Here’s a little book I made using the free digital pansy paper I posted last week. I printed it on my home printer. I used a purchased chipboard book and rings for the base and a few decorative items I had on hand.
Very few flowers can be planted this time of year, but soon pansies will be in bloom. Here are some pansy-themed digital papers I designed using public domain vintage images and Photoshop. You are free to use these however you’d like! I’d love to see some of your creations, so tag me on instagram or FB or comment below with a link to your creation!
Just right-click on the image to download 🙂
Being an empath I’ve read a few empath books over the years. This book is by FAR the best book on the empath trait that I have ever read, and I highly recommend it.
First off, it’s not written by psychologist who studies empaths. It’s written by an actual empath. And second, it offers the most practical advice I have ever heard.
Many books or coaches I’ve encountered have recommended putting an energetic “bubble” around yourself that only let’s positive energies in. Or they’ve advised visualizing a protective shield to bounce negative emotions off of. None of which EVER worked for me.
You can’t shut off life, nor the flow of energy. You can’t pretend you didn’t notice that subtle shift in your partner’s energy toward annoyance. You can’t ignore that the stranger across the table from you at a party is uncomfortable. You notice stuff that other people don’t notice and you can’t just “bubble” or “shield” your way out of it.
In this book, the author postulates that “Radical Self-Care” is the key to remaining emotionally healthy as an empath. So I put her claims to the test. I started paying more attention to what I needed in any given moment and taking better care of my body by doing yoga and deep relaxation. I strted noticing that I needed to alternate my activities to feel good. If I’m sitting too long, I needed to do something active and vice versa. I started asking myself “What do I need right now?” And you know what? For me, that was the key.
I can feel a huge difference in my ability to cope, have clarity, feel strong, and be centered even in the midst of overwhelming influences when I take care of myself first and in the ways I need to. It’s definitely a mind shift from constantly being attuned to the needs and energies of others to honing in on the needs and energies within yourself. But the effort is well worth it.
The author gives exercises for applying the ideas she teaches in the book. She also discusses addictions, which many empaths use to numb the pain and overwhelm associated with being hyper-aware . I call these addictions the “drug of choice”. They don’t necessarily have to be vices. An addiction is anything that you use to regularly distract yourself from being present in your own body.
Although I had been aware of many of my own drugs of choice, I assumed they were merely a coping strategy for too much stress, which is true. But it was deeper than that. Reading this book helped me understand how my coping mechanisms connected to my empathic nature. Actually, this book helped me connect a lot of dots that I had already discovered but hadn’t really brought together. And it was a huge validation to read the words of a complete stranger as she described so many of my feelings and tendencies perfectly.
If you’re an empath, or think you might be, highly recommend this book!
I’ve been quiet for awhile. I do that every now and then. I share and then I go silent. I have to fill the well. I have to experience solitude and quiet, not just on a daily basis, but on a regular hiatus. I find that I cycle through a great output of creativity followed by a season of retreat. The length of quiet varies, but it always comes. I let my intuition guide me, so it’s been a couple of months now since I last blogged.
I’m going through some major changes in my life. I’m in my 22nd year of homeschooling and we’re transitioning my son into school. I’ve cried a lot lately. He’s my baby. He’s the last one. Even if you haven’t homeschooled (having your kids near you 24/7 for years), when the last child gets to a certain point there’s a loss as a mom. With the role of motherhood shifting, I have found myself weepy and feeling lost. What’s next? What do I want to do with my life? Where do I want to focus? Grow? Who am I? These are not always easy questions to answer. And I’ve actually been searching them out for quite a long time.
I’ve really struggled over the years to define a path for myself. Mainly because I just cannot peg myself into a single hole. I just can’t do it. It’s like a death sentence to choose just one path and commit to it long term. It feels like creative suicide. Stifling. *gripping chest*. (If you think that sounds dramatic you’re not an Empath or Multipotentialite).
And yet I’ve been “should-ing” all over myself for a really long time because that’s how it’s done, right? You pick a path and you build it and you stick to it. I’ve tried that. Many times. But every time I narrow my focus or message and revamp my website, I end up finding a new focus before I even hit the “Publish” button and have to change everything. Seriously, this has been so frustrating for me, but only because instead of listening to my heart I was listening to people tell me that I had a block to success that I needed to push through and clear, or that I was too scattered and needed to reign in my energies, or that I was too sensitive and if I could only toughen up I’d be able to suck it up and commit. Turns out the only thing I needed to clear was the fear of sharing who I really am that arose because of comments like these.
People can’t, through their limited perspective, impose “solutions” on your attributes as if they were a disease to be cured. Yes, we all have weaknesses and blocks that we can work on, but accepting who you are, as you are, is the first step to any kind of improvement. As we do that, the power of naysayer voices begins to fade, and we see that our attributes are not deficits to be compensated for, but gifts to be nurtured and refined and shared.
When we can be vulnerable about who we really are, without fear of repercussion, it is a declaration of self-love that sets the heart free.
As an INFJ I tend to be very complex. I can feel totally comfortable sharing personal details about my life in a public speech, but when it comes to vulnerability online and sharing my sensitivities, I have found myself to be extremely protective of my heart. But that’s the thing. Those sensitivities and unique complexities of my personality are the common thread among everything I do. Whether I’m writing a blog post, publishing a book, speaking to an audience, writing or performing a song, creating art, designing digital media, sewing, working with flowers, reading, serving others, or exploring this fascinating world, I am doing it all from a sensitive, creative, complex perspective. And that’s okay. It’s what makes me, me. The world needs each of us with our unique combination of attributes.
INF’s personalities, Empaths, HSPs, Multipotentialites, and Highly Creatives tend to get told they’re too sensitive, to emotional, too scattered or too distracted. They get told a lot of negative things. And that makes it hard to want to let people know who we are. Our gifts are treated like weaknesses or faults that need correcting. As a result, we can walk through life feeling a deep and abiding sense of shame regarding our existence; a path I walked for far too many years. A path I’ve spent over 15 years healing.
I understand now that what can feel like a curse actually gives the Complex-Sensitive-Multi-Creative person the capacity to fill the world with light, meaning, compassion, originality, depth, and altruistic love– if they will accept themselves and see and develop their attributes as gifts and not curses. This self-acceptance also allows a person to live in a space of joy and fulfillment because they are not constantly at war with the true expression of themselves.
Strength is found in vulnerability and acceptance. Strength is also found in connection. And we can’t connect on common ground when we hide. So I’m no longer hiding.
This is me.
Now to find my INF, Empath, HSP, Multipotential and/or Highly Creative Friends. Where are you in the world? And which description do you identify with?
It’s important to take care of yourself and nurture your soul (aka—love yourself), especially if you’ve been through something difficult. Be kind to yourself, be gentle. Show compassion and charity to yourself, the way you would a dear friend. Here are 20 ways to do so:
1). Nurture. Do something nourishing for yourself. Something that makes you feel amazing. Something that makes you feel peaceful. Drink those 8 glasses of water. Read that book in the hammock under the shade tree, soak in a bubble bath, get a massage, have your nails done, or meditate with essential oils. Do whatever makes you feel good, whole, and sound. Nurturing yourself sends a message to your mind and heart that you are worth taking care of.
2). Self-Discovery. Self-discovery is a great was to love yourself, and one of the easiest because it’s fun. Self-discovery is the process of finding out what makes you tick, what ticks you off, what you love to do, what talents you have, where your compassion lies, what style of leadership you have, what personality type you have, etc.
If you’ve been through challenges, or have been in survival mode for any length of time, you begin to forget who you are. I was in survival mode for so long that I literally didn’t have any favorites of anything! I couldn’t answer the questions: What is your favorite candy bar? Favorite food? Favorite season? Etc. Because what I wanted didn’t matter for so long, I lost myself. The good news is, you can rediscover yourself through self-reflection and trying new things.
3). Invest in Yourself. Take a class, learn an art, read a book, get some training, hire a coach. Do something that says to your mind and heart, “I’m worthwhile.”
4). Honor Yourself. If you know you need a certain amount of sleep, or that eating certain foods makes you sick–If you know that flashing lights give you a headache, or spending time with a particular person makes you feel horrible about yourself, then HONOR YOUR NEEDS! It’s okay to have boundaries. In fact, it’s necessary. Say NO, if you need to. Exercise willpower on your behalf and see how great you feel, not only physically, but also emotionally.
When you honor yourself, you tell yourself that you deserve to be respected. This message builds on itself, giving you confidence and feelings of self-worth.
Honoring yourself is not about Ego or narcissism. The idea is not to get to the place where you think “Hey, it’s all about me”, but rather to gain a healthy self-respect. It’s important to do the things that you know serve your Highest Self, your highest good.
How do you know if you’re honoring yourself or just being egotistical? Here’s something that may help: Honoring yourself might offend someone else, but it doesn’t diminish them.
5). Practice Self-Compassion. You have compassion for others, right? Why not for yourself? We are generally our own worst critic and judge. We condemn ourselves for far less than we would ever condemn others for. Self-compassion is the act of being kind and gentle with ourselves. It is allowing for imperfection and extending forgiveness to the Self.
6). Recognize the Good in Yourself. When you do something good, acknowledge it. Write it down in a special journal designated for just that purpose. When you’re feeling down, go back and read all the good things you’ve noticed about yourself.
7). Praise your successes. It’s not prideful to acknowledge that you are successful. Acknowledgement is an affirmation. If you tend to get down on yourself, praising your successes is vitally important because you probably tend not to see them at all. Acknowledge challenges overcome, weaknesses avoided, performances well-delivered, thoughts well-spoken and feats well-done. Most people don’t actually speak the kind things they are thinking, so be your own cheerleader. Compliment yourself once in awhile.
8). Acknowledge your gifts. Take note of any and all gifts you have be they physical, spiritual, creative, academic, emotional. You have them, but do you see them? Practice seeing your gifts and talents and own them rather than hiding them.
9). Acknowledge efforts not results. It’s easy to think we have failed when we don’t get the results we anticipate. But learning to see and acknowledge our efforts is an important way to show love for the Self. Effort means you had the courage and faith to try, and that’s a lot more than many people ever do.
10). Stay Present in the moment. The past is the past, and although it’s fun to look back and remember good times, more often than not we remember things gone wrong, or pains inflicted. Looking at the past generally fills a person with dissatisfaction.
Looking ahead is wonderful for setting goals and creating a vision but it also creates longing and anxiety, even fear about what might or could happen.
Focusing on the present helps us accept our current state of being and make changes if necessary. It also allows us to live life. If your mind is always somewhere else you miss out on everything that is happening now. Life passes you by. Love yourself by staying in the present moment, experiencing all the wonder and education life has to offer. Yin yoga can help you learn to stay in the present moment because it is slow and deliberate. You can’t rush through it. It teaches you to be where you are right now.
11). Sit with your Feelings. Emotions are a part of the human experience. Loving yourself means allowing yourself to experience those emotions. When you feel uncomfortable emotions the best thing to do is label and acknowledge the way you feel. Let your emotions work through naturally instead of suppressing them with distraction. This is a powerful way to honor and love yourself. A yoga therapist once taught me to say, “I feel ….(fill in the negative emotion), and that’s okay.” Even God feels anger at times. Again, yin yoga can really help with working through emotions. Also, see my article on labeling emotions.
12). Expand your Spirit. The Spirit is part of the soul. It is the intangible part of your essence that combines with your physical body to create you. If you don’t have a spiritual routine, create one. You will add beautiful, meaningful depth to your life.
13). Express Gratitude. Gratitude helps you see how truly blessed your life is. Training yourself to notice the small details in life not only makes you feel rich, humble and blessed, it helps you stay in the present moment. Noticing blessings helps you see how much God loves you.
14). Dream. Take time to dream. Let your mind envision your ideal life, don’t censor or judge yourself. Just dream. Possibility is what keeps us moving forward.
15). Build Confidence. Take one action toward developing a skill, ability or knowledge. Recite affirmations. Step out of your comfort zone. Experience builds confidence.
16). Be Still. Take time to be completely still. Speed is by-product of modern life. It is not a natural state for man. Let yourself experience quiet for a few minutes every day. No music, no T.V., no distractions. Just silence. Unplugging actually recharges body, mind and spirit. did I mention yin yoga? 😉
17). Have fun. Make time to have plain, old-fashioned fun. Experience some of the joy and wonder of childhood by bringing fun activities into your life on a regular basis.
18). Learn to see Beauty. Look for the beauty in everything. See the wonders that nature creates right before your eyes. As you cultivate an eye for beauty you feel filled with wonder, joy and peace.
19). Create Space. Get rid of things you no longer need. Let go of things that no longer serve you physically, mentally and emotionally. Clear the toxicity from your life. New and Better need a place to go, so if your life is overstuffed they can’t come to you.
20). Seek a Solution. If you have a problem or situation you’ve been avoiding, seek to find a solution or to set things right within yourself. You can’t always fix what is external to you, but you can find peace within. Getting help from a qualified therapist or practitioner can be a game changer.
21). Choose Love. Make the choice to love yourself. Open up to the idea that you are worthy, beautiful and wonderful. After all, it is a choice.