Second chances: When to give them and when to slam the door for good

Got asked to write about second chances, which is an excellent topic no matter what sort of personality or opinion you may have. Life is a series of choices and chances and working out how to manage this in your relationships can have profound effects on your life and wellbeing.

So, as an INFJ this is complicated. On one hand we are people-pleasers, so trivial mistakes people make we forgive easily to resolve conflicts. However, we have something called the “door slam” which is where you cut someone out of your life entirely and permanently. Bit extreme right? The thing is, we don’t like being in limbo, an immature INFJ type may well be there for a while agonizing but mature INFJs will be much more likely to just be straight up with people one way or the other. Less complicated that way.

Here are my top tips for deciding whether to give someone a second chance or not.

1. How severely have they hurt you (physically/emotionally) and how often?

Sometimes human beings have a lapse of judgement and make mistakes. This is life. If you spot this “mistake” or several “mistakes” over and over and over again though it isn’t a mistake anymore. It is intent to hurt, toxic and incredibly damaging and dangerous. Walk away completely if you feel this person is jeopardising your safety and do not feel guilty about it.

2. How many chances do I give if this person doesn’t have many other people to support them? I feel guilty?

If this person doesn’t have many people, they still have a handful of people to lean on so don’t let that stop you if you feel walking is best. They can reach out to someone else other than you. If they have NO other people point them towards professionals, encourage them to take up some sort of social activities to network and meet new people. Ultimately they have to be prepared to accept help to truly start to change their actions on a regular basis. Plus if you’re someone’s close friend or big part in their life, then they should be treating you with the upmost respect because they don’t want to lose you. They should be putting in the effort to keep you happy and safe because they respect you. Remember that.

Warning: People who are regularly manipulative and abusive love to make you feel like you’re the only one who can help, and make you feel alone. This creates power for them and is an attempt to stop you from asking for help from others. Guilt is a powerful motivator and can mean you put up with more than you should.

3. What value does this person add to my life? What positive things have come out of this relationship?

Forgiveness and second chances is far more likely if there are positive experiences from the past to build on and great outcomes awaiting you if you keep them in your life and work toward this together. List all the positives and negatives, assess their willingness to have a conversation with you and truly act on any suggestions. If struggling to find a good reason to keep a person in your life that tells you all you need to know.

4. If I forgive, does that really wipe the slate clean?

For me, no it doesn’t, I forgive but I do not forget. Why? Because no person is a clean slate, we are all a series of mistakes and life lessons and successes. Relationships are about whether those life lessons can carry you forward if you work together, mistakes and all.

5. Is it possible to build an even better relationship with someone if they’ve hurt you in the past? Or will the relationship always be tainted by it?

Again, it depends on whether the hurt caused has been turned into some lessons and positive actions or not. Two people have to actively set ground rules for any relationship to work, then if someone oversteps the mark or makes a mistake they have to put it right for the relationship to continue to go from strength to strength. This is absolutely possible but requires serious communication skills and individual ownership of whatever mistake was made. No blame, just acceptance and action to put it right. If that action doesn’t materialise, or another mistake is made, then yes, that pain in the past will serve to weaken the relationship.

In short, people are complicated. Forgiveness is a powerful tool when used thoughtfully and carefully and shows your good natured character. Equally, you need to notice and take action when someone is intentionally trying to hurt you or no longer walks the same path as you in life. Surround yourself with people who value you. Find the strength to walk away from what no longer does you any good.

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Turning your life around: The power of patience

Now that I work with young people all the time I get told almost daily “I wish I was as calm and patient as you” but patience is a skill I’ve had to work on. Really work on. Still do!

When I was young I was incredibly impatient and angry when things didn’t go my way. I got frustrated that I didn’t see the result of my efforts straight away or in a way I predicted or expected. As I got older I noticed I became impatient with other people too, this strained relationships and meant that sometimes people felt judged by me because they knew I was losing my patience with them. Sometimes exposing someone’s faults and being brutally honest about it doesn’t immediately stop that person’s behaviour. No matter how negative.

So, this leads quite nicely onto my first point about cultivating patience with others without sacrificing your own values.

Tip 1) If you find yourself getting frustrated at someone’s actions, ask them to explain themselves. Ask “Is everything ok? I’ve noticed you’ve been acting different lately and I’m here for you if you need to talk”. Have a discussion about it, let them explain their side before you gently get your point across. If this person has hurt you in some way you need to discuss it with them honestly and openly.

“I had a discussion with them, they said all the right things but their actions don’t match”

Tip 2) If you’re not seeing positive results from your discussion you need to create distance. People can need time to unlearn toxic behaviours and addictions. Sometimes this work has to be done alone for them to truly see what they’ve done and how to fix it long term. You absolutely cannot fix it for them so you are still cultivating a positive, patient, respectful relationship with that person even if it has to be at a distance.

This point rings especially true for me as I had to cut someone out of my life for 6 months and other people had to intervene for me to see it fully for what it was. Years on and I consider this person a good friend now because they took the time to work on themselves and came back into my life in a much more stable place.

Tip 3) Set boundaries. Stick to them and do not compromise on your own wellbeing for someone else. You are NOT responsible for someone else’s happiness or sense of wellness. If a person (or group of people) are continuously testing your patience, abusing your kindness and making you frustrated you have to ask yourself why. If you’ve done all you can to fix it, you’ve created space and opportunities for discussion and positive action and then the negativity continues… You have to dig deep within yourself and create distance, and eventually walk away entirely. Sometimes one person’s patience isn’t enough to fix a broken relationship. It takes two people who need to be willing to work at it constantly. If it becomes one sided that’s your cue to walk.

“I seem to give other people loads of chances but beat myself up at the slightest thing.”

Patience with yourself is especially hard when you set yourself incredibly high expectations. So my tips with self-patience are:

1) Be upfront about your own flaws and if you feel yourself slipping recognise that your faults make you human. You are still of worth and of value and can always work towards getting better. No one is perfect and we are all on a journey towards being better people. Rather than expecting “I need to be 100% calm at all times this week” try “I will take 5 minutes each night this week reflect on when I was calm that day, log it and take pride in it”. This expectation is more practical, recognises the ups and downs and is much more achievable.

2) Stop the negative self-talk. Take some time out at the end of every day to reflect not only on your actions, but what you think about yourself. If you constantly talk yourself down you will find yourself tolerating so much negativity from others and behaving negatively because you’ll trick your mind into thinking that’s what you deserve. To reverse this cycle, start journalling any positives from the day, any moments where you could have lost it but you kept it together. Document your journey in a positive light and you can re-train your brain to be more positive. The patience will then show in your changed behaviour towards yourself and others.

Tip 3) Use your past to reflect on how you are going to change your present moment. Don’t fall back on it as an excuse to continue the way you are. Over time I had to learn how high expectations can both motivate and demotivate myself and others. I had to learn theraputic reflection and meditation to cultivate self-love, self-esteem and a more positive outlook. I used my past mistakes to try and alter how I react in future. It took years to get to this point and I’ve still got a long way to go. It’s all trial and error of course, but being upfront and reflecting on it is the ultimate act of patience.

Final thoughts: Patience does not have perfection as the end goal. Patience is not waiting and doing nothing while the rest of the world moves on. Patience is working on forming positive relationships with yourself and others to help navigate this complex inner and outer world. Patience sets realistic expectations and makes use of time as a healer. Patience is knowing people’s paths may cross, and they may part, allow both to happen freely.

Thats it for now. Namaste 🙂

Turning your life around: setting financial goals and sticking to it

My next few blogs are going to be about how you can turn your life around. First up is finances, because let’s face it, everything comes with a price.

Perhaps being a bit of an introvert can help in some way with this (cutting out expensive social events etc) but in other ways, particularly if you’re a bit of a people-pleaser, doing something exclusively for yourself can seem incredibly out of your comfort zone. You worry you’ll come across as selfish, or you’ll lose friends. These doubts are normal, don’t let them stop you. Your true friends should encourage you to achieve your ambitions not hold you back.

I decided a while ago to do just that and really think about where I wanted my career to go and how I was going to get there. INFJs love making plans and setting goals right?

I should say too – my full time role pays minimum wage, I’ve lived independently from my parents since I was 18 too and had to pay my own bills, rent etc. So I’m coming from a place of understanding how hard big moves in life like this can be when you don’t have an endless money pot. However it can be done!

Step 1: budget! What are your monthly outgoings that cannot change, so your rent, your bills. Then see how much money you have left over. Do you have any debts to pay off? Be totally upfront with yourself when setting a budget otherwise it won’t work. Set a savings goal next, give yourself a realistic monthly amount you can set aside to pay off debts and then save.

Step 2: create more income if possible. So for me I hold down multiple jobs to top-up my minimum wage as well as try to sell unwanted goods online. It’s not much, I don’t earn the megabucks and it’s not for everyone to have more than one job. Only do it if an opportunity presents itself that is flexible and you know you will enjoy and benefit from it. If not have a good look at your stuff, anything of value worth popping on eBay? Or any clothes worth bagging up and getting cash for or donating? Create space, even just a declutter can help you feel like you’re on the right track.

Step 3: cut out any extra cost holding you back. Do you need that gym membership or could you work out at home? Do you need that Netflix subscription or can you get a Freeview box? Have a long hard look at your outgoings. Where are you spending? Too many late night McDonald’s? Ubers everywhere when you could just walk? See where you can cut back, little things all add up, quit smoking, have a coffee flask rather than buying one every day. Also, changing banks can give you money too, some offer over £100 just for switching.

Step 4: put up a montage with pictures etc of what you want to achieve. I did this for any holiday I planned, my wedding, and now my career plans. Visualisation is powerful and keeps you motivated. It reminds you of the bigger picture when temptation to spend on smaller things hits.

Step 5: be patient, ask for help if you need it. Life can crop up unexpected costs, maybe your washing machine breaks, or your car! Remember that you being more conscious of your money means you have built reserves to cope and you can flex your budget accordingly.

For me, these steps have worked wonders, I’ve managed to plan my wedding this way as well as a few trips abroad. The trick is to set aside a LOT of time, don’t rush it. Bit by bit you’ll see your vision coming together. Take the wedding as an example, we were engaged for about 5 years! That’s a lot of time to plan, save and month by month slowly buy everything you need, as well as have some months off where finances were low

Remember, often the hardest path brings the biggest reward. Don’t give up.

Feel free to comment/message about what you’d like to see in this turn life around series so it’ll benefit you. I’m thinking of doing one on relationships next.

Until next time xx

Isolation: Feeling like you’re born to understand others… But not to be understood yourself.

Lately in certain circles I’ve been really feeling that sense that people aren’t wanting me around. Like I’m not going anywhere but someone has already packed your suitcase for you. You feel like a burden and there’s a deep need to disappear , wanting the ground to swallow you whole. Its a terrible feeling but it’s something our personality type have felt often. We view things a different way, often intuitively, and freak ourselves out (and others!) on a regular basis with the complexity and insight we offer (or awkward silence, or none stop verbal onslaught about something we care deeply about!). 

Then contradict that with an intense need to help others, to be wanted, to be understood..  and there you have a recipe for serious stress and anxiety. Delightful.

When deep in your head you look back on situations and people that let you down. It wasn’t always like this, and you mull over every single interaction piecing together how on earth it got this bad. It cuts like a knife when you can tell, purely by a look, or how someone said something to you or about you, that you’re not liked or not approved of. Sometimes you wish you were oblivious to it, that you didn’t read body language or vocal intonations so well. You tell yourself to stop being so insecure and insist maybe you got it wrong, you convince yourself you’re being silly… but then actions follow and your gut was right. Again. Darn it.

For me I love getting to the stage where I’ve pieced it together, discussed it with a select few others I trust… Reflection is key here and there’s always something more to learn, something to try for next time. 

Sometimes, the brutal honesty that can come blurting out verbally or written isn’t the best card to play. Sometimes your silence is mistaken for judgement or snobbery. People make first impressions fast and if you aren’t needed right then and there in that moment, or you don’t act correctly in their eyes, there is a tendancy for you to be completely overlooked.

Its especially hard when someone’s “need” of you changes, you build up all this trust and then in minutes it’s shattered and you try so hard to fix it but know deep down you’ve done all you can. 

Also, when you’re young and trying to find where you fit in it can involve moving around a lot, meeting new people, saying goodbyes and hellos all too frequently. This can be so draining for us, we all crave a depth of connection that can only be forged with time and yet life can fluctuate at such a pace that at the end of the day you’re left alone. Again. In your own head. Arguably this is true for everyone in this situation of course but for INFJs this feels particularly soul destroying.

So keep it strange INFJs, we offer a unique perspective, dont dwell on misunderstandings and be brave. Odds are people just need a nudge, an explanation, or are going through too much hell themselves to see it. Your inner circle will make themselves known to you eventually. Until then, make friends with yourself, you’ll be surprised how far you’ll go.

As I write this after a particularly bad day wanting to crawl out my own skull the neighbours cat has decided to come purr on my lap. Aren’t animals amazing.

Until next time x

World introvert day

January 2nd is world introvert day so thought I’d do a post!

Despite us introverts making up an estimated 30-50% of the world’s population society seems geared towards extroversion. From classrooms to the workplace it’s collaboration, public speaking, presentations and fast pace that rule when qualities like reflection and independence are often overlooked and undervalued. When you think of a successful person, do the loudest ones pop into your head first before the quieter scientists, philosophers and authors?

Also often misunderstood is that introversion is a group of traits and are on a continuum. So not every introvert will crumble when told to collaborate with others, it’s more about having an awareness of where you get your energy from. 

So if after this holiday season you’ve found yourself craving some alone time…. You may be an introvert despite being perceived as the life and soul of the party a couple of days earlier. 

Some people are what’s known as “ambiverts” and have both extrovert and introvert features in their personality. This makes them highly adaptable in today’s society just like anyone who happens to be nearer the middle of the continuum. For example, I’d say I’m introverted but nearer the middle than other introverts out there so I can exhibit those extroverted qualities but it leaves me with a “people hangover” if I do it for too long. Recharging is key.

Today on world introvert day I’ve spent the majority of it at home recharging after an extremely busy festive season. Sometimes you just need your own space! How ever you’ve spent today, extend some love to your introverts in your life and educate people about the different traits that make us all unique.