ourselves to the point of burning out and depression we short changed ourselves and our loved ones.
For this post I will be focusing on introverts as it came easier to me since I’m also an introvert. Another thing is that it’s a bit challenging or draining for introverts to live in an extroverted world. Below are some of the ways of how an introvert can love herself/himself. You don’t need to do everything at once. Choose the ones that are presently doable and applicable in your situation and personality.
Meet with a few close friends
With friends, most introverts prefer quality over quantity. A meaningful conversation with a close friend or trusted acquaintance can invigorate their souls. If you’re a sensing introvert who likes to share your happenings and delights in your life, sharing them with a trusted someone can feel refreshing.
If you’re a listening or intuitive introvert, stepping into someone’s world can be a fun or a learning adventure for you.
When faced with a distressing situation, allowing yourself to talk with someone can help you put things in perspective. Also, having a confidante who accepts you and emphatizes with you can help lighten your emotional burden.
Write in a diary
Most introverts are attracted in a diary. However, when duties and responsibilities barge in, journaling takes a backseat.
You don’t need to write a long entry everyday. Just write whenever the needs arise. When blessings come your way, write it. Expressing your gratefulness through writing is like savoring the good things that happen to you, making your heart swell even more.
When you’re stressed, hurt, or angry — write them. Writing can make you feel heard by yourself. It allows you to understand your situation and feelings better. It provides you with an avenue where you can pour out the negative thoughts and emotions from your body.
Have a solitary time
There are different reasons of being alone. One is to have solitary entertainment. You can watch your favorite show on Netflix or curl up on the bed with your novel. Spending an alone time can help you escape the world for a while and be immersed in the lives of different characters and their stories. Who knows, they may ignite an inspiration on you or spark some self-reflection.
Another reason of having an alone time is to embrace solitude. You can spend time with the Creator through prayer and spiritual exercises (Read: 4 ways to pray without talking), or reflect about your life and where it is going, or think about humanity/society and what you can contribute to it as an individual.
Engage with your introverted passion
Allow your introverted energy to flow. Some introverts have a passion for sports, volunteering, arts, travel, writing, among others. You have character ideas or opinions in your head? Let them materialize. You want to create shapes, colors, and line? Then you can draw or paint and delight in your creations or simply express your emotions.
You want to capture the sunset or the smile of your child? Then take a photo of it and make a collection of beautiful photos you took. You want to contribute to society through humanitarian activities, find an organization near you where you can volunteer.
Engage with your passion regularly, as this energy comes naturally to you. Suppressing it may possibly cause some unpleasant feelings such as loneliness, restlessness, and discontentment.
Build boundaries and carve personal time
All of the things I’ve mentioned above require personal time. As they say time is the best measure of love as it is something you can’t get back. This is also true when loving ourselves. While giving our time to our loved ones, we also need to learn to give time to ourselves. If you have kids, read this post to give you a suggestion on how to explain me-time to your kids.
If you have other people in your life who demands a lot of your time, and it’s hard for you say “no”, then create some excuses and alibis or even white lies. Because you’ll never know that some people might abuse your generosity. That is why you need to build boundaries between yourself and other people so you can have time and space to love yourself.