There is a natural push and pull between what we want and what others want for us.
If you are anything like the rest of us, you have moments where you are nervous about sharing your true thoughts and feelings. Everyone also has moments where they find themselves caring way too much about what other people think. That’s also natural. No one wants to live in a world full of people who do not care what others think. It’s a recipe for disaster.
However, we must also take the time to consider our own wants and needs. It is time to talk about the importance of living for ourselves, as opposed to caring too much about what everyone else thinks.
For many of us, it all starts during childhood. We naturally crave the approval of our parents and our peers. Societal approval also means a lot to us when we are very young. After all, no one wants to be considered an outcast. Maslow’s psychological needs hierarchy dictates it.
We all want love and acceptance from the rest of the world. At what point does this love and acceptance come at the expense of other important things, though? We need to learn how to love ourselves and let the rest take care of itself. The love and acceptance that we crave is inside of us all along.
Internal validation is far more important than external validation. Once you have decided to live for yourself, everything seems to fall into place with relative ease. Living for yourself does not mean that you behave in a selfish manner. We simply have to put our needs first and make choices that are aligned with our most crucial values.
Your life is your own. The power should never be given to anyone else. These are the five steps that need to be taken when you are looking to make the necessary changes:
1. Learn Yourself
This is easier said than done. You have to learn more about yourself and what you truly want. Sometimes, this can be challenging. We do not always know what we are looking for. Don’t be too hard on yourself. The process can take some time. Life experience is the only way to truly learn. We are merely the sum of our past experiences.
That means that we do not know what is going to make us happy because we have yet to see it for ourselves. New experiences might make us happy if we allow them the chance to. That’s why we cannot allow ourselves to have a limited amount of experience. The less experience we have, the more likely we are to miss out on the things that truly make us happy.
2. Focus On Authenticity
We all have unique voices and personalities. To truly live for yourself, you need to allow this voice to shine through. It may not be comfortable at first. We become so used to pleasing others and living for their approval. It makes it hard to go against the grain and place ourselves first. Just know that you are not being selfish by doing so.
Whether you want to refer to it as following your heart, your conscience or your own intuition, we know deep down what we truly want. Becoming your most authentic self is all about being honest and true to our own feelings. Follow your own excitement and curiosity. Don’t worry about whether it is popular. The only one you have to please is yourself.
3. Live By Your Own Standards
You should have no standards other than the ones you have set for yourself. How do you define success and happiness? What does a happy existence look like to you? What are the values that truly matter? You need to decide on the areas that are most important and stick to your guns.
Don’t set standards too low or too high. If standards are too low, you won’t live up to your full potential. When standards are too high, you may end up paralysing yourself and your ambitions in the process. Finding the sweet spot is what it is all about.
4. Live In Alignment With These Standards
Once your standards have been set, the next step is key. You’ll need to live in alignment with these standards. Stay true to your values and standards. Avoid any decisions that are not in alignment with the areas that are most important to you. Once you make these decisions and stick to them, your self confidence will grow.
The better we feel about ourselves, the more we love ourselves. Deciding what you want out of life and having the ability to get and get it means everything. You are no longer living for anyone else’s approval because you have defined your own parameters. Internal validation is more important than external validation.
5. Continue Your Growth
There is no room for complacency when you live for yourself. You are never going to reach a point where you are totally perfect and done growing. To continue growing, you must take responsibility for all of your own actions. There’s no reason to blame others when you are making the decisions that you truly want to make.
Don’t make the mistake of neglecting the aspects of life that are unpleasant. These are the areas that are most in need of changing. You can be happy and grateful for the place you are in right now while still recognising the need for continued growth.
You have the ability to take your life in any direction that you choose. We are the masters of our own destiny. All you need to do is find a direction and the rest takes care of itself. Living for yourself is all about finding the right mixture between personal responsibility and fulfilment.
Life is a canvas. Take the time to create your true masterpiece!