It is hard being stuck between a rock and hard place! One day you are chugging along thinking you are living your life on your own terms then BAM somehow you find yourself worrying about what you want to do versus what others want you to do… You start thinking about this over and over until you realize you have been living your life based on the opinions of others… Don’t you think it’s time you start living for yourself?
I touched on this topic last week in my self-indulgent early birthday post. That at 36 I no longer give a flying $&*# what people think of me. I have spent 35 years of my life living for the opinions of others. I don’t want to spend the next 35 years doing that and I definitely don’t want you to either, Bestie!
Does this sound familiar?
Most of us have been putting other people’s needs before our own… Which is a wonderful thing to be selfless. But when does selflessness becomes a little too much altruistic. It becomes this routine of putting your wants and needs behind everyone else in your life.
All situations can be different…
You are a mother or a father taking care of the ones you love but slowly as the weeks, months or even years go by you lose yourself, you lose who you are as a human, as a person. You become unrecognizable to yourself when looking in the mirror.
You are a child who has a dream of becoming something more, but your parents want you to take over the family business or become a doctor. Whatever it may be.
Your friends don’t have your best interests at heart. Some of them may not want you to succeed because of their shortcomings.
Whatever the story is… We have all been there. In some way shape or form. If you haven’t you are lucky. but those of us who get it… know it’s time for us to take a step back.
What does it mean to start living for yourself?
In taking that step back you are letting your loved ones learn how to kind fend for themselves. It’s not that you don’t love them… it just means you love yourself more. There can be you the loving homemaker, mom, dad, or stepparent and then there is you as a person.
You as a person need to fill yourself with love and joy, self-respect. Living for yourself means you do things that inspire you, that inspire passion and creativity. You need to feel your cup and let it runneth over first before you can fill anyone else’s.
Living for yourself is doing things that make you… well, you. I can tell you from experience as a person who has been consumed with my family that losing yourself sucks. You end up putting yourself in this box where people just see you as a stepmom, as a girlfriend, a fiance.
When people ask you about yourself you don’t know how to describe yourself. Simple questions like what are your hobbies, favorite TV shows, movies become this list of all the things your significant other or children love.
So the meaning of living for yourself is not to stop doing the things you do for your family (unless that is something you want to do then by all means go on with your bad self)… Living for yourself means putting yourself first in the equation.
Is it selfish living for yourself?
Living your life for yourself may seem a little selfish in the beginning because you are not used to putting yourself first. If people want to think that you are being selfish… then own it. Because it is not selfish to worry about yourself before others. I know that can be hard especially when you are not used to it. But I promise you that it gets better.
When you take the time to change your mindset on doing things for yourself that is when you see it can be a good thing. Wynonna Judd said “You have to fill your cup. You then give away the overflowing, but you keep a cupful for yourself.”
Imagine those fancy champagne stack cups centerpieces. They fill the top cup to the point it is overflowing. Is all that overflowing champagne wasted??? No… It falls into the cups of others. So it is not selfish to fill up your cup. Fill it up so much that the overflow you have falls to fill up those around you.
Why is it important?
Because it just is okay! Lol But in all seriousness. Living for yourself is important. You are a person who has hobbies, who has interests and dreams before everyone else in your life had opinions about what you do.
I want you to know it is okay to have people “disappointed” in you. That is on them, not on you. You can’t control someone else’s feelings towards something you do. If it makes you happy then that is all that matters.
I think a lot of us don’t want to hear that someone is disappointed in us. But I think that stems more from us physically hurting someone. Living for ourselves doesn’t physically hurt other people. What it does do though is… It hurts their ego. It hurts the picture they made up about us in their head, but it doesn’t hurt them physically.
That is where you need to change your mindset. We can’t control what others think about us, but we can control how we react. Living life on your own terms should not be dictated by anyone if they are not actually living the life.
I live by the motto now if you are not paying my bills, in a relationship with me, or signing my paycheck then you don’t get to have an opinion. But I think RuPaul’s said it best…
How to start living for you and not others?
I know you didn’t think I was going to go through this how to start living for yourself spiel without giving you a little nudge in directions… especially if you have no freaking clue where to start. I have been there and done that honey!
First I would start with a little self-evaluation…
Learn more about yourself
Evaluate what you want
Figure out your needs
Stop with the negativity and guilt
Then put everything you have learned into action…
Make a plan
Learn how to say NO
Try new things
Create new hobbies
Find your passions
Do 1 thing a day that is just for yourself
Start living for yourself
I know this is all easier said than done. It doesn’t have to be done all in one go. Start small grab yourself a pen and notebook and ask yourself questions. Here are some good ones that have helped me A LOT!
- What are my strengths?
- What are my short-term goals? Long-term goals?
- What matters most to me?
- What do I like to do for fun?
- What new activities am I interested in or willing to try?
- What am I worried about?
- What are my values?
I stew on these questions for days and really think about myself as a person. I block out everyone else and focus on what my response would be. I think about who I was before… Before my fiance, my stepkids, before all the jobs. Who I was and what I believed in and what I did for fun.
If it is not who I am now at least it gives me a starting point to figuring out who I am now. I am not 100% living for myself but I am getting there. Sometimes you will slip back into old habits, but as long as you don’t stay there you are golden. Take your time, do what you need to when you are ready to do it. I am here if you need some support.
Are you filling your cup first before others? Let me know in the comments if you are living for yourself.
Until Next Time, Remember you are a badass!