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Living For Yourself — How to Do What Seems Impossible

Living for yourself is probably one of the hardest things a human being can ever do.

I have often kept myself up at night stewing over the question, “who or what am I living for?” I am 31 years old and I believe that I have finally come to my conclusion in regards to this question.

I think that one of  the single most important things a man or woman can do is not only ask yourself, “what is my purpose,” but also, “what am I living for?”

I am going to share based on my own personal lived experience my understanding of what it means to “live for yourself.”

Why Live For Myself?

So why should a human being live for themselves? When I ask this, I am almost asking, “why should I love myself?”

I don’t know how you were raised. For me, I carry a lot of insecurities still to this day that have stemmed from my childhood upbringing

I also walk the Earth often carrying a great deal of shame. This has gotten in the way for me when it comes to my perception of my own self-worth and why I should live for myself. 

Maybe you can relate. After years of therapy, I feel like I finally have a better understanding of where these thoughts and emotions came from, which has made it a lot easier for me to see what my actual worth is.

I cannot let what one person thinks of me be the story in my head about who or what I am and what I deserve and/or what I’m capable of accomplishing.

I cannot live my life for someone else. I have tried, especially when I was a kid. I feel like there were periods of time where I was living solely because I wanted to have his approval and earn his love. My worth was based on his perception of me as a son. 

In a relationship, I can’t live my life for a woman. Have you ever tried to give your heart to a person when you don’t even really know how to love yourself? How did that work out for you? It’s never been good for me. 

I can’t live my life for the sake of trying to please the world. The world has failed me, time and time again, therefore I don’t put my trust in man.

I personally have developed a strong relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, so in all honesty, if I were really being honest about what I live for, I will say that I live for the sake of being a light of the world in order to bring love and help expand God’s kingdom. 

That’s not for everyone. My faith I will say has had a huge role in helping me learn how to live for myself as well as love myself. So when I say I live for myself, I know that’s with my personal understanding of who I am as a child of God and what His will is for me in my life. 

It’s kinda hard to explain faith to a person if it’s something that they don’t really practice. In all honesty though, we all practice faith to some degree, even if it’s having faith that your car isn’t gonna break down on the way to work and make you late. That’s having faith.

I don’t want to project my choices around spirituality onto you, but know for me personally it has had the most dramatic impact as far as bringing clarity to this particular topic of “what do I live for?”

How Do I Live For Myself?

How do I live for myself? That’s a question that I used to ask a lot. Again, deciding your personal purpose here in life has to start with self-love. If you can’t love yourself, then the road ahead can seem very unclear, and it will be hard to have relationships and get through the hard times that life will always throw at you. 

So how did I learn how to love myself? What does living for yourself look like for me? This is coming from a person who has made a lot of selfish choices in life as well as hurt a lot of people due to my previous drug addiction.

It can be hard to look yourself in the mirror when you have lived a life like the one I had.

I feel like again this is going to come back to the spiritual aspect because I really cried out to God for help in helping me learn to love and forgive myself as well as see my self-worth in life. 

So prayer has been huge for me. Going to therapy has also really helped me learn how to appreciate myself more, which makes it very easy to avoid choices for the sake of pleasing others.

That’s something small you can start practicing. Just take a step back each day and look at your choices and actions and ask yourself, “what influences me to make the choices that I make?”

You may have a family and don’t really have a lot of time to think about this because other people are dependent on you. Living for yourself might be something that seems impossible.

I don’t want to exclude family when it comes to living for yourself. Again, I think in order to be the best parent you can be and show your kids the type of love that God Himself would want for them, it has to first start with self and loving yourself.

If you have wounds from the past that have not been healed, it can be very easy to project these things onto your children. I do not have kids, but I went through these types of things as a kid. 

Self-care is another awesome way to start living for yourself. Enjoy the time you have getting ready for the day in the morning. Make time each day to do something fitness-oriented, even if it’s just for 30 minutes.

Not only will this improve your overall quality of life, but it will also help tremendously with a positive mindset and healthy self-worth perception.

Be mindful of the things that you choose to put in your mouth. Remember, you are what you eat. I used to eat things that I knew were bad for me that I didn’t want because I was afraid of maybe hurting the person’s feelings who fed them to me.

When you are living for yourself and practicing self-love, it’s easy to avoid these sorts of things and usually people are pretty understanding, especially if you’re polite about it. 

The way you treat other people is a direct reflection of how you treat yourself. Be kind to yourself. Practice saying positive affirmations each day.

I used to write them down, and I would keep them in my wallet and pull them out and would read them out loud throughout the day. This is another great way to practice living for yourself and loving yourself. 

Living for Yourself — What You Can Do

I know it can be hard sometimes in life, especially in the times that we are living in today. We cannot put our faith in the world or man. We just can’t.

If you are struggling with finding purpose and peace and self-love, I suggest that you sit down and pray and ask God to reveal Himself to you in a way that you can understand.

Ask Him for help, whether it’s with shame or resentment or whatever it is that might be holding you back from having the life you deserve. 

Hopefully, this at least gave you something to think about and left you feeling encouraged and inspired.

I’d love to hear from you. Let me know in the comments if you are living for yourself today.

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Ryan Henderson

Ryan Henderson is a magician and mental health advocate.

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