When you’re in your twenties, you can sometimes feel pulled in multiple directions.

There are all these paths you can take – going to school for something you want to do versus what would be more practical, picking up any job you can or holding out for your dream job, getting married as soon as you feel like the relationship is right versus holding out a little longer to see if it’s actually a good fit or eschewing relationships all together, living at home or trying to move out as quickly as possible – and different motivations can pull you down those paths.

Sometimes those motivations are driven by outside influences: society is telling you to go to school for something that pays well, all of your friends are getting married so you feel pressured to as well, etc. Other times you are self-motivated: you’re following your passions and holding out for your dream job, you’re handling your relationships your way, etc.

Most of the time, the self-driven motivations are more fulfilling.

Living Life for Yourself Mantra #1: I can be selfish and I am allowed to put myself first.

Life Mantra 1

You are the only person that you will be stuck with your whole life. You and you alone will be there through it all and and you will be the only one who stays with you. And you are the most important person in your life. I’m giving you permission to be selfish and put yourself first.

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Life Mantra #2: This is my life and I will live it the way I want to.

Life Mantra 2

If you’re not happy, stop. If you feel uncomfortable, stop. If you don’t want to do something, don’t. That’s not to say there won’t be consequences down the line for not doing something, but you shouldn’t feel obligated to do something that just isn’t jiving with you.

You have every right to end toxic relationships, quit unfulfilling and infuriating jobs, or change your major to something you’re really going to enjoy. It’s your life, live it the way you want to.

Life Mantra #3: I am in control of my life and the paths I choose to take.

Life Mantra 3

It’s often easier to go along with something someone else wants you to do, even if doing that thing makes you uncomfortable, frustrated, or feel like the pieces in your life aren’t quite fitting right. It’s easier to power through the uncomfortable to make someone else unhappy, even if our own happiness suffers in the meantime.

And, when you do start living for yourself and saying no or turning your back on people and values you don’t believe in, it’s just as easy to feel guilty. Guilt breeds regret, breeds anxiety, and can be a driving force to send you running back to the paths that others want you to follow. It’s hard to push through those feelings until you reach the point where you’re fully reaping the benefits of living for yourself.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” The same goes for living for yourself. Every minute spent doing something someone else wants you to do that you don’t, is a minute you’re robbing yourself of control in your own life. But the second you start living for yourself, making choices that you want to make, and doing the things you want to do, you’ll be happier and, at the end of your life, you’ll be glad it was yours and not anyone else’s.