How to serve others in a healthy way?
This blog is a transcribed excerpt from a live Q&A in our Facebook group INFJ/INFP Development, hence written in spoken language.
Question: Two weeks ago, you answered the question of mine in Q&A where you said that being of service to others, is not an unhealthy value to have, as long as it's not to the detriment of oneself. The problem for me is that I recognize that I always prioritize others' needs over my own, especially when it comes to my children, ages three and six. I recognize my needs, and I'm getting better at recognizing them earlier on, thanks to being aware of my Inner Children. The problem is that when I think of meeting my needs, I also see how this will affect others, as meeting my needs usually takes a long time and it tends to clash with the needs of my family. I always end up valuing their needs more than my own which keeps me from taking the time I so desperately need. Even though I have very supporting and understanding husband, and I can understand rationally that to be the kind of a mother they need, I need to take care of myself, there's something inside of me that just isn't buying it. I really do believe that their needs are worth more than mine. So my question is, from which part of me do you think this is coming from? Is it the wounds of my inner 10 year old again? If so, how can I parent her through this? And is there any way I can evaluate in a more “thinker” way, whose needs are actually more important so that I can truly feel like I'm making the right decision?
You may have a fundamental belief that you are not as important as others. That is not unusual for people in general, especially people who have experienced traumatic conditions or traumatic experiences.
There's a possibility that you may have in your imprint period, interpreted that you're not as important as everybody else, the thing about it is that you are as important as everybody else, everybody is equally as important. And if you have children who can't feed themselves, then obviously you need to attend to those children and feed them because that's as a parent, that's the role that you took on when you had the children.
Another part that may have made you believe that you are not as important as other people is if you've had a traumatizing experience as a child that you interpreted to mean that that is actually the case. Now, there is a there is a possibility that there actually is a part of you that believes that you are not as important as the other people in your life. And if that's the case, then we can look at the situation and start moving on. But learn how to how to talk to that part of you, because it's very likely that it is one of your inner children that is having this challenge. How you start unraveling it is you begin to you have conversations between the two separate Inner Children. Both INFJ’s and INFP’s have a thinker Inner Child, they also have a sensor Inner Child. So since you're an INFP, your thinker, Inner Child will be your inner three year old.
If it's your inner three year old as an INFP, it's possible that he or she has adopted a belief that you're not actually as worthy as anybody else. And that you're there only to help other people get their own needs met. If that's the case, you need to talk about it from a perspective of effectiveness in life. Because if you make a decision that other people's needs are more important and you’re coming from the INFP three year old, then what you need to say is “Hang on a second, me running around after other people and trying to help other people when I'm not well in myself, is not actually the most effective way of doing this”. You need to confront the effectiveness. The same thing if it's your thinker, if you're a INFJ or thinker accuracy, your inner 10 year old, then they need to understand that the best way to build structures for your life that are sustainable structures are not through just attending to other people's needs all the time. You need to explain it to the Inner Child in a way that it makes sense to them. So if it is the thinker, but only you will know when you start to have these conversations with them and asking, “Hey, which, which one of you is actually having this challenge”. You need to challenge the decision maker in that, if it's an Inner Child that's making that decision. I'll just say to you straight up, you are absolutely wrong in thinking that, you know, other people are more important that's actually inaccurate piece of information that it's not true.
Now, as I said, if you have children who can't feed themselves can't, you know, manage without your attendance, like if they're infants, then absolutely, you have to put their needs ahead of your own, if there's somebody who's in danger for their life, and absolutely, you have to put their needs ahead of your own. But don't make any situation to the child needs something that they could get themselves or the husband needs something done, they could do themselves to be this massive emergency that now you have to stop doing whatever you're doing and start attending to life isn't just one big emergency, it really isn't. Start by determining what's actually an emergency, and start attending to those before you start looking at what else you could do for others. You were saying that, that “I identify what the needs are, or that I have my own needs”, so you're already halfway there and that's fantastic. The next step would be when you catch that thought that you learn to ask yourself, “Is this an emergency?”. This slows down the process even more, we need to slow it down before you can start changing it. If you're a freight train going 100 miles an hour on the tracks, you can’t change the direction in a second. It would be very bad for the content of the train to do that. You need to slow the train down before you move into any other time direction.
Person showing both palms while sitting on chair: Photo by Jeremy Yap on Unsplash
Child´s hand: Image by Myriam Zilles from Pixabay