I was in a frustrating post-college season of life where I wanted to make a job change but was hesitant to.
What will people think? Shouldn’t I be able to handle the job I already have? Will people think less of me for making this change?
The stress of thinking I needed to prove myself to make everyone else happy kept mounting until finally, as I was driving home from my evening job one night, I blurted out loudly to myself, “You are the only one who’s ever going to live your life, and the only life you’re ever going to get to live is the one you have!”
I was so struck by the profoundness of the statement that came out of my mouth, I said it again.
“You are the only person who’s ever going to live your life, and the only life you’re ever going to live is yours.”
The reality is, there is always going to be pressure to measure up to someone else’s standards, be it the expectations of people or the accepted norms of culture. You’ll feel pressure to conform everywhere: in jobs, dating relationships, friendships, finances, your Facebook feed — you get the idea.
Despite being almost constantly surrounded by messages of what our lives should look like, I think a sign of becoming a healthy adult is being able to recognize when expectations are ruling our lives and being brave enough to remove them from their position of power.
What it boils down to is this. The only person who will ever have to see through your eyes, live in your skin, or experience the world with your specific mind and your specific past is YOU. While there is a time and place for external advice, it’s ultimately YOU who knows your needs, hopes, and goals best.
Why let anyone else who doesn’t have such an intimate understanding of you decide what the best course is for you to take?
It’s been a year since my epiphany that night while returning home from work. To this day, that one phrase is where I keep returning to every time I find myself at a decision-making crossroad. It’s a simple statement, but it’s truly changed the way I guide my life.
You are the only person who’s ever going to live your life, and the only life you’re ever going to live is yours.
Here’s permission to join me and start living like it.