living for yourself

Living for Yourself: 7 Ways To Take Back Your Life

Living for yourself has got a reputation for sounding bad. It seems to suggest that you’re being selfish if you chose to live for yourself.

Living for yourself is a concept that revolves around prioritizing your own happiness, needs, and desires. It’s about making decisions based on what truly fulfills you, rather than what others expect from you. 

This doesn’t mean disregarding the feelings and needs of others, but rather, it’s about finding a balance where you can take care of yourself while still being considerate of others. 

The importance of living for yourself cannot be overstated. It’s the key to personal fulfillment, happiness, and a life that feels genuinely yours.

So how do you live for yourself the right way? This article will look at 7 ways to live for yourself, to benefit you, and those around you.

The Journey of Self-Discovery

Starting on a journey of self-discovery is an important step in living for yourself. This journey involves understanding who you are at your core – your passions, values, strengths, and weaknesses. 

It’s about peeling back the layers of societal expectations, pressures, and norms to reveal your true self.

The process of self-discovery isn’t always straightforward. It requires introspection, honesty, and courage. It’s about asking yourself hard questions, challenging your beliefs, and stepping out of your comfort zone. 

It’s about trying new things, meeting new people, and opening yourself up to new experiences. Experiences and self-exploration play a significant role in self-discovery. They provide opportunities for learning, growth, and understanding. 

They help you understand what you like and dislike, what excites you, and what you’re passionate about. They help you discover your purpose and what truly matters to you.

1. Embracing Individuality and Self-Acceptance

living for yourself - paper planes mostly in white with one red paper plane flying ahead

Each one of us is unique, possessing a distinct blend of character traits, talents, passions, and perspectives. 

This individuality is what makes us who we are. It’s what sets us apart and makes us unique. 

Embracing this individuality is an important aspect of living for yourself. It’s about acknowledging your uniqueness and expressing it healthily without fear of judgment or rejection.

However, embracing individuality isn’t always easy. It requires self-acceptance, which is the ability to accept yourself as you are, flaws and all. 

Self-acceptance is about acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses, your successes and failures, your perfections and imperfections, and still choosing to love and accept yourself. It’s about recognizing that you are enough just as you are.

Self-acceptance plays a significant role in living for yourself. It allows you to be true to yourself, to live authentically, and to make decisions that align with your values and desires. It frees you from the need for external validation and empowers you to live a life that is genuinely yours.

How to embrace individuality and self-acceptance

Embracing your individuality and practicing self-acceptance are not just concepts, but they can be practically applied in your daily life. Here are some ways to do so:

  1. Self-Reflection: Spend time alone to understand your thoughts, feelings, and desires. Journaling can be a great tool for this. Write about your experiences, dreams, fears, and achievements. This will help you understand your unique perspective and appreciate your individuality.
  2. Affirmations: Use positive affirmations to boost your self-acceptance. Repeat phrases like “I am enough”, “I accept myself as I am”, and “I am proud of who I am”. This can help reinforce positive self-perception and acceptance.
  3. Express Yourself: Find healthy outlets to express your individuality. This could be through art, music, writing, fashion, or any other form that allows you to showcase your uniqueness.
  4. Set Personal Boundaries: Learn to say no when something doesn’t align with your values or needs. Setting boundaries is a way of respecting and honoring your individuality.
  5. Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself when you make mistakes or face setbacks. Understand that everyone has flaws and it’s part of being human. This promotes self-acceptance.
  6. Surround Yourself with Positivity: Spend time with people who appreciate and respect your individuality. Positive reinforcement from others can boost your self-acceptance.

2. The Power of Positive Self-Talk

living for yourself - woman hugging herself

Self-talk is the internal dialogue that goes on in your mind. It’s the thoughts you have about yourself and the things happening around you. 

These thoughts can be positive or negative, and they have a significant impact on how you feel and behave.

Continued negative self-talk can be detrimental. It can lead to low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. 

It can hold you back from pursuing your goals and living for yourself.

On the other hand, positive self-talk has the power to uplift, motivate, and empower you. It can boost your confidence, improve your mood, and enhance your overall well-being.

The power of positive self-talk in living for yourself cannot be overstated. 

It can help you overcome challenges, achieve your goals, and lead a happier and more fulfilling life. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Positive thinking helps with stress management and can even improve your health.” So, cultivate positive self-talk, for it is a powerful tool in your journey of living for yourself.

Practical application of positive self-talk

Harnessing the power of positive self-talk can significantly impact your mindset and overall well-being. Here are some practical ways to incorporate positive self-talk into your daily routine:

  1. Awareness: The first step is to become aware of your self-talk. Pay attention to the things you often say to yourself. Are they positive or negative? This awareness is the first step towards changing your self-talk.
  2. Challenge Negative Thoughts: When you catch yourself thinking negatively, challenge these thoughts. Ask yourself if what you’re thinking is really true, and if there’s a more positive way to look at the situation.
  3. Use Positive Affirmations: Develop a list of positive affirmations that resonate with you. These could be statements like “I am capable”, “I can handle whatever comes”, or “I am worthy of good things”. Repeat these affirmations to yourself daily.
  4. Practice Gratitude: Cultivating a sense of gratitude can help shift your focus from negative to positive. Make it a habit to list down things you’re grateful for each day.
  5. Surround Yourself with Positivity: The people and environments you surround yourself with can influence your self-talk. Surround yourself with positive people and environments that uplift you.
  6. Seek Professional Help: If negative self-talk is causing significant distress or if you’re finding it difficult to shift to positive self-talk, consider seeking help from a mental health professional.

3. Sticking to Your Morals and Standards

living for yourself - silhouette of woman meditating on a hill

In the journey of living for yourself, your morals and standards serve as your compass.

They reflect your values, beliefs, and principles, guiding your decisions and actions. 

It’s about standing firm in your beliefs, even when faced with pressure or temptation to compromise.

However, sticking to your morals and standards doesn’t mean sacrificing your happiness for the sake of success or vice versa.

It’s about finding a balance where you can achieve your goals and aspirations without compromising your values or personal happiness. 

It’s about making decisions that align with your morals and standards and also contribute to your happiness and fulfillment.

Self-acceptance and self-love play a significant role in sticking to your morals and standards. Self-acceptance allows you to acknowledge and embrace your values and beliefs without judgment or criticism.

Self-love empowers you to prioritize your happiness and well-being and to make decisions that align with your morals and standards. So, stick to your morals and standards, for they are the foundation upon which a fulfilling life is built.

Practical steps to living your morals and standards

Here are some practical ways to uphold your morals and standards in your daily life:

  1. Identify Your Core Values: Spend some time reflecting on what is most important to you. What principles guide your life? What do you stand for? Identifying your core values is the first step in sticking to your morals and standards.
  2. Set Boundaries: Once you’ve identified your values, set boundaries that align with them. This could mean saying no to things that go against your values, even if others are doing them.
  3. Practice Integrity: Make sure your actions align with your values. If you believe in honesty, be honest. If you value kindness, be kind. Living in alignment with your values is a clear demonstration of your morals and standards.
  4. Surround Yourself with Like-Minded People: The company you keep can influence your ability to stick to your morals and standards. Surround yourself with people who respect and share your values.
  5. Stand Up for What You Believe In: Don’t be afraid to stand up for your values, even if you’re standing alone. It can be challenging, especially if your values go against the norm, but standing by your morals and standards is a crucial aspect of living for yourself.
  6. Regularly Reevaluate Your Values: As you grow and evolve, your values might change too. Regularly reevaluate your values to ensure they still align with who you are.

4. Overcoming the Fear of Judgment

One of the biggest barriers to living for yourself is the fear of judgment. This fear can hold you back from expressing your true self, pursuing your passions, and making decisions that align with your values and desires. 

It can keep you trapped in a life that is dictated by the expectations and opinions of others. Overcoming the fear of judgment is not easy, but it is possible. Here are a few strategies:

  • Self-acceptance: Accept yourself as you are, flaws and all. Recognize that everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and that’s what makes us human.
  • Self-compassion: Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would extend to a friend.
  • Mindfulness: Practice mindfulness. Stay present and focus on the here and now, rather than worrying about what others may think.

Related: Why Is Everyone So Mean to Me? 11 Reasons Why

5. Setting Personal Goals and Priorities

living for yourself - a goal drawn on a piece of paper, a hand holding a tick in the centre

Setting personal goals and priorities is a crucial aspect of living for yourself. 

It’s about deciding what you want to achieve in life and what matters most to you. 

It’s about setting a direction for your life and making decisions that align with that direction.

Personal goals and priorities guide you in living for yourself. 

They provide a roadmap for your life, helping you make decisions that contribute to your happiness and fulfillment. 

They help you stay focused and motivated, and they give you a sense of purpose and direction.

Setting personal goals and priorities is not a one-time task. It’s an ongoing process that requires reflection, evaluation, and adjustment. It’s about continually reassessing your goals and priorities to ensure they align with your values, desires, and life circumstances. 

So, set your personal goals and priorities, for they are the compass that guides you in your journey of living for yourself.

How to set goals and priorities

Here’s how you can practically apply this principle in your life:

  1. Reflect on Your Values and Passions: Before setting goals, take some time to reflect on your values, passions, and what truly matters to you. This will guide you in setting goals that align with your true self.
  2. Set SMART Goals: SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Setting SMART goals can provide clear direction and make it easier to track your progress.
  3. Prioritize Your Goals: Not all goals are created equal. Some are more important or urgent than others. Prioritize your goals based on their importance and urgency.
  4. Break Down Large Goals: Large goals can be overwhelming. Break them down into smaller, manageable tasks or sub-goals. This makes it easier to start and keeps you motivated as you make progress.
  5. Create a Vision Board: A vision board is a visual representation of your goals. It can serve as a constant reminder of what you’re working towards and can help keep you motivated.
  6. Regularly Review and Adjust Your Goals: Goals aren’t set in stone. They can and should be adjusted as your circumstances change. Regularly review your goals and make adjustments as needed.
  7. Celebrate Achievements: Celebrate when you achieve a goal. This can boost your motivation and confidence to tackle other goals.

6. Practicing Self-Care and Self-Love

Self-care and self-love are integral to living for yourself. They’re about prioritizing your well-being, happiness, and fulfillment. 

They’re about treating yourself with kindness, respect, and compassion, and taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental health.

Practicing self-care and self-love can take many forms. Here are a few practical ways:

  • Physical self-care: Regular exercise, balanced diet, adequate sleep, and regular medical check-ups.
  • Emotional self-care: Expressing your emotions healthily, seeking support when needed, and engaging in activities that bring you joy.
  • Mental self-care: Engaging in activities that stimulate your mind, practicing mindfulness, and maintaining a positive mindset.

7. Building Healthy Relationships

living for yourself - couple outdoors laughing

Healthy relationships play a significant role in living for yourself. They provide support, companionship, and a sense of belonging. 

They contribute to your happiness, well-being, and personal growth.

Building and maintaining healthy relationships involve open communication, mutual respect, and understanding.

It’s about setting boundaries, expressing your needs and feelings, and respecting the needs and feelings of others. 

It’s about nurturing relationships that uplift you, inspire you, and make you feel valued and loved.

Practical tips to build healthy relationships

Here are some practical ways to cultivate healthy relationships in your life:

  1. Open and Honest Communication: Speak your mind in a respectful and honest manner. Share your thoughts, feelings, and expectations openly. Listen attentively when others speak.
  2. Respect Boundaries: Understand and respect personal boundaries. Everyone has their own comfort levels and limits. Respect them and communicate your own boundaries clearly.
  3. Show Appreciation: Regularly express gratitude and appreciation. Small gestures of kindness can go a long way in strengthening relationships.
  4. Spend Quality Time: Make time for the people you care about. Shared experiences and quality time together can help deepen your connections.
  5. Be Supportive: Be there for others in times of need. Offer help, comfort, and encouragement. Show empathy and understanding.
  6. Resolve Conflicts Constructively: Disagreements are part of any relationship. Handle conflicts in a constructive manner. Listen to the other person’s perspective, express your own feelings and thoughts respectfully, and work together to find a solution.
  7. Seek Professional Help: If you’re finding it difficult to build or maintain healthy relationships, consider seeking help from a professional, such as a therapist or counselor. They can provide guidance and strategies to improve your relationship skills.

The Takeaway

Living for yourself is a journey of self-discovery, self-acceptance, and personal growth. It’s about embracing your individuality, practicing positive self-talk, and sticking to your morals and standards. 

It’s about overcoming the fear of judgment, setting personal goals and priorities, and practicing self-care and self-love. It’s about building healthy relationships and leading a life that is true to yourself.

The power of living for yourself is transformative. It empowers you to live a life that is genuinely yours, a life that reflects your values, desires, and passions. It leads to personal fulfillment, happiness, and a sense of purpose. 

So, embrace the journey of living for yourself, for it is the path to a life that is truly yours.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be construed as professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms of any mental health condition, we strongly advise consulting with a qualified healthcare professional.


Living for self means prioritizing your own happiness, needs, and desires. It’s about making decisions based on what truly fulfills you, rather than what others expect from you. It involves embracing your individuality, practicing self-love and self-care, and leading a life that aligns with your personal goals and values.

Living for yourself and not others involves several steps:

  • Self-Discovery: Understand who you are, what you value, and what you want out of life.
  • Self-Acceptance: Accept yourself as you are, acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Setting Personal Goals and Priorities: Determine what is important to you and set goals that align with these priorities.
  • Practicing Self-Care and Self-Love: Prioritize your well-being and treat yourself with kindness and compassion.
  • Overcoming the Fear of Judgment: Don’t let the fear of others’ opinions hold you back from living your truth.

Living only for ourselves can have both positive and negative outcomes. On the positive side, it can lead to greater personal fulfillment, happiness, and authenticity. It allows us to lead a life that aligns with our values and desires, and it can contribute to our overall well-being.

However, living only for ourselves without considering the needs and feelings of others can lead to isolation and strained relationships. It’s important to find a balance between living for ourselves and being considerate of others.

Living for yourself is important for several reasons:

  • Personal Fulfillment: When you live for yourself, you make decisions that align with your values and desires, leading to greater personal fulfillment.
  • Authenticity: Living for yourself allows you to be true to who you are, leading to a life that feels genuinely yours.
  • Happiness: When you prioritize your own happiness and well-being, you’re likely to lead a happier and more satisfying life.
  • Personal Growth: Living for yourself provides opportunities for self-discovery, self-improvement, and personal growth.
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