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. ♥

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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.♥

A Friendly Reminder

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A friendly reminder, to myself and my followers, that although life has felt overwhelming and busy I will continue to put myself first and accomplish my goals as I can. Though we may not have the abundance of time to dedicate to important aspects of our lives, they still mean a great deal to us.

Though we may feel sadness from the inability to put as much time and care into what we want, we still live and breathe and have the ability to change what is within our control. What is not within our control, we must exhale and let go of.

Be at peace with your soul. You are unique, there is no one else like you and that is your strength. Love yourself first and the rest will fall into place.

With love, friends – just breathe. ♥

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 #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. ♥

INFJ: Self-Improvement

Do you ever get those days where you find yourself staring into space wondering, what am I doing with my life? You think about your current situation; how you got there and where you want to be. You sift through some alternate realities where you are happier: perhaps travelling, enjoying a new hobby or making time for yourself. Or you want to be healthier: exercising, eating healthy foods that taste great or spending more time looking inward (trying to become more at peace with yourself and mindful of the present moment).

If you are an INFJ, you know what I’m talking about. In some shape or form you find yourself living a life of assessing and reassessing. Reaching for more or better, trying to be the best you can be! Never escaping that nagging feeling that you just need to improve yourself a little bit more.

Don’t get me wrong – it can be great! In fact, it’s made you who you are today. You may have even tamed your nagging voice to work to your advantage: motivating you to live the life you’ve always dreamed! You may accomplish goals and feel satisfied with a job well done, as you rightfully should.

BUT for some it can be a nuisance. The nagging voice can say “you’re not good enough” or “you need to achieve more”. It can become an insatiable void that never gets filled. Some may start to live their lives trying to ignore or silence the voice that brings them down.

Don’t give up, there is hope!

As an INFJ and HSP (highly sensitive person) I can be intense, a perfectionist, have high standards for myself and others. I am also often looking to grow, evolve and improve myself. At times, the amount of improvements I want to make can get overwhelming and cause the opposite effect – avoiding it altogether.

To aid in following through and quieting the nagging voice I chose 5 ways to take control of your self-improvement:

1. Start a list

My go-to for most decisions. It helps me “get out of my head” and lay out my options on paper to feel in control. Try beginning with areas you want to improve and why (reasons help motivate change). Or make a pros and cons list to help you decide where to start.

2. Create S.M.A.R.T. goals

I learnt this little lovely during my child and youth care program. S – specific, M -measurable, A – attainable, R – realistic, T – time lined. It is important to use SMART goals to help you create achievable ones. Setting yourself up for failure is a sure fire way to avoid self-improvement. Break a big goal into mini goals to measure the progress you are making – and don’t forget to make a specific time line of what you want to complete (by when) to help you measure your progress and stay on track!

3. Rewards, rewards, REWARDS!

Dearest INFJ’s, you spend so much time working hard, helping others and improving yourselves that you forget to reward yourself. It is important to take a step back from our busy lives to replenish our energies and find some time for fun. So come up with a list (see step 1) of rewards that will motivate you. These don’t have to be expensive, in fact I encourage self-care rewards, whatever that might mean to you! This can be playing with pets, candlelit bubble baths, spending time in nature, taking time for yourself, etc. In fact, one of your goals may be taking more time for self-care! This is very much needed to aid us in living a healthy and happy life.

4. Make mistakes

Accept this, it will happen – we’re not perfect and that is okay! Laugh it off, give yourself permission to mess up. Don’t let it bring you down or stop you from trying. Acknowledge that in order to become the best version of yourself, there are going to be set backs, mistakes and moments where you feel like giving up. That’s okay, that’s life, do it anyway.

5. Have fun!

This is your life, you are the one that is living it! Ensure that you choose goals that interest you, the ones that will help you be the happiest and most fulfilled version of yourself. Smile and thank yourself for taking this time to be open to the opportunity for self-improvement that is meaningful to you, or for just being open to new ideas.

Feel like sharing?

I would love to hear about your journey with self-improvement! Be it your achievements, setbacks or works in progress. They all make up who we are. What helps you? What hinders you?

Share your stories friends.
With love, shine on. ♥