“I love me, I love me not. I love me, I love me not.” Introverts, does this sound like the voice in your head as it nears Valentine’s Day—or maybe every day?
Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate the people you love or appreciate in your life. But how much do you appreciate your own talents, strengths and unique experiences that make up who you are?
When you’re an Introverted personality type, sometimes loving or appreciating yourself can be challenging because you get stuck living in your own inner world of dreaming and second-guessing. Often your inner critic is the dominant voice, which causes self-doubt. The self-doubt can intensify because you’re prone to seeking approval from the outside world instead of trusting your own gut, even though most of the time your gut is right on target.
How can focusing on self-love help Introverts find happiness?
Importance of Self-Love for Introverts
As an INFJ, being able to say the words, “I love you” was always a challenge. The fear that someone would not return the love I felt for them was often too painful. I wanted to express how I felt for the other person, but I always reverted to my strength of writing and gave out letters instead.
What I learned over the years is that the fear wasn’t really about the other person’s reaction. It was more about me not accepting or appreciating my own unique gifts, and so feeling like I was unworthy of being loved. Can you relate?
What is Self-Love Anyway?
When I hear someone say “you should love yourself more”, I immediately start singing and dancing to Meghan Trainor’s song, “I Love Me”. If you haven’t heard the song, it’s about appreciating who you are and loving your uniqueness no matter what people are saying around you. Some of my favorite lines are:
“I can see it clearer when I'm lookin' in the mirror
Saying God made me just right…
I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast
I love all y'all, but I love me the most
Go and raise your glass, give yourself a toast
I love all y'all, but I love me the most.”
Like in the lyrics, self-love for Introverts is about looking in the mirror and accepting that you were made right and have gifts to share with the world. It’s about appreciating every part of who you are physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. There isn’t another one of you in this world. You are the only person who has the combination of your unique experiences, gifts, and talents. From one introvert to another, you deserve a toast!
Self-Love Boosting Activities for Introverts
On this Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be fun to explore some self-love activities through the lens of four common strengths of introverts.
Write yourself a poem or a love letter answering one of these three questions:
- “Why do I love myself today?”
- “What are the reasons my best friend loves me?”
- “What are 3-5 of your favorite strengths or qualities about yourself that you love?”
Paint a picture that represents what love means to you or what you would like love to look like in the future.
Create a playlist with all your favorite songs that give you energy and make you feel more confident and loving.
Give yourself permission to try something new that you’ve always wanted to do with no expectation for the results. After you finish, celebrate that you took one step forward towards something new.
Pamper yourself by getting a massage or a mani/pedi at your favorite spa. Maybe even upgrade to the next service level to make you feel a little more special.
Express gratitude for who you are by taking some time alone to journal or maybe even do a vlog on your phone. Create a list of reasons why being an Introvert has served you well over the years.
Create a list of cup filling activities. What makes your heart sing? Maybe it’s trying a new meditation playlist, taking a long bubble bath with jazz music, or going to your favorite park or public garden. Whatever it is, do one of those things on Valentine’s Day to take care of you!
Indulge in listening to an audio book to learn a new skill, explore your favorite hobby, or try a new genre of books.
Call another introverted friend to go out and have them listen to you. Set the timer on your phone for 30 minutes and give each other the gift of time.
Take a mind vacation by reading a magazine or book you’ve always wanted to read that will allow you to sink into your couch with a warm blanket, your favorite beverage, and allow the words to take you somewhere else
Take a day off from your inner critic. Introverts are really good at thinking to the point of overthinking. An executive coach friend of mine once recommended the following steps to quiet your inner critic:
- Step 1: Acknowledge your inner critic’s voice.
- Step 2: Say “thank you for your feedback inner critic, but I’m choosing to select a different thought/voice today.”
- Step 3: Take a few minutes to connect to yourself and find a more positive thought.
To my surprise, the process works!
Explore who you are and who you want to be. A necessary step in practicing self-love is understanding what you bring into this world in order to appreciate you. When I was in college, I struggled with being highly emotional and shy. A special mentor of mine had me create a list of people in my life and how I positively impact them because of who I am. It works!
The Challenge: Self-Judgment over Self-Love
In case all of this self-love talk isn’t feeling right to you because it feels like you’re boasting or being egotistical, I’m here to say you’re not. Due to the strong inner critics that most Introverts possess, boasting about your skills or accomplishments is most likely not going to happen. There’s a big difference between boasting and celebrating your achievements. Trust yourself—you instinctively know where to draw the line.
The other challenge for Introverts is that you tend to put other needs before your own. This may be the needs of other people, your boss, or even a major project that’s demanding all your focus. Whatever it is, putting yourself last inevitably leads to burn out and a loss of self.
I encourage you this Valentine’s Day, even if you are married or in a relationship, to take a little “me time” to appreciate that you were made right and should be celebrated. Self-love is acknowledging that who you are matters, and you deserve to be your own first option every now and again.