For most of my life, I’ve tried to stay out of everyone’s way and not bring attention to myself. I didn’t think I deserved to occupy space, so I might as well make way for others. Naturally, as I grew up, this completely debilitated my self-worth and made me believe I wasn’t important. I hated feeling this way, but couldn’t figure out how to fix it. I recently had a rude awakening when I thought to myself: “If I die tomorrow, would I be content with how I carried myself on Earth?” The answer is unequivocally… no. I can never manage my time, I don’t know what my life’s purpose is, and I’m not assertive enough to say what’s on my mind.
Coming to this realization angers me; why can’t I do anything right? Why do I constantly devalue myself by putting others first? Unfortunately, reversing these habits is a painstakingly long and hellish process, but I know it’ll be worth it in the end. I’ve been taking it day by day, whether it be subtle or overt decisions that prioritize me. Too scared to send a risky text to your crush because of the fear they might reject you? Been there. I always remind myself that it’s better to have an answer than wonder “what if?” To me, not knowing what could’ve been is the most terrifying thing.
It’s hard to stop giving a fuck about people’s opinions. That’s when I remember I’ll always be my worst critic. Everyone is too busy worrying about what’s going on in their lives, so why not wear the outfit that I think is cool, or call someone out when they say something problematic? As long as I am genuine in my actions, that’s what matters. I recently heard about the two ways we can choose to live, either a goal-driven or value-based life, and think it’s an important mindset to adopt. With goals, you’re constantly checking things off a list: “Once I lose these ten pounds, I’ll feel so much healthier and prettier” or “Once I get this A, I’ll feel smart.” Though it’s great to achieve these milestones, getting lost in this mindset doesn’t allow you to celebrate the present; instead, you’re delaying your happiness. When you live a value-based life, however, you try to be the best version of yourself by being more compassionate, confident, or whatever other quality you may feel you’re lacking in. This way, you can appreciate everything around you.
[bf_image id="wwmh487vnsmz2hpjqxqkkxnn"] These are lessons I’ve started to embrace as I’ve had more time to think to myself. If you’re also going through the same thing, just know you’re not alone. The answer to truly loving yourself means not neglecting your needs for temporary validation from others.