Why You Need to Stop Doing Everything for Everyone and Start Living for Yourself
By Berta Melder
Sometimes we may not notice how much effort we put into pleasing others. We tell ourselves that their needs are more important than ours and justify all their actions. If this situation looks familiar to you, it means that you are likely searching for acceptance and validation, forgetting about who you really are.
Searching for somebody else's approval may turn out to be an exhausting task. We never know for sure what somebody thinks of us. You can spend the whole life trying to get approval from everyone around you, but is it what you really need? There's nothing wrong with helping others, but it's important to know when to stop. Perhaps, you feel happy when people around you feel the same. Perhaps, you highly value somebody else's opinion, but what about your own needs and your life? Making people happy is good, but it's certainly not your job. You need to leave more time for yourself and think what is good for you, not for somebody else.
Why You Need to Start Living for Yourself
Most people who do everything for everyone are just afraid of being rejected, they don’t want any conflicts. They are afraid to put their own needs before somebody else's because they don’t want to look selfish, which is not quite correct. This problem has its roots in the lack of self-confidence and self-respect. Many people feel anxious and stressed out trying to figure out what to do. They have their wishes and needs, but cannot stop looking at others and judging their own decisions, trying to be friends with everyone. The truth is, if some strategy makes you anxious, you must consider changing it. The will to please can quickly become a sort of disorder that makes your personality dissolve in someone else’s demands.
Just look around and you'll see many people who are not concerned about what others think. They say and do what they want, and don’t really care what others say. Nevertheless, these people are usually respected and popular. The thing is, they respect themselves, and others see it. If you want to change your life for the better, you need to understand that standing for yourself is a reason why people like and respect you, not a problem that prevents you from success. You need to learn to say no.
Trying to please everyone around, you attract people less. They see you as a weak person, and let’s be honest — you feel it. They may take advantage, but they don’t treat you as equal and search for friends elsewhere. In turn, you feel less lovable and try even harder, constantly increasing the gap between what you want and what you actually do. Others don’t see you as a trustful person because they understand that you are being false, hiding your own wishes and opinions. Such a behavioral strategy will only kill your self-esteem, and its outcome can be the exact opposite of what you’re looking for. However, it’s never too late to reconsider your relationships with others and start living for yourself. Here are a few useful tips for you...
- Know who you are
Your self-identity is the first thing that determines the quality of your life and your relationships with the people around you. If you don’t have a strong sense of self, others can easily manipulate you and affect your choices. Think of what you like and what characterizes you as a person. Act like you want, not like others want you to.
- Don’t be afraid
Any serious changes require you to stop worrying and just do the first step. Perhaps, you are used to living in doubts, but if you want to find your own path, you need to leave such a “comfort zone” where all your decisions are determined by somebody else’s opinion. Maybe you don’t know where your decisions are going to lead you, but it’s not something to be afraid of. You can always change your plans because you are the one who is responsible for your life.
- Love yourself
Yes, it’s so obvious, but it’s really important. Nobody will love you if you don’t. Imagine yourself your best friend and treat this person with respect. If you want a better life, you should realize that you deserve it.
- Be honest with yourself
Ask yourself, are you really happy with your life? Did you choose this job because you like it or because everyone else says it’s good? What about your friends? Are they people who appreciate you? Can you rely on them? Don’t be afraid to answer these questions honestly.
- Don’t worry about being right
Nobody is always right. This is especially important when talking about work. Perhaps, your boss may get mad when you forget about something or fail some task. However, ask yourself, was this fault indeed so critical? Does it affect your life in a long-term perspective? We all do mistakes, and you don’t need to prove your perfection to anybody. Moreover, sometimes our mistakes only make us stronger. In the worst case, if somebody says “I told you so” — just ignore it. You’ve already learned your lesson, and it doesn’t matter what somebody thinks about it.
- Start doing what you always wanted
Everybody has a list of things that have been postponed until later, and that “later” never comes. If you always wanted to visit another country, call your old friend, start writing a book, or learn to dance — just do it. Your life won’t change if you don’t let it change.