Reflection #8: Happy New Year!

It has been 1 year since I created this blog, my first blog. I have to admit – I never dreamed that I would receive the amount of positive feedback and followers that I have. Thank you, so much. To each and every one of you who liked, commented, followed and support me throughout this past year of 2016!

INFJash doesn’t mean as much without you all. My desire is to continue to explore my creative side, express it to you and reach even more people around the world. Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions with me – what do you like about INFJash? What could improve INFJash?

Today I want to share something personal with you. I want to share 5 special experiences that made 2016 great, and 5 goals for 2017 to guide me in discovering my purpose.

Five Special Experiences of 2016:

  1. I created INFJash and you helped me feel inspired and proud of myself.
  2. I celebrated my 5 year anniversary with my life-partner.
  3. I returned to university to obtain my Family Social Sciences Degree.
  4. I made the commitment to discovering my purpose; to find what brings me happiness and fulfillment.
  5. I found Introvert Spring, home of the INFJ Forum which allowed me to feel understood, appreciated and make meaningful connections with multiple INFJs (learn more here).

Five Goals for 2017:

  1. Create at least 1 blog post per month.
  2. Try three new things (snowboarding, rock climbing, a blog challenge)
  3. Travel somewhere, anywhere.
  4. Find an apartment with my life-partner and make it our happy home.
  5. Complete my Family Social Sciences Degree before 2018.

I look forward to being present and enjoying this year. I also look forward to reading your thoughts and opinions on my future blog posts. I love hearing from you! Comment with your own ideas, advice or goals for the new year.

With love, friends – shine on. ♥

Reflection #7: Worry

Webster’s Dictionary has defined worrying as, “to touch or disturb something repeatedly”, “to feel or experience concern or anxiety” or even, “to move, proceed, or progress by unceasing or difficult effort”. Really, worrying means to struggle. I believe our tendency to worry is based on our personalities and life experiences.

My experience has been that I worry a lot.. and then I worry some more. I worry about many things, and it really does feel like a struggle at times. Certain worries give me the drive to do better; what should I do with my life? Is there a career that I will enjoy? Will I pass this course?

Other worries cause intense anxiety and even panic attacks. Do my loved ones care about me? Do they miss my absence? How can I endure this struggle to be perfect? Why do I punish myself for making mistakes? Why are there such evil people in the world? How can I help all those that suffer? What if my loved ones die? How can I be happy without them? Why do I feel so much? Why do I feel the need to prepare for social interactions? What’s wrong with me?

By the time I turned 20, I realized that worrying was having a pretty negative impact on my life. So I worried some more. Over the past few years I have struggled between trying to live in the present moment and worrying. I am now 25; I have learnt a lot and I respect that worry can have a positive place in my life. One where it gives me enough anxiety to get through my challenges as well as my goals.

However, I recognize that I deserve to live an enjoyable life. One where I am able to limit my worries and live in the present moment as often as possible. I remind myself not to worry about the situations I have no control over. I try to make time for the things and people that I love, to limit my future regrets. I offer comfort and advice, but I remind myself that they are ultimately responsible for making the change.

The sad reality that Tom Petty has helped me realize came through in these lyrics:

“I’m so tired of being tired; sure as night will follow day.
Most things I worry about.. never happen anyway.”

I know that in the future I will again be debilitated by my worries, but I strive to limit these occurrences. I will give myself permission to feel, and then use the skills I’ve learnt to overcome my worrying mind.

My friends, I invite you to forgive yourself for your flaws. You are human and your feelings are real, but you do have the strength to overcome your struggles. You deserve to be happy, and live for the moment.

How has worrying affected your life? What coping skills have worked for you? Please share your experiences.

With love, friends.♥

Reflection #6: Guilt

Guilt is such an interesting feeling. It can really change the way you look at and feel about life. Sometimes it can even affect the decisions you make. For me, guilt is something that creeps into my life daily. I am a dedicated person, I put my heart and soul into everything I do. Yet I let guilt control my life.

Right now I am in my third year of University and it’s been overwhelming to say the least. I try to accomplish coursework all day so that I have time to relax and have fun. But it never comes, the work never ends. It can get so overwhelming, the sheer volume of work to accomplish, that I find myself sitting on the floor. I stare into space and zone out. Sometimes I can’t move for 20 minutes. I feel immobilized. Eventually I force myself up and get back to work. It’s been a struggle.

I find myself longing to do simple things. I want to go visit my friends and family, read a book, write in my blog or even go for a walk. I have to ask myself: why is it like this? Why am I so hard on myself? Why do I pretend to have it all together and power through the day, just to do it all again tomorrow? It shouldn’t be so consuming. I enjoy what I am learning. When I graduate with my degree, no one will look at my grades. Why am I trying so hard?

It’s me. It’s who I am. I give it all and I never give up. I pretend I’m not weak. I don’t ask for help. I am a tyrant to my being, and no one knows it but me.

loveIt needs to stop. I know that my mind, body and soul are precious – but my actions don’t show it. I know I need to protect, encourage and love them. Why don’t I? I don’t have the answer, but I want to find a solution.

If you’re like me and sacrifice your wellness, telling yourself that it’s for the best or that you’ll take a break when you’re done… admit it. You never let yourself be done. At least not for long, then you throw yourself right back into the chaos.

This pattern feels impenetrable, but I don’t want to live this way. I want to enjoy every day. I want to embrace self-care. I don’t want to feel guilty anymore for craving it. I want to feel whole and satisfied. Not an empty shell that will crumble at the first setback. We can have this. We can be this. We deserve it. If we are just brave enough to let ourselves.

Try this with me? We don’t have to struggle. We don’t have to go it alone. No matter what your demons are, you deserve to be happy. Share your struggles, share your triumphs. We are in this together.

With love, friends.♥

Reflection #5: INFJ Purpose Blueprint

Today is the first day of the rest of my life. For real. Today my journey begins on rediscovering my INFJ soulprint, to finding my purpose! How is this possible you may ask? I’ll tell you.

It all began on a cold winters morn’ in January of 2016. I stumbled upon IntrovertSpring. An amazing website created by Michaela Chung to inspire and touch the lives of all the introverts in all the lands. Sounds like a fairytale, doesn’t it? Well just you wait! It gets better. Funny, that sounds like something I heard when I was 13..

Within this website there was a forum. Not just any forum! No, a special forum.. for special people. People who only make up less than 1% of the population. INFJs.

Now, these people must be pretty special if they were able to score their own forum on IntrovertSpring! The truth is they are. Each and every one of them has been blessed with a special gift by the great and powerful Universe! They have superpowers too. Okay, we’re getting off track.

I found this special forum in January and as soon as I joined it, I felt like I had found my home. For the first time in my life, I didn’t have to pretend to be something I wasn’t, or hide pieces of myself. There was a community that I could be a part of. I fit in.

My heart has so much to say about this experience. It is hard to stay focussed on just one amazing aspect. Purpose. Me. Identity. Soulprint. The INFJ Purpose Blueprint was created! My ticket to the creative, exciting (yet peaceful) and fulfilling future I have always dreamed of!

My insecurities try to hold me back; but I will open my soul if it means I will wake up every morning, excited to live my life.

Do you ever have a desire to discover what makes you feel alive? Do you know what your purpose is? I hope I will soon.

With love, friends – shine on. ♥

Reflection #4: Time Flies

People say it all the time. Don’t let time pass you by, seize the day. We hear it from our grandparents, watch it in the movies and listen to it in songs – and do we listen?

This past year I have been trying to do a better job of living in the moment and being more aware of how I spend my time. I have so many ideas, dreams and goals to accomplish.. yet I still find myself squandering the time.

When I have spare time, I “waste” it by watching Netflix and playing on my cellphone. Sure, I get some things accomplished but then laziness kicks in. If I’m being truly honest, I’m doing okay and I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. Tell that to my internal INFJ voice, it’s the cause of my guilt and frustration over lost time.

Speaking of lost time, when I am busy it seems to just fly on by. As I check my calendar it’s suddenly a month later. I fall behind on my passions as life demands my attention. Then I feel remorse, I should be able to have time for both: work and pleasure.

I feel embarrassed. After my last reflection on physical health, I had hoped the next time I posted I would have had something of significance to share with you. I considered just ignoring my setback, but as my dear friend Elizabeth would say, “that’s life”. Why feel bad? I am not a bad person because my priorities changed for a few months. I can be myself, my goals are still the same. I still struggle and fight with my lack of motivation – and despite having nothing concrete to show for a new workout schedule, I have made some major progress in other areas.

My Life Since April:

April was a time consuming month, physically and mentally. With the help of my wonderful mother, we cleaned out the bedroom of my Amma who passed away in 2010 and the rest of my Afi’s house. My loving partner helped me wash, prime and paint the walls. I spent numerous evenings packing and moving my belongings two hours north, back to the the country where I grew up. A tenant took over my apartment and I was officially moved into my Afi’s by May!

Two days later, I jumped right into my online university courses. Having not been in school for a year I was quickly realizing how out of touch I was with my scholarly self. The coursework soon consumed my day-to-day life, leaving little time for fun or exercise. In my spare time, I travel the four hour round trip to and from my casual jobs in Winnipeg and Portage La Prairie. Travelling in the country between my parents, partner’s and Afi’s house to spend time with them while studying.

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It’s now June and I am beginning to gain a little more control in my life. A routine is coming together and I made space for a breather. In bed, with sporadic cellular service and no internet, writing this post which I will not get to upload until Friday. But.. it’s a beautiful breather in the country. The chilled, sweet smelling spring air floating in the window as the evening birds chirp bed time stories to their chicks. Frogs croaking in the distance with me feeling completely at ease in the countryside. I’m home again, for how long? Who knows. Tomorrow is a new day, and again I will strive to live in the moment for as long as possible, before I get swept up in the tornado that is life.

Live in the moment & make it beautiful;
Sweet dreams, friends. ♥

Reflection #3: Physical Health

Despite my love for junk food, I have always had an interest in leading a healthy life. Mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Over the past few weeks I have really been trying to get in touch with what that means to me. I decided (despite my anxiety) I would like to begin sharing those thoughts and experiences with you. I will begin with a summary of my physical life experience.

As early as I can remember I loved being active: running around the farm with my brothers and our imaginary games, participating in intramurals throughout elementary and middle school, after school basketball, curling, soccer and volleyball teams. I think I was even in jazz for a year or two. Apart from that, I was outside every chance I got.

After graduation came a year of university, three years in the workforce, two years of college. Never being exposed to “working out” in a gym, a few months into college I had a startling revelation. I had barely done any physical activity in the last four years! This honestly shocked me, how does this happen after a childhood so immersed in physical activity?

It made me feel sad and stupid. How could I let such an important part of my life disappear? Why didn’t I fight harder to make time for it? I suppose my priorities changed – as they do with many teenagers. This felt like a lame excuse to me.

Good news was, I could exercise whenever I wanted. I had to laugh at myself though. Twenty-two years old and I had never been to a gym with treadmills, weight benches and whatever all of those other crazy contraptions were. I had experienced all of my physical activities outside.

During my second semester of college I decided that I would take a yoga class once per week, in addition to my full time studies. I had always wanted to try it, a classmate accompanied me and.. It was great. I loved the quietness and focus it took. It was incredibly difficult, my legs and arms trembled and spasmed as I attempted to hold the poses. My face went red as I glanced around the room, worried someone would notice my inexperience and call me out. They never did.

That’s the beauty of yoga, you start where you’re at and progress as your body adapts. There is no right or wrong, just the persistence to not give up. Also, the added bonus of everyone focusing on themselves – not you! My competitive nature helped me catch on quickly and after a few classes my body welcomed the challenge. I think it missed exercise too. My favourite part of yoga was how awake and energetic my mind felt after each class. The 8 week program was soon over and I immersed myself in my studies, quickly forgetting about exercise.

Near the end of my third semester a couple friends invited me to come to the gym with them, a place foreign to me with mystical machines strategically placed in a huge room. It took a little getting used to, but it was a lot of fun with my friends and I felt great after every workout!

Unfortunately, school ended and I again found myself not exercising. I realized my physical activity was tied to interactions with friends. I bought a 3 month gym membership (hoping the financial burden would motivate me to use it daily). I did a pretty good job of sticking to my routine, and felt great after every workout! However, when my membership expired I couldn’t justify renewing it to spend a small fortune on exercises I could probably just do at home.

Long story short, I truly miss exercise when I abstain from it, and I ALWAYS feel great after a workout. So why the difficulty staying committed? Why is finding motivation such a struggle for me? Why do I let the day-to-day take over, instead of setting aside time for such a significant gift to my well-being? My INFJ self-improvement voice be thinking, “I will speak daggers to her”.

Expect some goals (and progress!) from me in the near future, the “voice” demands it.

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Do you lack motivation? Have you had a similar struggle? How is your physical health? Feel free to share your stories and make some goals with me! If you need help with that, check out my recent post: INFJ: Self-Improvement.

Be beautiful, be you. Shine on, friends. ♥

Reflection #2: The Struggle Within

There is an old Cherokee teaching I discovered when I was younger. Every so often I am reminded of it and find myself inspired by the value of the story. I want to share it with you.

Two Wolves

wolvestwo

An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.

“One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego. The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”

“This same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old chief simply replied, “The one you feed.”


This fight happens for everyone, for some the evil wolf may be winning, for others the good. It can be a daily struggle, it can feel hopeless, some stop trying, some blame others for their actions. “They made me this way”, “You wouldn’t understand”, “If only I had..” you fill in the blanks. We’ve heard it all before. We may have even said it ourselves.

It’s true, life is hard. What we are forgetting is that it’s hard for everyone. We excuse ourselves and demand more from strangers. How dare they mess up my order? Cut me off? Make me wait? Look at me like that? Drive so slow? Make me feel inferior? Let their kids scream so much? Wear those clothes? Talk like that? The list goes on.

The great thing about waking up each morning is that it’s a new day. You can’t change your past but you can decide today to feed the good wolf. You get to choose how you react to the obstacles you face. You can realize that strangers are people too, and that each day they struggle with the fight going on inside of them.

Choose kindness. Choose patience. Choose understanding. You may be surprised by how it makes you feel.

Rise and shine, friends.♥

Reflection #1: INFJ

Throughout my adolescence I always felt different. I never felt like I belonged. I was walking through my life uninterested in the social climb, the fashion, the parties. Sure I wanted to belong. I didn’t want to be the loner who got ridiculed for her appearance and wardrobe. I just wasn’t interested in the same things as my peers.

There were clues – not that I knew at the time what they meant. I remembered hearing the predictable “teachers pet”, “nerd”, “emo”. Of course I internalized the bullying, but I didn’t agree with what they said. I didn’t even belong to the labels they put me in. Maybe I was a “freak”. I mean, who doesn’t even fit their labels as a kid?

It hurt, I didn’t want to be an outsider – but what could I do? That’s what I was.. but why did I feel it so much? Why did all the harsh words they threw at me hit me so hard and drown me in emotions? That was what I didn’t get. Looking back I wondered.. despite all that, why didn’t I just play the part? Why didn’t I just do what I had to do to fit in?

The truth is.. despite how much it hurt, it wasn’t who I was – and I always stayed true to who I was, even if I wasn’t sure what that meant.

Years later, I found myself at the end of my Child and Youth Care Diploma. Our teacher asked us to take a test, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which is based on the typological theory by Carl Jung. My result: INFJ. So what? Some answers put me into a group of letters, big deal. I didn’t give it another thought.

Sometime later, I retook the test (having forgotten my results). There it was again, INFJ. Okay, so what does this mean? I started googling it. Sifting through pages and pages of explanations – and the more I read, the more excited I became. This is who I was! INFJ! How could something so simple describe me so perfect? In such detail? With so many accurate examples? How could it be possible that I belonged somewhere after all? Somewhere that I fit perfectly. Somewhere I could be me, and know what that meant. I exhaled in wonder, this is what I was meant to discover.
Confusion

Now I know who I am. Have you ever felt this way? Do you know your MBTI type? Click here to find out: 16 personalities or Human Metrics. When you get your results post them here and let me know what you think!

With love, friends – shine on. ♥

 

New Beginnings

flower in concrete

Being me, I want what I create to be beautiful and perfect. I want to be great at something as soon as I start. I want it to come naturally and not have to work at it. I also want to be honest and real. I want to reveal things for what they are and shed new light. I want to be inspirational and for people to find meaning in my words.

I waited for inspiration to hit. Then it did. I waited for the perfect words to come to me. Then they did. I started writing and then.. nothing. It was gone as fast as it came. I got frustrated, I shut my laptop and slid it across the floor. I moved on. Days passed, I glanced at my laptop and felt frustration. I failed before I barely even began. Who was I to think I could do this? I’m no writer. I have no experience. People work their whole lives at this and I just thought I could pick it up and glide on through. So I stopped.

Then I came back. I realized that I can do whatever I want. I can create something beautiful. Even if it’s not perfect to me, maybe it will be perfect to someone else. So I will start at the beginning. I created an area on my blog to put my thoughts and feelings into words. Someplace they didn’t have to be perfect, or exceed my expectations; my reflections.

It won’t be perfect, but it will help me grow into myself and be a place to practice for the meaningful and inspirational posts that I will one day create.

It will be real, it will be raw, it will be me.