Are you worried about satisfying other people? Do you often put others’ needs and aspirations before yours? Do you think someone else can make you happier?
Stop for a second and think about this; when was the last time you considered your own needs without worrying about what others – including society – would rather have you do?
Since you’ve landed on this page, the answer is probably a while ago. You might not even remember when!
Now, life is too short to be on someone else’s path. And that’s exactly why it’s so important to learn how to live for yourself and live the life you love. At the end of the day, you are the one with you the most.
In this blog post, we’ll define what living for yourself means and explain why you should live life to the fullest. And to help you write your own story and fully embrace your life, we’ll then highlight five ways to start living for yourself.
What Does Living For Yourself Mean?
Living for yourself is all about loving yourself and the life you’ve created–living your best life.
Living for yourself means living a life where you enjoy every aspect. You have a life that brings joy. A life you feel aligned with and that you’re proud of.
Living for yourself means not living to please others and meet their expectations. It means not setting your goals or aspirations based on what others want you to do. It means not living a certain way because you want to fit into society. It means being perfectly content with your own company without needing anyone else to feel complete.
And it also means living an authentic life where your true self shines, and you don’t need to wear a disguise, pretending to be someone you’re not. Living for yourself means doing what makes YOU happy regardless of what others think.
Living for yourself isn’t a selfish approach to life. In fact, quite the opposite. After all, how can you care and love others if you don’t love your life and yourself first? To be able to give to others, you first need to do the things that make you happy and bring out the best in you. As you show yourself compassion, you’ll show others compassion.
Why Should You Live For Yourself?
Living for yourself has many benefits, including helping you develop and, as mentioned in the previous section, become the best version of yourself and lead a happy life.
But that’s not all.
Learning how to live for yourself can help you with:
Improving your productivity
When you start saying “no” to the things that don’t matter to you, you’re making time for what does. Ridding yourself of all the commitments to others that don’t bring you joy allows you to have more time to focus on the things that matter, like your goals. It allows you to declutter your mind, free up some mental space and better focus on what you want to achieve. And you’re also more focused on the things you do as you do them, which, in turn, helps you improve your productivity.
Developing your self-esteem
Living for yourself and putting your own needs first sends a positive message to your subconscious. More specifically, living for yourself allows you to treat yourself as if you have intrinsic importance and value. And this can go a long way in discouraging negative self-talk and your critical inner voice.
Increasing your self-awareness
Choosing your path and living your life on your own terms requires thinking about what you really enjoy doing. Determining what excites and inspires you can help you better understand yourself. Sometimes, it can even trigger a career change or prompt you to completely rethink your priorities.
Better connecting with others
While living for yourself is important to live a happy life, so is having social interactions. After all, ‘’man is a social animal’’. What’s more, as human beings, we connect through sharing stories and supporting one another. Research has even found that helping others can significantly boost happiness.
Now, one of the great things about living for yourself is that it allows you to focus on your inner being and understand yourself, your values and what makes you happy. But this takes work. And this work you’re doing on yourself will give you the resources you need to empathize, connect with others and thrive. Most importantly, it will also help you understand what kind of people you want to connect with and surround yourself with.
You’ll spread kindness and happiness to others when you practice meaningful living for yourself. They’ll be inspired to work on living out their lives too. When everyone wins, we all feel good.
When Should You Consider Others?
The short answer to this question is the famous quote from Alfred George Gardiner ‘’a person’s freedom ends where another man’s freedom begins’’.
Yes, life is short. But while you should always chase your dreams and not let anyone stand in the way of your happiness, you shouldn’t do it at the expense of social and moral obligations.
After all, there are over 7.7 billion people on the planet. And without rules, there’s chaos. That’s why rules and obligations matter. They allow us to co-exist in a stable and safe environment leading to peace, order and harmony.
For instance, let’s say that your closest friends and family are always here for you no matter what. They might have consoled you in the past when you were going through a rough patch. And they probably celebrate with you every time something good happens.
Sure, there are no written moral rules about friendship and family. Yet, there is a sense of accountability to be there for them too when they need you, even though it means that you have to stop focusing on your own happiness for a while and let them share their burden.
Also, living for yourself is not a good thing if your actions can have terrible consequences and harm others. If that’s the case, you should consider others first, even if doing so means preventing you from achieving your goals or dreams. Rules exist to mitigate the risks of making decisions that could be terribly harmful to others.
Here’s an example. Let’s say that you want to go on a night out with your friends. You want to drive to the club because it’ll make your life much easier and save you money. But you know you’re going to have a few drinks too. In that scenario, you live for yourself, the way you want, without worrying about what others think or how harmful your actions could be to others. This is an instance where you shouldn’t put your own needs first.
6 Simple Ways To Live For Yourself
Practice Guilt-Free Self Care
Have you ever noticed how flight crews ask you to put your oxygen mask on first before helping others during safety demonstrations?
As a parent or carer, it might sound selfish. But how are you supposed to care for others if you’re not breathing anymore?
Self-care is not selfish. It allows you to re-energize and become the best version of yourself. Identifying your own needs and setting a plan to fulfill them is a basic human right. Yet, too often do we tend to put others’ needs first and forget ourselves and our own needs in the process.
Some self-care tips include:
- Doing things you enjoy
- Spending time with people who make you feel great
- Finding your passion and chasing your dreams
- Setting your goals and taking action to reach them
- Making healthy lifestyle choices
- Practice gratitude and forgiveness
- Speaking positive affirmations
- Enjoy moments of mindfulness
- Spreading positive emotions
- Be happier and smile more
When you start the day with a smile on your face, when you start enjoying what you do, and when you start loving yourself and your life, you start living for yourself.
Spend Time Doing The Things You Love
You only have one life, and you know it. So, why would you allocate your precious time to doing things you don’t want to do?
Sure, sometimes you don’t have a choice. But most of the time, you do. After all, you’re the master of your own life.
Perhaps, you’re burdened by professional and social commitments and feel in a bit of a rut.
For instance, you might have accepted a job you really don’t enjoy that much because you needed to pay the bills. But what’s to prevent you from looking for your dream job on the side. One that you’re truly passionate about?
Are you feeling stuck because the job you’re passionate about isn’t as socially acceptable as the one you have, and you’re worried others will judge you? Or perhaps others tell you that you should be happy to have a job and that we don’t always get what we want in life, instilling
fear and leading to complacency?
If you want to know how to be happy, you need to let go of all the background noise and focus on doing what you love. Whether in a professional capacity or on a more personal front, spending time doing what you love is the true path to happiness.
Don’t feel like going to the movies with your friends and would rather spend the evening painting the beautiful flowers you have in your garden? Don’t want to go to a family dinner and would prefer to read a good book?
If you really want to start living for yourself, you know what to do! Living life to the fullest means spending some time doing the things you love.
Give Unconditional Love
“If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” – Chinese proverb
When you’re kind to others and give love expecting to receive the same in return, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment, resentment, and frustration. And you’re also sowing the seed for future negative thoughts.
The truth is that giving is much more rewarding and enjoyable than receiving. As mentioned earlier, research shows that giving is key to long-lasting happiness and personal growth. Giving love and being kind to others without expecting anything in return can be hard.
Yet, as part of learning how to live for yourself, remember that you should be filled with happiness whenever you do a good deed and shouldn’t need anything back in return. When you expect something in return, you live for others. But when you don’t, you start living for yourself, finding fulfillment in what you do rather than finding satisfaction in what others do.
Don’t Let Others Bring You Down
Have you ever had a conversation with a friend or family member and felt really low and depleted after talking to them? Perhaps you even felt bad about yourself at the end of the conversation?
Some people are negative or difficult. It’s just in their nature, and there isn’t much you can do about it except to remove them from your life. Sure, it might sound harsh. But learning how to live for yourself implies learning your worth. And it also means learning how to be self-reliant and finding comfort in yourself.
You don’t need anyone else to be complete, and you certainly don’t need negative or toxic people around you. So, if you’ve been holding onto toxic relationships because you were afraid to be lonely or felt compelled to, remember that you don’t need anyone but you. When you live for yourself, you have a choice — the choice to surround yourself with positive people who bring you joy and fulfillment.
Avoid Comparing Yourself To Others
Comparing yourself to others is the best way to live someone else’s life. That’s because you’re always trying to keep up with others instead of focusing on yourself and what you really want. In some instances, you might even hide your true self and pretend to be someone else to fit in.
The reality is that you’re on your own path, living your own life. You’re your own person with your own challenges, passions, and aspirations. And comparing yourself to others will only bring anxiety and negativity to your life and prevent you from thriving.
So, drop the comparison and focus on your own growth and journey. Once you stop comparing yourself to others, you’ll start living for yourself, and your progress and achievements, no matter how small, will bring you joy and fulfillment.
Don’t take a moment for granted. Be grateful for every moment–everything you have and all of the beauty in the world. Where you focus your attention becomes where you live.
Things can always be worst. Look for the simple things in life–gestures of kindness and quiet moments.
Living for yourself is the best way to lead a happy life. It’s a mindset. Consciously work to live a better life for you and you’ll naturally give back to others.
Live a meaningful life that fits you. Take action to take care of yourself–love yourself. Love the life you live in its fullest. It’s your best life and only life. So, know your purpose and stand by it. Be adventurous and take risks. Avoid routines that keep you stuck.
You have a life worth living. So, never feel guilty or even scared of living your life on your own terms. Be confident in our choices and embrace them! And if there’s one thing you should take away from this article is that life is full of surprises and an exciting journey awaits, so stop thinking and start living.