The greatest love story you will ever embark on is with yourself.
I know, so cliche. But true.
For introverts, learning to love ourselves can be tough. We grow up hearing that we need to change in order to be worthy of love. Like we have to earn love, even from ourselves.
What if being loved and loveable had nothing to do with how charming or witty you are? Or how many friends you have. Or how packed your social calendar is?
For many introverts, the idea that love is not earned is a radical concept. All along, we thought that if we could master the whole ‘act like an extrovert’ game, we’d be loveable.
In reality, you are at your most loveable when you are staying true to your authentic introverted self. Love thy introversion, love thyself.
But embracing our introversion and learning to love ourselves is not always easy. Often, introverts get stuck inside our head. We worry. We regret. We become brutally critical and ruthlessly unforgiving.
Others might think that we’re silently judging them when we get stuck inside our head. Instead, it is ourselves that we judge the most harshly.
We get so fixated on the should voice, that our authentic voice is drowned out. Luckily, there are simple ways to silence your inner critic and fall in love with you.
The fast track to self-love
Instead of getting critical, get curious. When you feel like you’ve done something wrong, your first instinct might be to scold yourself. I shouldn’t have done that. I’m so stupid!
Instead of getting down on yourself, get curious by asking “what”?
What is the lesson here?
What was my deeper motivation for doing that?
What could I do differently next time?
Then you can ask yourself the most powerful question of all:
What would someone who loves herself/himself do?
People who love themselves are compassionate and kind in their self-talk. They are always the good cop. They also have healthy ways of coping with stress and uncomfortable feelings that don’t involve self-flagellation. Which brings me to my next point.
Practice sacred self-care. You know that saying, “actions speak louder than words.” This is particularly true when it comes to loving yourself. When we do kind things for ourselves, we feel important and loved. We become the VIP of our own life, which is the way it was always meant to be.
Just like in a relationship with a partner, your love a affair with you doesn’t need to be grandiose. It’s the small, consistent gestures that have the biggest impact over time. Here are some ideas:
- Buy a little treat that you normally wouldn’t splurge on. It doesn’t have to be expensive: a scented candle, some specialty coffee, a pretty new nail polish.
- Light some candles and take a luxurious bubble bath.
- Take a break. And breathe.
- Surprise your future self by hiding $5 bills in coat sleeves and party purses.
For most introverts, our natural reaction to stress is to close off and turn inward. That’s not entirely a bad thing. But when you freeze everyone else out in the process, it’s not long before your self-critical troll brain goes haywire.
Accepting support can be as simple as being candid with a friend about what you’re feeling. Just saying things out loud, and feeling heard, can lessen the weight of our worries. We are buoyed up by the compassion of others.
Luckily for introverts, it only takes one or two true friendships to get us out of our head and into a place of greater self-love and compassion.
Good article, Michaela and 80 % works for me – but “Accept support” is more easily written than done. The worst situation is when you even can’t explain WHY you need any support and the second worse situation is, that people (like friends) which are able or willing to support you, are hard to find and very often they have simply no time to listen to your “stuff”. – In the past I tried to send friends an email or even to phone them when I urgent needed any support and what happend: They were not available and later when they answered me, my problems were already yesterday’s news… this is kind of funny…:) – So I did learn: Don’t wait for support, help yourself brother! – When I’m down and have no idea what to do, I crab my pencil and do some sketches. When my hands are busy my brain is tuned out and for me this is the best “support” in such critical situations… and by the way: Drawing or painting is a perfect thing for introverts! 🙂
Hi Matthias, I know what you mean. I find that the real challenge is to stay in consistent contact with friends so when you need them they will be there and vice versa. Drawing and painting is great for us innies – and I’ll add writing to that list, too!
I totally agree with you, not everyone has the ability to listen or to understand what you are facing.
This article was very helpful to me. thanks a lot
I’ve just found this site and am really getting a lot out of it. My daughter, I believe, is also an introvert going through a tough break-up, I’ve forwarded your site to her, I think it’ll be so helpful. I can get very depressed and truly appreciate your work here, it’s very enlightening for sure.
This work in whole, and what you’re sharing, will help people so much, make a difference and possibly save lives.
Thank you so much.
Thanks, it helps me a lot to gain more confidence and love myself more even though I’m an introvert. Yes, it’s such a hard thing to do for us as an introverts to love ourself more – it’s because we also hard to be appreciated by society, because we know most people in the whole society only favours extraversion. But, from this year on I’ll try to do it.☺️