Boundaries. As both introverts and empaths, we may have difficulty asserting our rights with others, but learning to communicate our boundaries in a healthy way is vital for us to stay grounded in our integrity. I always advise others to make a non-negotiable contract of boundaries. These are at least 10 sacred vows you make with yourself about what you won’t tolerate in any relationship of any kind. These can be very basic or specific and customized to your needs and standards (i.e. I won’t tolerate any form of abuse vs. I won’t tolerate anyone who speaks condescendingly to me.) Then, make sure you follow through with ending a toxic interaction even before it’s had time to build by recognizing when your boundary is being crossed, asserting your boundary and reinforcing it by taking yourself out of the toxic interaction altogether if it is not addressed appropriately.
Extreme self-care. Extreme self-care is asking yourself every day, “What do I need in this moment?” This practice acknowledges how self-care is selfless, rather than selfish – because the more energy you have within yourself, the more energy you have to give to the world. It means addressing your needs almost as attentively as you would the needs of a child, being in tune with how your energy feels and nurturing yourself without apologies or excuses. If your need is to get some sleep, it may be better for you to finish up that project tomorrow. If the need is having fun, perhaps you need to schedule a night every week where you can go out with friends or get some downtime. If your need is for solitude, maybe it’s time for some quiet meditation and reflection. Whatever it is that you need in order to replenish your reserves, do it. The world needs you and your gorgeous energy.
Energy work. Empaths can pick up on residual energy and be deeply affected by the energetic vibrations of others. Cleansing your energy means clearing your sacred spaces – physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually and sexually. Engage in forms of exercise that you love to cleanse your body of trapped energy, do yoga, meditate, clear the clutter in your physical spaces. Don’t be intimate with those who are toxic. Connect with the power of nature as a sacred space of healing. Energy clearing can take any form you feel is right for you – whether it be a chakra healing meditation or a session on the treadmill, do whatever you can to keep yourself as cleansed as possible of toxic energies so that you can reconnect with your natural, uplifting energy.
Visualization. Imagining a barrier around you that separates you from others can help remind you that you are an independent entity. This can be any barrier you feel represents you; imagine yourself bathed in white light or surrounded by a brick wall that deflects any negative energies coming your way. Visualization is all about reinforcing this idea that you don’t have to take on the feeling states and projections of others. You have a right to your own energy, your own viewpoint and your own perspective about yourself. You can stay grounded in your own truth and not have to take on the pain of others.
Selective community. Surround yourself with only those who respect your boundaries and those who appreciate you and see your worth. INFJ empaths may have a hard time connecting with superficial people but may be pressured by society to conform and go with the crowd. Please don’t sacrifice your uniqueness to fit in. The world needs your gentle guidance, your beautiful spirit and your creative mind. Don’t chase after toxic people who undermine you, belittle you and demean your dreams or your insights. The people who will really see you for the treasure you are the keepers. You deserve to be just as respected, honored and cherished as any other personality type in this world. As an INFJ, you have a right to honor and love yourself.
Shahida Arabi is a graduate of Columbia University graduate school and the author of The Smart Girl's Guide to Self-Care, a bestselling Kindle book also available in print. She is also the author of Becoming the Narcissist's Nightmare: How to Devalue and Discard the Narcissist While Supplying Yourself, which became a #1 Amazon Bestseller upon its pre-order release. She studied Psychology and English Literature as an undergraduate at NYU, where she graduated summa cum laude. Her interests include psychology, sociology, education, gender studies, and mental health advocacy. You can check out her new blog, Self-Care Haven, for topics related to mindfulness, mental health, narcissistic abuse and recovery from emotional trauma, like her page on Facebook, and subscribe to her YouTube Channel.