“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