INFJ Self-Care: Why You Put Yourself Last

INFJ self-care

INFJ self-care is a hot topic these days, and for good reason. If there’s one thing INFJs struggle with, it’s this: putting ourselves first – or even second, or third, for that matter. We care for others all the time, You won’t find a more supportive friend, and understanding partner than an INFJ.

The level of our care and concern for the wellbeing of those we cherish is otherworldly. Problems occur when we focus little on our own needs. Taking care of ourselves is not easy for the INFJ personality.

A daunting task

Imagine this scenario. You are invited to a social gathering (a party or conference). Your INFJ intuition is screaming that you shouldn’t go because you will get overwhelmed. The people there are extroverts who always call out introverts as “weird”. Saying no as a primary INFJ self-care tool sounds like a good choice. However, here’s what happens instead.

You accept the invitation because you feel guilty that you’ll offend someone if you don’t go. Your kind INFJ mind doesn’t want to argue. Instead, you go to a place, which will only cause you to feel drained. You’re also dreading hearing questions like: “Why are you so quiet?” or “Why are you standing near the exit?” I experienced this scenario more times than I can count.

Instead of spending a quiet night, tucked in your blanket fort, and watching Netflix, you attend a noisy, unpleasant gathering. And you feel terrible about it. Don’t blame yourself, it’s not your fault. INFJs want to make everyone around us feel good, but we forget that we, too, need to take care of our own needs.

The truth behind INFJ self-care

When focusing attention on ourselves, INFJs start feeling selfish and guilty. Uncontrollable thoughts that we are arrogant, not caring enough, and that we don’t deserve to have any friends start to appear. These feelings paint a false picture because the truth is that taking care of yourself is not selfish!

Love and honor yourself by dedicating time firstly to yourself. Don’t finish a bad book, don’t watch a movie because everyone say it’s good, but you think it’s bad. Travel alone, have a glass of wine alone, don’t go to that party because someone is pressuring you. Stay home and eat ice cream instead if that makes you happy. Or don’t get out of bed the entire morning if you want to nap.

INFJ self-care isn’t easy, but when you care for yourself you’ll have the necessary strength to help others. You cannot pour from an empty glass, it must be filled. There’s nothing wrong with making yourself a priority. In fact, people will respect you more. But most importantly, you will attain that much needed self-respect you so rightfully deserve.

Give the people you hold dear your unconditional attention, but think about yourself, too. Your biggest strength comes from the inside. When you refuel your INFJ mind and body you will be able to share that amazing light that shines from your gentle soul.

You deserve to nurture and watch over your wise mind and caring heart. Honor your INFJ personality by doing what will make you happy and fulfilled.

What are your thoughts on INFJ self-care? Do you look after yourself? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Love,

Marko

Hi, I’m Marko, the Introvert Spring INFJ forum coordinator. I’m a writer and certified professional coach, with a rich background in leadership and communications. Right now, my biggest passion is helping to grow the Introvert Spring INFJ forum, so INFJs have a place to feel seen, understood, and inspired.

 

25 Comments

  1. where were you 20+ years ago ??? …. no matter, glad you are here NOW :o)

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    • Thank you so much Ingrid for your lovely words! 🙂 I’m happy you like the article. 🙂

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  2. I have trouble with self-care. Something goes on in my mind about how if I just say yes and get through whatever stressful thing I said yes to, the universe will owe me one and I’ll be able to do the self-care option next time without guilt. Except I could have done it without guilt in the first place. Wish I’d realize that when making the decision at the outset.

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    • I understand you Scott. Self-care is a problematic section of the INFJ personality, because we care so much for others, but forget ourselves in the process. Don’t worry, it’s never too late, you have all the time you need. 🙂

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  3. I have important projects I need to be working on. The other day I realized I hadn’t done anything on an important project that is getting down to the wire, and I was so mad at myself. Then I decided to do a reverse To Do list and write down all the things I DID that day. I realized I had spent 3 hours helping a friend gather information, network, problem solve, write a long email on behalf of, etc. because of a crisis she was going through with her daughter. I spent over an hour touching base with and cheering up a few friends who have health issues. Plus a few other things that were ALL done for other people. It was an epiphany.

    For me, procrastination, doing stuff for others instead of myself, connecting with and giving my time to friends and social causes on FB, and also self-sabotage and self-doubt have reached crisis level.

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    • Hi Sirkka, don’t worry, you can turn the tide. Write down what needs to be done and focus on your priorities. Set a day or two for the beginning when you will be fully dedicated to what you need to do. Your friends will understand. You can also determine hours during the day when you will only do something that matters to you, even if it’s only couple of hours, then slowly increase the time. One step at a time, you got this.

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  4. I do now because of my exertion to help others and forgetting myself, I am plagued with fibromyalgia. I have to plan each activity very carefully so, I don’t wind up in bed for days.

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    • I can relate with you Canna when it comes to planning and the feeling when you help others but tend to forget yourself. I also tend to plan almost everything, but this is common INFJ trait so don’t let it concern you too much. 🙂

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  5. I’ve lived my life in putting myself last.
    From a true love & caring heart.
    I’m 72 & find it foreign to think about myself first. I do see the value & necessity of taking care of yourself NOW. I just recently found that I am an introvert & while it’s almost too late, it is comforting. Thank you for putting this valuable information out there!

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    • Hi Dot, it’s never too late, you still have time. 🙂 The time is always right to find that you are an introvert and an INFJ. 🙂 You are most welcome, thank you!

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  6. I want to thank you and Michaela for all that you do, write and say. I purchase a Kindle version of “The Irresistible Introvert” this morning from Amazon, shared it on Social Media and will write a review as soon as I finish it. Three years ago I was recruited for an executive volunteer position on a non profit Board of Directors and within six months, I was bullied to a point of a nervous breakdown. I obviously haven’ gotten over it. I’ve often been a target of bullies due to my sensitive nature. I worked for 15 years for County Government and there too I stepped out of a supervisory position because of manipulators, bullies and back stabbers. Yikes! I am now retired and have finally begun to honor myself. Your work has been a great support.

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    • Thank you so much Elaine for your kind words. 🙂 That’s wonderful that you bought Michaela’s amazing book! 🙂 I am absolutely certain that you will love it, and thank you for sharing it and for writing the review!I’m so sorry to hear you were bullied while you were volunteering… I can relate and understand you when it comes to the bullying part, all too well… It’s not easy.
      I am glad that you are taking care of yourself now, you earned that care. 🙂 Thank you so much again!

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  7. This is a wonderful post, Marko! You have a way with words that really moves me. I’ve read many of your articles but this is my first time commenting. I appreciate the deep value of INFJ self-care, because it is something I had to learn for myself over the years. For the longest time I didn’t understand myself or why I needed to be alone so much to stay sane. The more I researched introversion and the INFJ type specifically, the more my life started to make sense. I then owned my introversion and started appreciating and caring for myself more. I know I will always be a bit strange in the eyes of others, but that’s cool with me. I do what I gotta do to make sure I am happy! I no longer feel obligated to do activities that I know will drain me. I show my friends I care in other ways when I don’t feel like socializing, such as writing them a nice message or baking for them. 🙂

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    • Thank you so much Carla for your kind, lovely words, really! It is my honor and a pleasure to help my fellow INFJs in any way that I can. 🙂 I believe and understand you that it wasn’t easy, but I am glad that you are making such wonderful progress! Don’t worry, being strange today is a marvelous gift reserved for unique gems like yourself. 🙂 That’s great what you are doing for your friends, you are a true INFJ. 🙂

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  8. Thanks for the wonderful article and inspiration, Marko. I have to keep being reminded to care for myself! It’s ESPECIALLY hard because I’ve just returned to the US from living in Japan, and the politics here is just off the charts. HOW can I ignore what’s going on around me-everyone seems to be screaming-HELP, URGENT, TRAGIC, and all the other dramatic language they use on the Internet and in the news these days. It is driving me crazy, because I can only do so much, and then after figuring out my own life. I know I need to take better care of myself, but I’m always getting pulled into the URGENCY of it all. I even injured my shoulder last week because I was so stressed out. I need to figure out how to center myself and find some peace inside. Thanks for listening. You and Michaela are doing wonderful work. I so appreciate both of your efforts.

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    • You are most welcome Corinne! Thank you for your kind words. 🙂 I believe you, it’s not easy, especially because of the change you made. We INFJs care so much for others, and our empathy can go off the charts in times like this. I’m sorry to hear about you injuring your shoulder, hope the recovery is going well. Try perhaps some meditation or maybe star gazing, silent nature music, or nature walk, anything that will get your mind off the external and center you on the internal.
      Thank you Corinne for your lovely words, really. Michaela is the creator, heart, mind, and soul that stands behind Introvert Spring and everything you see here is the extension of her caring heart. 🙂

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  9. Leaving, now, to take a long hot shower. Busy week taking care of another. It’s something I don’t regret, though, future daughter in law. Made plans to watch a movie, this Friday, with a new friend that I think might be an INFJ ! I could have gone to my husband’s boss’ spouse funeral, instead. However, my INTJ husband said: Go! and have a blast! You deserve it! We usually have date nights, every other Friday. That is why I asked him first. I also stopped serving in an administrative capacity, 2 years, for a women’s group, in December. I also told someone today, that I will move in my own creative capacities, which I outlined for her, instead of a group commission she leads.

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    • I’m glad to hear that you are taking care of yourself, Pamela. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

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  10. Oh my…i know that so well.i went to a Christmas party from work to which i didn’t want to go basically. Turned out i left as early as it was possible because i had to get up early in the morning the following day.turned out that i only slept 3hours because i was soooo drained -.-

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    • I’m sorry to hear you had an overwhelming day Anabell after the Christmas party… I believe the next day was exhausting for you.

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  11. Great article, I needed a reminder like this. I’m an INFJ with PTSD, I get overwhelmed and fatigued so much because I’m always worried about other’s feelings and circumstances, so end up with emotional burnout. Thank you for this insight, it’s one if those things that I know but tend to forget.

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    • Thanks Bex! Glad you like the article. 🙂 I can fully understand you when it comes to emotional burnout, it’s something we INFJs face quite often. You are most welcome. 🙂

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  12. … “When focusing attention on ourselves, INFJs start feeling selfish and guilty. Uncontrollable thoughts that we are arrogant, not caring enough, and that we don’t deserve to have any friends start to appear.”

    That rings so true. I found out I was an INFJ about 16 years ago. In all that time, the only individual that I could remotely call a friend was a disabled employee in our workcenter. I was only happy when I was able to design and create functional devices that made his telework easier. He died last year. That was the first time in my life where actually experienced mourning. (In a way, I guess I still am.)
    .
    I’ve always done my best to avoid parties, supposed “team-building” events, group training involving discussion, and the dreaded “mandatory fun” events planned by our (pointy-headed) senior management.
    .
    I just have to get used to the idea that I’ll never ‘ever’ be happy again. It’s a lousy outlook, I know, you never get ‘used’ to it, you (I) just accept it.
    .
    Seeing how all of us (INFJ’s) have the same obstacles, I don’t feel so ‘alone’ anymore. But there are SO FEW OF US. I just wish there was some kind of support network. As I think about that last sentence, I need to remind myself that most of us have at least *ONE* person in our life we can relate to, vent to, (really) communicate with (perhaps even on an almost spiritual level). Right now, I’m even feeling bothered for dumping all this on everyone in here. Maybe I just need venting. I’m sorry if I’ve rained on someone’s parade. I’m clicking the ‘send’ button so that for at least one time in the last 16 years I can say how I feel to people who REALLY understand.
    .
    (I will completely understand if this post never sees the light of day — I know at least the forum editors will read it) forum ed

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    • I’m an INFJ too Pat I completely understand I tend to struggle with negative thinking myself but we have to try hang on to hope and stay positive and realize that it’s ok to put ourselves first. Hang in there! Don’t feel bothered for dumping I understand.

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  13. Hey Marko, Good article. I think many INFJs think that caring for themselves is selfish, however I think that caring for oneself is a gift to others because it helps build necessary resources to allow the generous INFJs to give more when they have more and I as an INTJ would in fact condone if not gently nudge INFJs to take time for themselves to self care and do what’s best in their interests so they can feel rejuvenated more often. I have the same habit of caring for people in practical ways and it can get exhausting, solving problems for others and or just doing things all the time. INFJs have nothing to feel guilty about, if you do I’d defend your right to self indulge in you. Go agead get that massage, go read a book or two, take that long walk, go enjoy so you time, you earn it everyday with your selfless acts of kindness, I do notice you and appreciate you, all of you, so take a break, there will be plenty to do when you get back. 🙂

    Reply

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