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Realizing Your Self-Worth and Believing in Your Path

“Your outlook on life is a direct reflection on how much you like yourself.” ~ Lululemon

“My existence on this earth is pointless.”

That thought crossed my mind every night before I fell asleep.

It had been several months since I graduated from high school and I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. My future plans were falling to pieces, and everyone around me kept telling me that I needed to start accomplishing things that I had not yet accomplished.

I was not where I thought I should be in life. Everyone had expectations that I hadn’t met. I became too focused on becoming a version of myself that everyone else wanted, and I constantly compared myself to other people who had already taken the dive into the next chapter of their life.

I was relentlessly questioned and judged for my slower progression in life, which convinced me that no one supported me or believed in me. I wondered why I even bothered to exist if I was getting nowhere and disappointing everyone. I began to blame everyone but myself for the state of misery I had fallen into.

My self-esteem began to suffer as the months went by. I felt inferior to everyone and it made me hate myself. I still did not know what I wanted to do with my life—and I was starting to not even care.

But several months and hundreds of needless self insults later, I decided to block out the negativity, both from myself and other people. I silenced the voice in my head that told me I wasn’t good enough and asked myself what would really make me happy.

I’ve always been very creative and expressive. I used to sing, act, and dance when I was younger. But my favorite thing has always been writing.

Some of the happiest moments in my life came from opportunities to express myself or put my heart and soul out for everyone to see. Every path I tried to take always led me back to writing.

I got to a point where I realized that I was only trying to pursue other paths because I thought that’s what other people would accept. I was afraid that if I let my imagination soar to all the different possibilities, people would tear me down or tell me to be “realistic.”

The bottom line is that I became paralyzed with this fear of not being accepted. I was afraid to be different or go my own way and pursue what truly made me happy. I put myself in a box.

One day, I decided that enough was enough. I spent an entire year of my life trying to be “realistic” and conform to the expectations of other people. I realized that you can’t please everyone anyway, so trying will definitely not lead to contentment.

Real happiness comes from being content with and proud of yourself.

I finally decided that I was going to devote my time to learning about writing and working on my writing skills. I am happy with that decision and I feel better about myself because I made it for me.

I have learned a few things about choosing the right path for yourself, focusing on what will make you happy. If you’ve been struggling to make that choice, I recommend:

Drop your worries.

Worry puts a burden on your mind, body, and spirit. They can keep you up all night if you let them. Find comfort in the fact that everything happens for a reason and everything will fall into place at the right time.

During my period of low self-esteem and extreme uncertainty, I relentlessly questioned every aspect of my life. I would go to bed frustrated and upset as I told myself I wasn’t good enough, and that I wished I was like everyone else my age.

By constantly bashing yourself and worrying about every single thing that happens to you, you’re missing out on happiness that you could’ve had all along.

Do not try to please or impress anyone but yourself.

The need to impress, please, and compare ourselves to other people all the time is one of the most common causes of self-loathing. As long as you’re trying to please other people and live up to their expectations, you will not be pleasing yourself.

What I’ve learned is that happiness does not come from pleasing other people. Happiness comes from feeling content with your own life and goals.

Embrace your unique qualities and talents.

Everyone is different. Figure out what you’re good at and what sets you apart from everyone else. Your mission is to create a reason for being here.

Believe in your path.

When you start to figure out what you want in life, there will be obstacles. Do not let anyone or anything discourage you from continuing on. Believe in yourself and believe in your decisions.

Stay positive and keep moving forward.

Take your time.

Life does not come with a rulebook or deadlines for accomplishing certain things. I used to always think that I needed to be at the same level as everyone else my age. Life is not a race or a contest.

Have faith in the fact that you are exactly where you need to be at this very moment in time and as long as you’re content, don’t let anyone convince you that you’re not where you need to be. You be the judge of what you want to change in your life and then do it for you.

Surround yourself with positivity.

Try to limit the amount of time you spend with people who nay-say, judge, or ridicule. Choose to completely surround yourself with positive, inspiring influences. You will feel much happier and better about yourself if you do.

Make a list of sayings or quotes that make you feel encouraged or inspired and keep it where you can see it each day. Try putting the list under your pillow or on your refrigerator door.

The most important thing to remember is that you are worth it, you can go another day, and you can be happy. Life will not throw you anything you cannot handle or overcome.

Once you start to accept and love yourself and your desired path, the smoke will clear and you will breathe easy again. Be kind to yourself and life will be a whole lot brighter.

Photo by QuinnDombrowsky

Avatar of Madison Sonnier

About Madison Sonnier

Madison is a freelance writer and lover of animals, music, nature and creativity. You can follow her blog at http://journeyofasoulsearcher.blogspot.com/ and buy her first eBook through Amazon and other retailers. She loves making new friends, so be sure to say hi if you like what you see!

Announcement: Wish you could change your past? Learn to let go and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!
  • Aaaa

    Madison, Thank you for the article it pretty much sums up my life right now, i’ll try to get inspired by your suggestions..

  • Mark

    Excellent entry, good job.

  • http://liveohana.blogspot.com Ohana Mama

    I take issue with only one thing, Madison: You are not an “aspiring writer” as your bio says, you ARE a writer. :-)

    This is a very helpful reminder and reinforces the truths we often know but don’t live. Thank you!

  • http://unclutteredsoul.com cary

    Madison, Nice thoughts, equally inspiring at any age. Choices and struggles will always be part of the journey, and the world will demand your punctuality, but as you say “Life is not a race or a contest”. Profound words in a world that would love to leave you behind.

  • Madison Sonnier

    Thank you, Cary! I’m so glad you found it inspiring. :) 

  • Madison Sonnier

    Aww so sweet! I appreciate that. :D 

  • Madison Sonnier

    Thank you so much. I’m glad you liked it! 

  • Madison Sonnier

    I am so glad it helps you! Stay strong. :-) 

  • Shannon

    Madison, this is so beautiful. I was in your shoes. I pursued a career because everyone else thought I should. You asked yourself, “What do I want?” early on and are now following your bliss which is outstanding. I left corporate to write too and I have never been happier. Congratulations on being true to you. And thank you for sharing your beautiful story. There are some really great writer resources that helped me along the way. shewrites.com and herfuture.com. maybe you will dig.

  • http://softvoiceofafreespirit.blogspot.com Irene

    I love this post so much! I was teary-eyed while I was reading this as I feel like I am reading about myself. Thank you so much for this beautiful post! It gave me so much hope and encouragement!

  • Amy

    Fabulous. I always seem to find some sort of real, practical encouragement from the articles in Tiny Buddha, and this one is no exception. Thank you, Madison, for having the courage to be who you are and share your struggles in becoming that with us. It really does help!

  • Williamsiris921333

    Words are powerfull. It is the belief in “the wordwords” engraved in our heart, and mind that maps our path. Thank you … for Tiny Bbuddah:)

  • Madison Sonnier

    Ahhh Irene! That means so much to me. Thank you! :) 

  • Madison Sonnier

    You’re so welcome! Thank YOU. 

  • Madison Sonnier

    Thank you Shannon! I actually read your post on here and it was so inspiring. Most of us feel this need to live up to the expectations of others and we really don’t have to. Once I realized that, it was like a weight off my shoulders. Congratulations on all of your success, by the way. I’m glad you found your happy. :-) 

  • Mom of KK

    Exact advise I give my daughter everyday. Whatever she chooses to do with her life, she will be amazing at it. Sometimes you just have to give it up to a higher power, whatever you beleive that power to be. Keep sharing Madison. 

  • DOC

    I find it hilarious that you start this thing with a quote from a brand that I work with on a daily basis.  Do not be mislead.

  • Codrina

    THANK YOU!….

  • Raman Sahi

    This article totally signifies what I went through in my life. Thanks for the article.

  • Madison Sonnier

    I agree. And you’re welcome. :) 

  • Madison Sonnier

    Thank you! Such an amazing way to raise your kids. My mom raises me the same way. :) 

  • Madison Sonnier

    You’re welcome! :) 

  • Madison Sonnier

    Haha awesome. :) And thank you. 

  • Madison Sonnier

    Thanks for reading! Glad you can relate. 

  • http://saltwateracorns.blogspot.com Sarah Monster

    I’m really having a hard time with this right now. I think I need to stop following my blogs, and checking FaceBook so often, it’s really easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others. And when that worried mind kicks into full speed, taking a REALLY deep breath. With things like paper and homework assignment deadlines, it’s hard to say I can take my time. My biggest concern is, “if not now, when?” I waste so much time as it is, should I really be putting off more? It’s hard to find balance.

  • Jayakrishna Vijayan

    I love reading Tiny Buddha.. i become a fan of Tiny Buddha. You know, I open my mailbox sometimes so eagerly just to see tiny buddha daily email. 

    a reader from INDIA.
    thanks a lot. 

    Here i go.. a long way 

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I hope it’s okay if I jump in here. I couldn’t help responding to your comment. I am so happy to know you look forward to the Tiny Buddha emails! Thank you for being part of this community. =)

  • Madison Sonnier

    Hi Sarah!

    You don’t have to put anything off. You do what you have to do, but it’s also important to make time for yourself and the people in your life. It’s so easy to be swallowed up by work and school and forget about enjoying the simple things and taking a step back to reflect on the big picture of life. Take a little bit of time everyday to slow down and reward yourself for your hard work. You won’t be swamped forever. =) 

  • Michelle

    Madison, I’m in a black fog (as I call it) at the moment. The worrying, the negativity, comparing myself to others, wondering what is wrong with my life…well, that has been me for most of my life! I am now in a stage of my life where I’m trying to work out “what I want to do” not planning or thinking what do others expect me to do or what do I think they want me to do. Your words have helped me put things in perspective (once) again as I muddle my way my thoughts and feelings and try to learn to love and accept myself for me. Me. Just me. Thankyou for the inspiration and writing this on this fantastic site.

  • Madison Sonnier

    Thank you so much! I completely know how it feels to be in that black fog of feeling lost, sad, and not good enough. But you are good enough and no one else out there is exactly like you. I’m so glad you’ve reached the phase of trying to figure it all out and put everything into perspective. I hope all is uphill from there. :) Thanks for reading my post. 

  • Pav

    Thank you for the inspiration. Being different and going our own way can be very hard and it can be lonely but we owe it to ourselves to not give up looking for our true passion. Sending my positive energy and virtual hugs to all who feel they could use an encouragement on the way to find their true calling. And quoting Steve Jobs for more food for thought:

    ‘Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become.’

  • Cath Kenny

    Lovely read and all very true.. One thing you missed though, and this is not to be negative, is that some of those people who had already ‘taken the dive’ may have done so because of the pressures to conform, or maybe because that was what they wanted to do straight away. But in all cases, later in life they may find that, actually, they need to find their real passion, and they too, may need to re-evaluate their ‘success’. We are all changing and are all different, and its the journey not the destination that is the true mark of success! :-)

  • Madison Sonnier

    Well said! There’s nothing wrong with taking the dive if you’re ready and that’s what you want. I just didn’t know what I wanted at the time and felt like I had to be at the same level as everyone else because that’s what seemed acceptable. :) 

  • Madison Sonnier

    Love that quote. Steve Jobs was an amazing man. Thanks for reading my story! :) 

  • 2tylim

    Madison, awesome contribution here. I am in my late 30s and just finding myself. I have a much deeper understanding and appreciation of the power of self love and how it is the first key to doing and being magnificient and happy. I also believe that most people need reminders even if they may have heard things before and sometimes through repetition, we grow even more.

    I have just grown from your contribution. Thank you and may your life journey be full of love and courage.

    Ty Lim

  • Madison Sonnier

    I hope your life journey is full of love and courage too. Thank you so much! 

  • To_kid21

    i have lived everything you have described. and i am here as a positive living survivor of it all :) thank you for putting it into words.

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  • Madison Sonnier

    I’m so glad to here that! Thanks for reading :) 

  • Amaspiritartist

    Thanks I needed that!

  • http://droppingtheact.blogspot.com/ Taryn

    Very inspiring post. It resonates very clearly with me. I am currently transitioning and trying to remember what I want as opposed to what others expect. Writing had been the one thing that has kept me grounded and made me happy. It seems like you have found the same joy. Thanks for sharing your story.

  • Jenna

    Oh Tiny Buddha, your articles always have the best timing. I am literally living this right now. I’ve been out of college for over a year and I have never felt more lost and confused. I came to the realization that my major is not what I want to pursue. This past year, I have struggled to figure out what exactly I want to do with my life and have been working random part time jobs. I often stress myself out by comparing myself to my friends who are in serious relationships, living on their own, progressing in their careers, etc. Unfortunately, I still haven’t discovered what my path is or even a vague direction to head towards. However, I just try to tell myself that everyone has their own path and their own timeline. I may not be where my friends are or where I think I should be right now but one day my path will become clear to me.

    Thank you for this beautiful article, Madison.

  • Madison Sonnier

    YES. I felt the exact same way. Your time will come and it will be wonderful. Good luck with everything :) 

  • Madison Sonnier

    You’re very welcome. 

  • Madison Sonnier

    Thanks for reading! I honestly can’t really see myself doing anything except writing. It just makes sense to me. Always do what makes you happy. :) 

  • LadyTamborine

    Words can’t begin to express how many places this article hits home; personal, family, friends & even coworkers.  Bottom line…know your passion-your path and stick with it – don’t lose yourself.
    Thanks for the great post!

  • Brieanna

    Just read this and bawled my eyes out. I feel the same way right now. I have no idea what I’m doing with my life. :/

  • http://chieti.bbakeca.com/bakeca-donna-cerca-uomo/chieti-1 Donne single Chieti

    Great post!  Thanks for the advices….everyone needs some encouragement in difficult moments..

  • Charlotte

    Thanks so much posting this. I felt like this so many times before and I hope this will help me. And now I’m finally starting to realise that really everything happens for a reason!

  • Madison Sonnier

    :) 

  • Madison Sonnier

    It really does! I would have totally missed out on all of the awesome things that are happening to me right now if I would have gone down the path everyone else expected me to go down. I finally feel like I’m moving in the right direction. Always trust your gut! :) 

  • Madison Sonnier

    Aww <3 Everything will be fine. For a long time, I felt like I would never feel better and nothing would ever make sense in my life. But I DO feel better and things are starting to make sense now. The same will happen for you. You won't feel this way forever.   

  • Madison Sonnier

    Thank you so much for reading. I’m so glad it hit home for you :) 

  • Amelia

    I’m a senior in high school and I’ve been exactly how you’ve described…this helped me a lot. Thanks :)

  • http://mbmartin3.blogspot.com/ Mbmartin3

    I just wanted to let you know that this article opened my eyes. I just graduated high school, and I am a freshman in college now. I went to college because that’s what everyone my age is supposed to do, and I planned my major as environmental science because that is what my mom wanted me to do. I felt like everything I ever want to do it pointless and I’m not worth it. I used to dance, sing, and act when I was younger too, I did it all the way through high school. I know though that it is nothing I am really good at, I just enjoy doing them. Similar to you, I always went back to writing. Whenever I wrote stories or letters to people I would always get positive feedback. I have always wanted to direct and write movies, so because of this I am changing my major to Digital Cinema, and double minoring in Film Studies and Writing. I have been in a negative mood for about a month now, and I realized after reading this that its up to me to change that. I understand things take time, and the road isn’t always going to be easy, but as long as I am on a road leading to a destination I chose for myself I will be happy no matter the journey that leads me there. One day you will see a movie on the big screen that is written by me, and I wanted to thank you for being the nudge that woke me up and opened my eyes. I really appreciate it! Keep on doing what you’re doing, I can tell in this article that you are on the right path for you. Enjoy your life and all the great things life has to offer you. Take care
    Meagan Martin

  • http://iamabougiegirl.blogspot.com Bougie Girl

    I could totally relate to this post. I have walked a very non-traditional path much to the chagrin of some of my loved ones. Brava for writing this!

  • Madison Sonnier

    Thank you! 

  • Madison Sonnier

    This is the nicest and most insightful comment I’ve gotten yet! I’m so glad my article gave you the nudge to pursue what you really want. It can be so easy to see ourselves through other people’s eyes. “Why are you doing this? Why are you doing that? You’re supposed to be doing this. You’re supposed to be doing that.” But only YOU can know what is right for you and what will make you happy. I’m glad I didn’t rush into anything I felt unsure of. I feel so comfortable and happy on the path I’m on right now and that’s all that matters. And I can’t wait to see the epic movie you write someday. Keep writing! :) 

  • Madison Sonnier

    You’re welcome!! <3 

  • Sara

    I’m in a job that I do enjoy the work; however I’m in a place that I am not feeling appreciated.  It may  be that I have not yet come to the consiousness that may be may career is not one that fits me and that is why I do not feel appreciated.  Or it could be that I don’t feel the appreciation in my personal life.  Reading Tiny Buddha posts and going to yoga regularly is helping me find what it should be.  Thanks!  Any comments on what else may help is welcomed.

  • Madison Sonnier

    Listen to your gut :) 

  • http://testingtruechange.com/ David

    Thank you so much for sharing this, I really needed it :)

  • Madison Sonnier

    Thanks for reading! 

  • Lgkanary

    Thank you for posting this, it’s amazing. I followed my dream to become a mathematician and graduated a few days ago with a PhD in Applied Mathematics as a mother of two young children. Your blog speaks directly to my husband who is reading it now :)

  • Madison Sonnier

    Congratulations!! :) 

  • Tanya

    I love this post. Thank you x

  • Stefanie

    Madison, thank you so very much for sharing this. Your words are like balm to my soul considering I am struggling with the exact same issues in terms of realising my dream and where I want life to take me. Thank you thank you thank you!

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  • Leeannah92

    I loved what you posted it spoke to me as soon as I read it . I graduated from high school two years ago but my life can’t seem to go the way it should go . I went to university to peruse a degree in graphic design (the only art degree we have here in Belize).but i choose all the wrong subjects due to the school not having the course available so it turned out I had to take science, research, religion and English and math. I told myself that i would hold on in there till an opening appeared in the graphic design area.but i was working going back and forth to school was tiring . one of my teachers ever told me to go back to my English teacher for help i felt dumb and helpless I was failing every subject even ones I usually do good. I later gave up and started to work but , you can’t get a decent job with a high school diploma. My dream was to become an artist but my parents told me i need to get a real job .so I went to schoolto get a degree I didn’t achieve and now I ‘m a failure. 

  • UBE

    What an inspiring post! ;)
    THANK YOU!

  • Jillian

    Thank you so much for writing this!! you are amazing!

  • Xia

    Very I-N-S-P-I-R-I-N-G!! :D

  • Faye

    Thank you for your post. I’m a place in my life where I need to remind myself success is a journey not a destination.

  • Faye

    I’m at place in my life where I need to remind myself that there’s no time frame for success. Believing in myself has always been a struggle. Believing in others hopes and dreams has always been easy. Your post was definitely inspirational, thank you.

  • Faye

    I’m at a place in my life where I need to remind myself that there’s no time frame for success. Believing in myself has always been a struggle. Believing in others hopes and dreams has always been easy. Your post was definitely inspirational, thank you.

  • Christina Coleman

    Simply AMAZING

  • Mads

    Wow. This post perfectly describes what I am going through right now. Thank you for your words. It’s nice to be validated on my feelings and know that I’m not the only one.

  • jake

    Thank you so much for posting this, incredibly inspiring. You have encouraged so many people including myself. :-)

  • J

    Speaks volumes to me! For about a year I hated the fact I was a creative person rather then a “book smart” individual. It was so hard for me to find a career I would be happy with. I went to school to do somthing my parents approved because it was “safe”. I got stuck in a job I HATED after school. I now pursued my passion in photography again and my life has changed. I did it for myself and no one else. Only you can make yourself happy!

  • Nokthula

    Hi Madison, your post could have been written by me. Your words, thoughts are exactly what I have experiencing and just like you found happiness in writing so did I. Thank you for sharing this, I have bookmarked it to share with others in similar situation.

  • mosurh

    Thanks for this. I was feeling my lifes over and this comparison with peers and people junior to me doing way better than me has been keeping miserable.Your post is very inspiring!

  • RickyRubio

    Dear Madison, you post is inspiring and I am sure has helped many others. I do like to add another thought on my mind. It seems that I am going through a psychological puberty whereby my thirst has swifted for the past few years. I became a person who is a sports enthusiast and achiever into a young adult who is trying to get ddonw with school and strive for my career. Does 20 years old sound too young to be in any serious soul searching path? Just wanted your opinion. And will my diminshing fire in sports vanish in life?