“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”―Coco Chanel
To think for yourself and live for yourself should be your ultimate life decisions and life goals.
Not only are they the most courageous acts but they’re probably two of the most difficult, soul-searching things you will decide to do.
Why are they so important?
Human beings have social needs, which make them want to adapt as much as they can to their community so in return they get the most precious sense of belonging to a group.
Interestingly enough, ultimately it’s not other people’s beliefs, restrictions or expectations that stop us from living the life we would like to live.
In order to adapt to society, we usually form many of our own self-limiting beliefs, ones that stop us from ever leaving our comfort zone (again, created by our idea of how to best fit the mold our family, friends or society told us to fit).
Never exploring ourselves further means never really reaching our true selves.
There are four ultimate things that we all seek: approval, validation, acceptance, confidence.
For many people, to start living for themselves means living a completely new life. Is it really possible to do that? It is.
All you need to do is reshape the way you think and push yourself toward the awareness that all these four things are things you need from yourself, not others.
It’s time for you to take responsibility for your own happiness. If you want to rock your world, reach new highs and break the shackles that you put yourself in, it’s time you ask yourself these questions.
Questions to ask yourself before you begin the process of change:
What are some specific details about my personality?
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”―E.E. Cummings
How often do you actually think about yourself? Now, start from the beginning. Where do you come from? What were your parents like?
Did you have a happy childhood or not? How did that shape you? You see where I’m going with this.
Pretend that you’re in a therapy session with yourself. Maybe do a couple of online personality tests and analyze your results and see if you agree.
What are your general opinions about yourself? Think about your biggest virtues and your flaws. What are your strengths?
What parts of your personality do you think other people like best? Are they real or do you mold yourself to make others like you?
It’s important to reach your own opinions about your own personality. Dare to think about everything, the things you like and the things you don’t.
What is it that makes me happy?
“The essence of philosophy is that a man should so live that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things.”―Epictetus
This one may seem simple but it usually isn’t. What are some things that really make you smile or feel content and happy to be alive? I’m not talking about one-time events, rather some things we all do on a daily basis.
Sure, you may think about some big things that made you feel happy but happiness is an inside job and something that you should feel every day for at least a few moments.
What are some small things in your everyday life that excite you? What do you look forward to?
Is there a part of you that’s only happy if someone says you did well and validates your choices? If there is, are you willing to change that?
What are my own standards?
“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”―J.K. Rowling
Aside from what your parents, religion, school and society taught you, what are your very own standards? What are the things you truly believe should be done in order to fill your life with positivity and happiness?
Do you believe in kindness, doing good deeds, being rich or something else?
What are your goals in life and what beliefs and standards are they based on? Are those beliefs your own or things you made yourself believe just so you could fit in and make other people happy?
If other people approve of your choices, you approve of them too.
I know that seems to bring you happiness because it helps you avoid the confrontation you believe unnecessary and negative but the road to living a life that’s fully yours is bumpy and confrontation is necessary.
Whenever a person decides to live their life the way they want to, small sacrifices must be paid.
What are some things I think I may regret not doing?
“I’m the one that’s got to die when it’s time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want to.”―Jimi Hendrix
They say that a person who is about to die hardly ever regrets something they did and usually regrets the things they didn’t do.
Are there things in your life you avoid doing so you won’t upset someone? Do you see yourself regretting on your deathbed not doing those things? If yes, they are probably worth trying. What is it that you’re scared of?
Sometimes, we have absolutely nothing to do with how other people see us.
If you decide to skip doing something you yearn to do then you’re compromising yourself for the sake of maintaining the image of you in other people’s eyes.
Does it really matter what they think of you? One day, when all of this is gone, will you truly regret changing someone’s opinion of you or will you regret not being brave enough to live your life the way you want to?
Take as much time as you need to answer these questions. The more thoroughly you investigate them, the better chance you have of actually moving toward a life that will suit you.
Once you feel ready to change, invest your energy into following our advice on how to actually do that.
11 Profound Pieces Of Advice On How To Finally Live For Yourself
1. Stop pushing down your emotions, desires and hunches
To live your life according to your emotions is not the best possible option. Why? Because they aren’t direct reactions to what happens to you. Your emotions are responses to how you perceive what happens to you.
They are incredible tools to getting to know yourself better, though. With yourself, be open about your emotions.
What ticks you off? What pleases you? There are reasons for both. Accepting your emotions and understanding them better leads to knowing yourself.
Your desires need to be explored as well. If you choose to live life your way, you can’t continue hiding your true wishes.
When I say hiding, I don’t even mean from other people, I actually mean from yourself. Be honest about what it is that you want.
I know it’s scary to follow your hunch on something when you think it will lead you so far away out of your comfort zone but if you decide to start living the life that’s yours, those fears should be conquered.
What better way to do that than to actually realize what it is that you want and how you want to get it.
2. Make the decision to take care of yourself first
Make yourself a priority. At this point, you should be aware of your own needs. Make the decision to take care of them first. No one else should come before you.
Your well-being is in your own hands. No one else will take care of you, it’s on you to do that. This absolutely doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take care of other people as well but it does mean that you should come first.
There’s nothing you can do to improve your life if your needs aren’t being met and ignoring them yourself is one of the most unhealthy things you can do.
Tell yourself that you’re important and even better, show yourself just how important you are.
3. Constantly make an effort to get to know yourself better
There are always things that we don’t know or don’t fully understand, no matter how hard we work on realizing who we actually are. Always go a step further into the depth of your own mind and your own personality.
The root of why we, as human beings, choose to follow other people’s expectations of us rather than our own beliefs and desires usually lies deep within.
Exploring your psyche, your emotional responses, your choices and habits is very important. To understand yourself, you need to know yourself first.
Understanding leads to acceptance and that’s what you need; you need to accept you.
4. Don’t make it your job to please other people
Spend less time trying to please others; that’s not your job. Your job is to please yourself and everybody else’s job is this too. That way everyone gets to live the way they need to and not blame others for their unhappiness.
Of course, you shouldn’t offend or disrespect people for the sake of it but if your beliefs and decisions don’t match theirs, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t openly state them.
Hearing someone else’s opinion shouldn’t be offensive to anyone.
You have a right to be yourself as much as anybody else does. No one is more important or more worthy than others. You shouldn’t shape your views of the world according to what the people around you think.
You are the one who gets to live with yourself, so choose to live for yourself.
You can find satisfaction in helping others feel better by being kind, attentive or helpful but changing your lifestyle to suit others is unnecessary and ultimately wrong.
5. Growth can be painful, so accept that fact before making important decisions
As I said earlier, sacrifices will be made. To learn to live for yourself means to grow out of your skin that was pre-shaped; it’s going to hurt to stretch it out to fit your new life.
Challenging predefined patterns of behavior won’t be easy. That’s something you should be aware of and need to accept before you fully commit to this process.
Why? Change is necessary for growth. If you decide to change, you can get discouraged by the pain some situations may cause you.
Most people in your surroundings won’t just take the new you and be perfectly fine that you decided to live your life according to your own rules.
Start by changing small things in your daily life. For example, stop being a pushover (if you are one). State your opinions on where you want to go for a coffee instead of just going wherever anyone else wants to.
These are small steps that may seem irrelevant for the process but they’re not. This’ll help you explore the feeling you get by doing what you really want to do.
6. Accept that sometimes, we are who we are
Being true to yourself doesn’t only mean exploring your positive side, as many things you’ll hate about yourself will be revealed.
Self-love means accepting everything you are. There are some things about us that we bury deep inside, hiding them from ourself as well as from the whole world.
This process will require you to learn to accept those things without having negative thoughts or negative feelings such as shame because of them.
Sometimes, you are who you are. There are things that can’t be changed and should be learned to deal with better rather than being hidden somewhere in your mind.
7. Always be yourself
Aim to express yourself in everything you do. Try to incorporate a little piece of your personality even in the simplest daily tasks.
Living life for yourself isn’t just about doing what you like, it’s also about making everything you do yours by putting yourself into it.
Choose to be yourself in every possible sense. There’s no one else you can be, after all. You’re unique and special. The world needs every kind of person to explore what’s been given to them as their personality.
Creativity, discoveries and growth all start with different thinking, an out of the box approach to life and willingness to take the road not taken.
This world hardly benefits from those who choose to follow a given path. Dare to be you, there’s a reason you’re the way you are.
8. Help your confidence blossom
Working on your confidence is a huge part of living your own kind of life. If you want to be ready to deal with the difficulties of choosing your own path, you have to be confident.
I know that you’ll question yourself constantly, thinking that you lack confidence because even you aren’t certain that your choices are right.
This is where you have to think back to why you started all this. Stop considering what others will think is right and choose what’s right for you at the moment.
Think only about what makes sense for your own life, don’t compare it to anyone else.
There are many things you can do to improve your confidence, so try everything you think might work for you.
9. Stop worrying about what others think of you
I was thinking about how social media has made us all slaves of other people’s opinions.
The further I went back in history, the more I realized that social media has done nothing but emphasize the issues we, as society, always had.
It’s completely natural to seek approval from other people, that’s not even the issue. I like to think of this as the biggest misunderstanding in civilization ever.
Let’s explore it. I worry about what you think of me, for example. The thing I worry about is hardly ever what you actually think about me. It’s what I think you think about me.
We all spend our life worrying about satisfying someone else’s criteria while everyone actually focuses on how others think of them and has little time to think about others.
Many lives get ruined because of this and it’s actually ridiculous how one misconception can impact so many lives.
10. Find your passion
If you don’t know how to answer my question about your personal needs, wants and desires, it’s time to explore that further.
Not everyone knows immediately what their passion in life is. Your passion can be in a certain field of work, art, raising a family or helping others…
Whatever it is, make sure it’s your own. The main thing in your life should always be what you do to satisfy that little voice inside you that pushes you to do just that because you desperately want to.
It’s not a given that you have to know what your passion is from the moment you start planning your life, so try different things.
11. Ultimately, looking after yourself is not selfish
Making sure you’re okay is not selfish. Minding your own business is not selfish. Deciding to live for yourself and actually living a life that fits your views is not selfish.
Don’t let anyone guilt-trip you into thinking otherwise.
Being an original thinker, an explorer and ultimately yourself is your duty, not something anyone gets to blame you for. Take pride in your courage.
You have one life, don’t waste it filling someone else’s shoes. Explore the world within and outside of yourself in any way you see fit.
Everyone has regrets, so try as hard as you can to have as few as possible.