Are you Living Your Life for Other People?
By Kelli Cooper for BounceBack.com
One of the keys to true happiness is living your life in the exact manner you wish. Doing things that make you happy, that feel right to you and are in line with your values and beliefs. While we can make this decision at any time, many of us fail to truly exercise our right to happiness and end up living our lives for other people. We let so many things stand in our way of living an authentic life true to who we are.
Depending on the family we have, the culture we grow up in and what not, we have been led to believe that there are just certain things that you just do, that are acceptable, that are right. Often times, these dictates are quite arbitrary but because they have been drilled into us so deeply, we begin to see things in terms of right and wrong, when the choice or action in question is simply a matter of preference. How many may have given up the love of their life because they were pressured into marrying someone of the same religion or race? How many reluctant people have made the life-altering decision to have children even if they were not sure or did not want to because everyone around them told them they were selfish and having kids is just what you do?
We also have fears of being labeled selfish and we do things to please other people, even if the things we truly want to do are far from actually hurting anyone. Our choices upset people, not because they are truly detrimental to them, but because doing what you want interferes with what they want and they do not like this. But, because you are the one doing the upsetting, you are wrongly seen as the selfish one. In these scenarios, it is the other people who have the problem because they are expecting people to sacrifice themselves for their happiness.
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We fear disappointing people so we do what we think would make them happy or would garner their approval - how many people were pushed into continuing the family business or pursuing some fancy career because it is what their parents wanted for them, thought was best for them? How many people gave up pursuing their dreams because their partner believed they should stop living in a fantasy world and get a respectable job like the rest of society and made this change a necessary condition of continuing the relationship?
If you are unhappy with any aspect of your life now, I ask you to honestly assess what led to the decisions that led to the life you are living now? Were they just poor choices that you made of your own accord or was your thought process influenced by what your family, friends and society at large would think of you or what they thought is appropriate? If so, take responsibility for your choices and the poor reasoning that led to them and make a commitment to create a better future. Start today, no matter how small a step it is.
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In some ways, living our lives for other people may seem easier. By making other people happy, you can avoid conflict and a lot of discomfort. You shield yourself from criticism. You avoid the uncomfortable moments that may pop up when pursuing what you truly want. You can avoid the pain that comes from deep self-examination to figure out who you are and what you want. But, this way of living is really not easier is it? You cannot escape your thoughts, feelings and the real you. You cannot fool yourself. If you have been living your life for other people, start living it for yourself. What other people think is irrelevant and anyone truly happy with their own life will not care how you live yours. There is no right or wrong way to live, just preferences. Do what makes you happy. It may be an uncomfortable journey at times, but what you gain is priceless.
BounceBack.com helps people find happiness in the right relationship. If you've been through a breakup, divorce, or just haven't been able to find happiness in your love life, BounceBack is a place to tell your story, get community support and advice from experts, and find the confidence and strength you need to move forward. Check out our Facebook page.
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