It can be really hard for us to completely separate ourselves from others in our lives and fully live life for ourselves. As humans, we strive to gain the acceptance and satisfaction of others. We don’t like to let people down or disappoint anyone because we have an inherent need to be accepted and make people happy. As someone who would categorize themselves as a “people pleaser”, I have struggled with this so much throughout my life.
Growing up with my two siblings, I was always the “goodie goodie”. I was always the one who was extremely academically driven and excelled in school. I have always had goals and ambitions that I never hesitated to make clear to family members. With that came a lot of expectations placed on my life. I decided many years ago that I wanted to be a doctor, and I have been working towards that goal ever since. You may be asking yourself, “girl why do I care what you’re planning to do with your life”? And don’t worry—I am getting to the point. But because I created such a clear path for myself so long ago, I have had heavy expectations placed on my life. My siblings tell everyone they can that their sister is going to be a doctor one day. Every doctor appointment I go to with my mom, she will mention to them that I am in school to be a doctor. When my grandpa was sick and in the hospital, he told every nurse that walked in that his granddaughter is going to be a doctor one day. Don’t get me wrong, I love every single one of my family members, and I know they do these things because they love me and are proud of me for what I am doing and the goals I hope to achieve. But, it gets very intense sometimes. On top of the immense pressure I place on myself, I also bear the burden of the expectations and pressure my family and those closest to me place on me as well. I don’t want to let anyone down. Don’t worry—I am getting to the point of all this.
With all that being said, one thing I have learned in these past few years is that you need to live your life for you. I am going to say it again in case you didn’t hear me—LIVE YOUR LIFE FOR YOU. It is going to sound cliché but life's too short to worry about pleasing other people and placing your happiness in someone else’s hands. There are so many realms of our lives in which this idea holds true. In my case, I have decided that I need to take time between undergrad and medical school. This has definitely been hard for my family to accept and fully understand. For you, maybe you’ve sat staring at an Instagram post too long because you are worried about what people are gonna think. Maybe you want to change your major in college, but you are scared of what your parents might say. Maybe you want to change your style but think people will judge you. Maybe you don’t support popular opinions, but don’t want to make your voice heard because you are scared of backlash. There are endless possibilities. Like I said in the beginning, as humans, we have an inherent desire to fit in and be accepted. We want people to like us. You may be someone who acts big and bad or puts on a front that you don’t care what people think or say, but we all know that deep down, you really do. What I am trying to say is, don’t.
Stop caring what other people say or think. Let go. Live your life in whichever way makes you happy. Wear that outfit. Post that post. Say what you want to say. Start that small business you’ve been thinking about. Change your major. Take a gap year before graduate or pre-professional school. Do what makes you happy. Stop hindering your truest potential for other people. Stop placing your happiness in someone else’s hands. Stop giving people power over your life. At the end of the day, we only get one life. Live your life in accordance with what makes you the happiest. Live your life for you.