Sure, it sounds simple enough; do what makes you happy and be done with all the rest. Easy right? Well, not always.
As much as we like to believe we don’t care what others think, we actually kinda do. We tend to factor other people into our life and our plans much more than we realize – sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously.
Whether it is literally working around their schedules and altering our lives to fit in with them or it’s simply letting others’ opinions impact on the decisions we make, we can often let our choices be influenced by the people around us – a lot more than we are consciously aware.
I always thought that I didn’t care what people think about me. I was always under the impression that I was truly confident in myself, comfortable in my own skin and wasn’t at all affected by the opinions of those around me. I genuinely believed that the only opinion that mattered to me was my own. But then, and only recently, I came to realize that other people’s opinions affected me more than I cared to admit (or even knew).
The particular moment in which I came to this conclusion was when I was mulling over my study options for the remainder of this year (which I spoke about previously here). I needed to decide whether to continue studying at the expense of my mental health and financial stability or to take a step back temporarily so I could focus on my health and wellbeing.
Of course the logical answer to put an end to all my woes was to give up studying for a while. It made sense that I take a break to look after myself, yet I somehow couldn’t bare to commit to that decision. I didn’t really know why that was either, until Jess asked me “What’s your reason for not giving up study for a while?”. My response: “I’m worried people will think I have given up.”
Talk about lightbulb moment! Even I didn’t realize that I felt that way. I was actually more concerned that people around me would think I was giving up or they would judge me for not following through, than I was concerned for my own self. How silly! Up until having that conversation with Jess, I was completely unaware that I was letting other people’s opinions impact on me so much, or at all.
And so the very moment I realized this, was also the moment I made my decision. I made that decision based solely on what was best for me – my happiness and my health. As soon as I stopped factoring in other peoples opinions or what I expected their perceptions to be, I knew what I needed to do. And of course, my happiness has flourished and my stress levels have dropped ever since.
Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t enlist the help and advice of others when it comes to making decisions (especially some of those tougher life-altering ones). Sometimes another person’s viewpoint is exactly what we need in order to get a little perspective on the situation at hand. But what I do mean to say is, do not let your happiness be ruled by others. Do not let fear of acceptance from those around you impact on the choices you make. Just do what makes YOU happy! Because ultimately that’s what matters most – your own happiness.
Other people’s opinions should never affect the decisions you make. It’s your life. Not theirs. Do what makes you happy.
I mean, how ridiculous to let other people dictate so much of what we do. Our own happiness should always come first. People will talk and have their opinions regardless. People gossip and speculate and we have no control over that. The only thing we do have control over is ourselves and our own actions.
Self approval is far more important than the approval of others. If you are doing what you love it really doesn’t matter what other people think anyway. If what you are doing makes you happy, nobody’s opinion should count. Look after yourself and your own happiness.
Do what makes you happy.
“It is not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself and to make your happiness a priority. It is neccessary”.
Love Elo xx