The Guilty

Forgive me, readers, for continuing to fly by the seat of my pants in writing posts for this blog. I do have a few different posts planned, talking about some of the books I’m currently reading, and more about the editing and promoting process. However, I have to finish those books and do more work in the other two things in order to give you any good information. It’s a learning process, and I’ll tell you more when I know more. As for now, I feel the strong urge to share some of my current thoughts with you.

I’ve been reading through Lauren Sapala’s new book, Firefly Magic: Heart Powered Marketing for Highly Sensitive Writers. If you are an INFJ, INFP, or even just a highly sensitive artist (writer, painter, photographer, etc.), and struggling to market yourself, I highly recommend buying it here. I know it’s titled towards writers, but in my opinion, the information in it is valuable across the board. It has already given me hope for being successful with marketing and self-promotion myself.

I bought her book The INFJ Writer (another awesome book) about six months ago, and when she followed me on twitter, I couldn’t have been more excited. Then she announced her new book and I thought, “How did she know I wrote a book and needed help marketing?!” Of course, her book coming out had nothing to do with me, but Fate had certainly put me in the right time and place to benefit from it. I’m almost done reading it, and plan to do a more complete review soon.

What I wanted to talk about right now, though, is the roller coaster of emotions I’ve gone through as I read it. I admire Lauren. She is able to take everything she has learned about herself, clients, and friends, and put the struggles we go through into words in a way that is friendly, encouraging, and which lacks judgement. Having gone through much of my life barely even understanding myself, it’s almost emotionally overwhelming to read her words because it feels like my guts have been spilled all over the pages.

It has also brought to the forefront of my mind an emotion which many Highly Sensitive People have, and will need to deal with if they want to market effectively. Guilt. Not deserved guilt, for something we’ve really done wrong, but perceived guilt. This ties in with our feelings of not wanting to be pushy about selling our products, feeling like we or our products aren’t good enough, and much more. Lauren does a great job at helping you see around those feelings, and I’ve realized there’s a problem I need to deal with.

If you’re like most HSP’s, you’ve been the moderator or counselor to friends and family for as long as you can remember. If you’re lucky, you’ve kept your head above the emotional waters and retained your empathy and compassion, which will help you to write and market better. If you’re like me, you gave until you had nothing left (emotionally) and then gave some more, leading to a burnout and complete apathy.

Ultimately, it’s my fault. I dove into everyone’s problems head first, and actually took an unhealthy pride in depriving myself in the service of others. Yes, I wanted to help people and some took advantage, but I’m embarrassed to admit I also wanted to hurt myself. I didn’t feel I deserved to be cared for, pushed helpful people away, and then despaired the fact that nobody was there for me. A part of me enjoyed the depth of raw emotion I experienced during long periods of depression, and it gave me a reason not to care about myself.

It was a vicious cycle of taking care of people, resenting having to take care of people, and then a strong sense of guilt and self-debasement for that resentment with feeling like I should take better care of people. I felt guilt if I didn’t take care of others, guilt if I didn’t take care of myself, guilt if I did take care of myself, and guilt if others took care of me. Then came a moment where all of those things converged and I had a mental break, leading to apathy.

Now, I’m slowly learning how to take care of myself, mentally and physically without guilt, and shying away from anything or anyone that makes me feel negative or guilty. I’ve gone almost completely in the opposite direction of where I used to be, and understand I don’t have enough in my own cup to take care of other people. I have my bubble, home with my cats and significant other, and that’s where I like to stay. I neglect visiting or talking to friends and family, and dread any activities that lead me out of the house. That all sounds bad, but when you’ve reached burnout, sometimes you have to do the opposite of what you’ve always done in the effort to fix things.

Someday, I’d really like to find balance between what I was and who I am now, but it will take time. I want to be there for others and give/receive energy from helping people again, with a healthier respect and care for myself as well. Writing and finishing my novel have helped with that, giving me confidence that I never had before.

I strongly believe that everything we go through happens for a reason. We must learn balance in all aspects of our lives if we are going to be physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy, but it’s a lifelong endeavor. Reading Lauren’s books reminded me of how good it feels to care about others, and gives me hope that my empathy isn’t too far gone.

I want to start by letting any readers know, I’m here for you and would like to hear from you. If you’ve gone through similar circumstances, what things help/helped you regain balance? What things are you struggling with?

5 thoughts on “The Guilty

  1. I’m reading Lauren’s book, too, and loving it. I’m right there with you on the whole guilt thing. For me, meditation has been really helpful in regaining balance. Wishing you the best on your publishing journey!

    Liked by 1 person

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