Live for yourself.
This is a concept that sounds like it should be easy. Live fully: the way you want to, with no regrets and no drawbacks. Live to make yourself proud. Live to focus on the things that will better yourself. Live the values you believe in at your roots and at your core. Live for you, and you alone. Not for your friends, your parents, your boyfriend, your teachers, or your siblings. Live for yourself.
Seems obvious,right? Too often, however, we are guilty of living in the box other people, and sometimes even our own selves, put us in. We strive to live up to the expectations of others, or put our focus too much into other people. In doing this, we begin to lose ourselves and our own core values. Eventually, after living for other people for so long, it can be hard to trace back to who you are deep down.
It’s especially difficult in college.
Heading into college can be difficult; we, as young adults, are making one of the biggest transitions of our lives. When I entered my freshman year of college, it was a whirlwind of meeting new people, trying to do well in classes, and keeping up with the intense weekends of partying— all the while trying to maintain positive relationships with my new college friends, old high school friends, parents, long distance boyfriend, and siblings.
Through it all, I began to lose touch with who I really was by trying to please everyone around me. At times, I left my core values on the sidelines. Instead of remaining true to myself, I plastered on a fake smile and went along with everyone else.
It turns out that trying to please others really isn’t the best for your mental health.
My freshman year was really difficult. I never felt good enough for other people, and yet simultaneously also didn’t feel good enough for myself. After finishing that year, I took a deep breath, a big step back, and decided to stop living for the people around me. I decided to start living for myself.
I began to redefine who I was and what I believed in, and I made a pact to stick to those things and live by them. At the end of the day, you are the one person you are left with; and if you can’t be proud and happy with that person, you are bound to feel lost, just like I did.
How has living for myself changed me?
Living for myself meant rejecting a lot of the constant partying at school. It meant doing workouts that made me feel happy, not ones that I only did because I saw a fit girl on Instagram doing them. It meant becoming a vegetarian and eating with more balance. It meant cutting out toxic people in my life who I put too much focus into pleasing. And I may still be on the journey to living for me, and me alone– but so far I feel more like myself than I have in years.
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