How To Start Living for Yourself and Not Others

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This article discusses the importance of prioritizing your happiness and mental health over pleasing others, offers tips on how to start living for yourself, and helps you create a happy life.

We all know that one person. The one always puts others first and seems to have no time for themselves. They always put their needs last and are always willing to help anyone who asks. While this type of behavior is admirable, it can also be unhealthy. Have you ever felt like you're living for other people instead of living for yourself? If you identify with this description, it's time to make a change. In this article, we will discuss the importance of prioritizing your happiness and mental health over pleasing others, and offer tips on how to start living for yourself and create a happy life.

The Importance of Prioritizing Your Happiness

Your happiness should always be a priority. If you love helping people, you need to stay grounded in your mental well-being to handle the stress that comes with it. If you are not at your best, you can't focus on other people because you will be too busy worrying about your performance. In a way, it is like saving a drowning person. How can you expect to save the other person if you struggle to stay afloat? And if you don't have the strength to wrestle against the current, you will drown. So it's vital to always wear your life jacket before helping someone else. In everyday life, your life jacket is your health and your happiness.

Silencing Your Dreams Damages Your Mental Health

Constantly putting your dreams and goals on hold while others get ahead can be extremely aggravating. According to health correlation studies, individuals who rate high in self-sacrificing qualities tend to suffer from depression and other mental disorders. When you repeatedly put yourself in this position, you may eventually develop a learned helplessness behavioral problem in which you constantly self-sabotage your dreams in life.

Don't Live With Regrets

One of the main reasons why it's important to live for yourself is because you only have one life to live. If you want a long, happy life, you probably can't see yourself looking back on your life full of regret, wishing you had done things differently. You need to take control of your life and make the best decisions. You can't please everyone all the time, but if you're living for yourself, at least you'll be happy with the decisions you make.

Man with hard hat sitting inside a cargo container looking sad, tired, defeated, worried

Where To Begin the Changes

Now that we've discussed the importance of living for yourself, let's talk about how to change your self-sacrificing bad habits. Two general changes must occur to live a happier life: you must alter your mindset and put your thoughts into action.

Changing Your Mindset Regarding Your Life

Your mind plays a big role in preventing you from finding happiness. Here are some tips on rewiring your brain to become more compassionate towards yourself.

Acknowledge That You Deserve To Be Happy

Acknowledging that you deserve to be happy is the first step to a new happy life. If you don't believe you're worthy of happiness, you will always put other people's needs before yours. In our upbringing, we become skewed in our worth by society norms, and we learn to accept that we are not worthy. It is time to silence those toxic inner critics. You need to understand that it's okay for you to be a happy person.

Acknowledge That Living for Yourself Is Not Selfish

You may have doubts that you are being selfish. But it's not! If you are running on empty, how can you help other people? You can't pour from an empty cup. It's okay to put your needs first and do what makes you happy. Voicing your needs is also a necessity of a happy life.

Stressed exhausted woman sitting at office desk and working overtime, she is overloaded with work

Let Go of the Opinions of Others

"What would others think about you," haven't we all heard it at some point in our childhood? The guilt trip shaming that emotionally blackmails us into submission is still ingrained in our daily thinking. We all want to be liked and accepted by society. But guess what, haters will hate no matter how helpful or perfect you are. So, let go of other people's thoughts and do what makes you happy.

Don't Be So Hard on Yourself – Accept That You're Not Perfect

Another important thing to remember is that it is perfectly okay to be imperfect. With social media promoting perfectionism to a new toxic height, we are all pressured into thinking we must have everything picture-perfect. The truth is the opposite. We all have messy lives and make mistakes – that's part of being human. So, don't be so hard on yourself and learn to embrace your imperfection.

Be Okay That You Can't Juggle Everything

It's okay not to be able to juggle everything. You're only human, after all. So, if you need to take a break or admit you cannot handle the multitasking, do it. According to research studies, as it turns out, no one is good at multitasking. Those who seem like they excel at multitasking are simply putting more hours working than others. Your mental and physical health is more important than accomplishing other people's expectations.

Kickstart Your Way to a Happier Life

Now that you have a better mindset on living for yourself, it's time to start changing your life. The question is, where to begin? Here are some tips on how to get started.

Define What Living for Yourself Means to You

The first step in living for yourself is to define what that means to you. What do you want and need in life to feel complete? And what makes you happy? Another way to envision your perfect day is to think about what you would love to do if you had unlimited wealth and time? Make that vision as precise as possible. Once you clearly understand what living for yourself looks like, it will be easier to start changing your life.

Make a List of Things You Want To Do and Things You Want To Achieve

Another way to start living for yourself is to list what you want to do and what you want to achieve. The list can be anything from traveling the world to learning a new skill. Once you have a list of things you want to do, start taking steps towards achieving them.

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Start by Evaluating Your Priorities and What's Important to You

With so many times you want to achieve, it can be overwhelming to try and do them all at once. That's why starting by evaluating your priorities and what's important to you is important. What are your non-negotiables? What are your deal-breakers? Once you know what is most important, focusing on living for yourself will be easier.

Embrace Change – It's Inevitable, So Learn To Roll With the Punches

Change is inevitable, so learning to roll with the punches is important. Things will happen that you can't control, but how you react to them is up to you. Studies show that happier individuals tend to think positively about changes, while less happy individuals dwell on the negative aspects of change.

Don't Be Afraid To Break the Mold and Go Against What Others Expect of You

One of the most important things to remember when living for yourself is that you don't have to conform to the expectations of others. You can break the mold and do things your way. When you venture out of your shell, you may find some friends and family members disapprove of your new lifestyle. But that's okay. You're living for yourself, not them. Just like you, they are adjusting to your latest changes and how these changes affect their lives.

Set Boundaries With People Who Don't Respect Your Time or Space

Another important step in living for yourself is setting boundaries with the people in your life. A healthy relationship cannot sustain as one-sided beneficial to the other person. There should be a constant give-and-take between both parties. If someone is constantly disrespecting your time or space, it's important to set boundaries. Let them know what is and is not acceptable.

Spend Time With People Who Make You Feel Good About Yourself

Just as toxic people can cause emotional distress and harm your overall well-being, you can benefit greatly from spending time with people who make you feel good about yourself. These people accept you for who you are and don't try to change you. They make you feel good and help you be your best version. In a way, we change for the worse when we are in bad company, and we change for the better when in the company of people with admirable traits.

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Disconnect From Toxic Relationships

As an individual who rates high in self-sacrificing tendencies, you may find that some of your relationships with your friends and family are toxic on many levels. Instead of being treated with unconditional love and respect, you are held on a pedestal and expected to meet their unrealistic standards. At the same time, you are always giving, and they are always taking. If this is a constant pattern, it's important to disconnect from these toxic relationships. You don't need that negativity in your life, as continuous emotional stress can affect your physical and mental health.

Actively Engage in Positive Reinforcement

One of the biggest problems many self-sacrificing individuals make is limiting their potential by constantly shutting down possibilities and personal achievements. It is a great achievement to juggle so many things in life and be helpful to others. Not everyone can do what you do. Instead of belittling yourself for not doing enough, tell yourself, "I did a great job!" This constant self-positive reinforcement can help increase your self-esteem and remind you that living for yourself is just as important as living for others.

Reconnect With Yourself

One of the biggest problems many self-sacrificers face is putting all their attention and thoughts on others instead of contemplating their needs and goals. If this sounds like you, it's time for a change. Reconnect with yourself by taking some "me" time every day. It can be anything from reading a book, going for a walk, or taking a relaxing bath. The important thing is to do something that makes you happy and allows you to focus on your needs.

Say More "No" to Others

Achieving goals and learning about yourself can take a lot of time. So why waste your time doing something that does not align with your purpose and interest? According to studies and biographies of accomplished public figures worldwide, successful people say no to many of their offers. Time is precious. And investing in yourself with the most valuable thing in the world is only logical.

At first, saying no can feel like pulling teeth, but eventually, you will get better at it. If you have a problem flat out refusing a request, here are some polite ways you can use to help you say no without roughing someone's feathers.

Take Care of Yourself by Eating Healthy Foods and Getting Enough Exercise

Health is everything. Life is meaningless even when you have all the money and time in the world if you don't have a healthy body. When living for yourself, taking care of your physical and mental health is important. It includes healthy physical habits, such as eating healthy foods and getting enough exercise. It's also important to get enough sleep and take breaks when needed.

Multiethnic women going to park for fitness workout

Improve Your Emotional IQ

If you find that you are always putting others' needs before your own, it might be helpful to improve your emotional IQ. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage emotions in yourself and others. It also helps you stand against social pressure and build strong, healthy relationships.

Ask for Help and Delegate More Often

One of the most difficult things for self-sacrificers is delegating tasks or asking for help. You might feel you have to do everything yourself, but that's not true. Learning to delegate tasks and ask for help is an important skill that will allow you to focus on your happiness without feeling guilty.

An interesting thing about seeking help from your loved ones is that it can build a better relationship. When you delegate tasks, you are showing trust in the other person. This act of trust can help improve communication and make you feel closer to each other.

Seek Professional Help

In recent years, our society has acknowledged the importance of mental wellness and how much we all need professional help. If you find living for yourself is too difficult, do not be afraid to seek professional help. A therapist can assist you in exploring the root cause of your problem and give you the tools to deal with it. At the same time, it is a great benefit to offload your insecurities and doubts to a person free of judgment but full of understanding. Talking with a counselor or a psychologist can release a lot of tension and allow you to discover new paths to a happier life.

Self-Care Is Self-Love

It's important to show yourself some love and care for yourself. It can be anything from getting a massage to taking more work breaks. Whatever you do, make sure you're doing it for yourself and not for someone else. This motto also applies to your sex life. Make sure you're only having sex with someone because you want to and not because you feel like you have to. And a healthy dose of masturbation is part of self-care and self-love. If you think about how much healthy hormone pumps through our blood when we engage in sex, it is only logical that masturbation has plenty of benefits to offer.

Choose Inner Happiness Over Outer Success and Material Happiness

Success, money, and shopping can indeed give you happiness. But the joy achieved from these outer influences is short-lived. If you are looking for a happy life, look inside and dig deep.

In the end, it's more important to be happy than it is to be successful. Outer success doesn't mean anything if you're not satisfied on the inside. So, choose inner happiness over external success, and you'll live a fulfilling life.

As fashion legend Karl Lagerfeld says, "Don't use expensive clothes as a screen for your doubts. Be proud of yourself and not only because you wear expensive designer clothes. They are great, but lots of people are happy without them."

Find what makes you happy and proud, and do more of what you love. That is living for yourself.

Black man outside, stretching his arms behind his head, smiling, and taking in the clean air

Final Thoughts

Living for yourself is not selfish. It's one of the most selfless things you can do. When you put your happiness first, you're living life on your terms and setting an example for others to follow. So, don't be afraid to let go of the opinions of others and do what makes you happy. Seek professional help if you need it, and show yourself some love and care. Choose inner happiness over outer success, and live a truly fulfilling life.

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