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If you’re an introvert that puts others before yourself, then feeling guilty is an everyday struggle. Prioritizing yourself is no easy task.
No one wants to let people down, especially friends, family, or coworkers. Guilt can be overwhelming & push you to go to a networking event or end up at a bar on a Wednesday.
You wish you genuinely wanted to be there. But really, you’re just there to avoid feeling like a bad friend/family member/coworker.
Before you start becoming a hermit, first focus on these 5 ways to conquer the guilt of choosing solitude over socializing. You’ll uncover the ways shame is driving your decisions and create a new path towards self-acceptance:
1. Ask yourself, “How would I feel if my friends chose to stay home instead of hanging out?”
As an introvert, you can probably think of a million reasons why they’d want to stay home. You wouldn’t be hard on your friends. So why are you so hard on yourself?
Sometimes it’s difficult to give yourself the benefit of the doubt you so often give to others. If they know you, they should understand & respect that you have your own reasons.
2. Brainstorm what truly makes you happy
My favorite way to do this is by using the MindNode app. If you don’t have an iPad, you can easily mind map on a piece of paper or a whiteboard. It can be anything from a low-key hangout to scrolling through Pinterest for hours.
If you know you’re spending time doing what makes you happy, then it’s hard to feel like you’re making the wrong decision.
Maybe you just don’t like bars cause it’s too loud to catch up with friends. If you’d rather meet up at a new restaurant, that’s perfectly valid. Find those activities that give you long-term value & fulfillment from multiple sources (your friends, family, coworkers, classmates, and especially from within).
Make sure your weeks are filled with a good variety & balance of these activities, so you don’t feel guilty for choosing yourself every now and then.'Sometimes it's difficult to give yourself the benefit of the doubt you so often give to others.'Click To Tweet
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3. Plan something adventurous once a week
Follow through with those plans & reflect on how you felt.
Did you feel like you were forcing it? Or did you genuinely have fun & just needed a little push out of your comfort zone?
Although I enjoy solitude, there are times I’ve pushed myself to go out then ended up saying, “Man, I’m glad I went to this (party, conference, get together, networking event, etc.).”
Reflecting on the benefits of social activities can drive you to go out when you normally wouldn’t. This leads to healthy decision-making. You no longer just do it because you’re afraid of losing people. You do it because you want to.
4. Find a community online that shares your love for at-home activities
Whether it be planning, DIY projects, or cooking up a storm–find people that help you dive into what you love. Doing this will also prove you are not alone as an introvert.
I used to feel like there was something wrong with me because I truly enjoyed a quiet apartment while my friends were always out, posting on social media about how much fun they were having. It’s easy to feel this way when you get lost in the comparison game.
But remember, there’s a whole lot more to the internet than scrolling through beautiful pictures of your friends on vacation.
The internet can connect you with people that truly get you. You can find studygrams, YouTube videos of people living the #hermitlife (shout out to Rowena Tsai), and blogs that focus on highly specific interests like vegan & gluten-free cooking. Community and a sense of belonging are strong and essential parts of being human, so find others that share your passion–whatever it may be!'Community and a sense of belonging are strong and essential parts of being human.'Click To Tweet
5. Understand the difference between guilt and shame
Dig deep into your feelings of guilt. Is this guilt helping you? Or is it impacting your self-worth?
This step is the hardest yet most integral part of overcoming guilt that doesn’t serve you. When your feelings of guilt are connected to your self-worth, it might actually be shame disguised as guilt.
Maybe in the past, someone said you’re selfish when you prioritized your needs. Maybe you were labeled ‘weird’ for choosing to stay home instead of going bar-hopping.
These are instances where others have shamed you for being yourself.
Don’t let the opinions of others act as a measuring stick for your self-worth. You’ll only end up making others happy at your expense.
I can write an entire book on guilt vs shame. Thankfully, Brené Brown already did.
Her audiobooks are narrated by her, and I replay them whenever I’m feeling isolated or misunderstood. Hearing her unpack the meaning and impact of shame through her personal stories and research is incredibly healing.
My favorite audiobook so far is Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. Her books have been truly transformational. You’ll want to recommend them to everyone you know! Just don’t be surprised if they turn it down–not everyone is ready to heal with you.'Don’t let the opinions of others act as a measuring stick for your self-worth.'Click To Tweet