You’re The Only One Who Has To Live Your Life, So Live It However The Hell You Want


People are always going to tell you how to feel, how to think, how to react, how to believe, how to choose.

People are always going to tell you how to live your life.

Sometimes the advice is helpful, sometimes it’s coming from people whom you admire and people whom you care about. Sometimes it’s not. Regardless of who it’s coming from, they can say whatever they want – but at the end of the day, you’re the person who will most directly live with the consequences of whatever decision you make.

At the end of the day, you’re the only person who has to live the life that everyone else is chiming in on.

In the age of sharing (and oversharing), our barriers are down. Our lives feel more intertwined than ever. We trade opinions and beliefs and photos and personal news and life milestones back and forth in nanoseconds.

And that means that sometimes, the viewpoints and perspectives of dozens of people (if not more) can feel overwhelmingly suffocating as they come crashing down on you. 

So it’s natural to try to please everyone. To sweat out even the smallest of decisions in your life as you contemplate what everyone is going to think about your choices, and even more terrifying: what everyone is going to think about you.

It’s not wrong for people to have opinions, to have advice to give you, to have a specific perspective on your life. It’s natural. It’s what makes it possible that there are over 7 billion people living on this planet and that each person is still completely unique from the next. Sometimes it’s wonderful advice. Sometimes it’s an incredibly helpful perspective. And of course, other times it’s neither.

But the important thing is that, no matter what, you have to take it all with a grain of salt. You have to remember that you are one of over 7 billion people on this planet, and that no one else will ever have the job of living your life other than you. 

And that means that you have to listen to yourself above anyone else. That you can keep your mind and your heart open, you can learn from others’ mistakes, you can listen to the advice of those who have lived longer than you or in a different way than you, you can maintain the mindset that everyone you meet has something to teach you. But you also have to have the final say. You have to make choices and stick by decisions and come to certain conclusions based on what you believe, based primarily on your gut and what your body is telling you to do.

Learn from others. Listen to others. Respect others. Admire others. But when it comes to living your specific life, remember that no one else can do it for you. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Kim Quindlen

I’m a staff writer for Thought Catalog. I like comedy and improv. I live in Chicago. My Uber rating is just okay.

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