13 Easy Ways To Start Living For Yourself And Stop Living For Others (2024)

If you’ve been giving most of your time, talent and energy to others by putting their needs ahead of yourself, this post is for you.

Building a healthy relationship with yourself means from time to time, you do things for your loved ones, after you’ve taken care of your own needs.

Let’s roll!

Keep reading for easy ways to start living for yourself and stop living for others.

13 Easy Ways To Start Living For Yourself And Stop Living For Others

1. Know Yourself

First things first, you cannot predict what’s going to give you a happy life, because everything your brain knows is from past experience.

Everything that you think will make you happy is just based on a past set of programs. This is why it’s so important to know what thoughts and beliefs are running through your mind.

2. Know What You Want

Once you know yourself better, go out and explore, meet people, seek out a variety of experiences and perspectives so you open up your mind and see what’s possible for you. 

Then, you can decide along the way what will really contribute to your own happiness.

3. Be Your Authentic Self

Allow your voice, your personality, your energy and unique talents show.

Even if it feels extremely uncomfortable and awkward. You’ve grown accustomed to filtering yourself or shifting who you are depending on the people around you to shield yourself from judgment or disapproval from others.

Living For Yourself
Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

4. Let Go

Learning to be your authentic self is about letting go, and allowing yourself to be vulnerable, honest and real. 

Listen to your inner voice, your heart, your intuition, or whatever you want to call it. 

That’s your true self. Follow what gets you excited or what sparks your curiosity, even if it’s unpopular. Keep practicing. You’ll get there.

5. Define What’s True For You

No one else can define what happiness means for you. No one can tell you what would help you feel satisfied or fulfilled. And while you can’t count on always feeling that way when you’ve finished something, you’re worthy of the chance to find out. 

Just as you can’t make someone else happy, no one else can make you happy or tell you what should make you happy. 

6. Identify Your Deepest Values

Consider the most critical areas of your life:

  • Relationships
  • Career
  • Spirituality
  • Health
  • fitness, etc.

Decide what you value most in those areas, even if it means taking attention away from 

something someone else wants you to prioritize. Your life, your priorities.

Doing this, you’ll approve of yourself more, and cultivate self worth and self confidence. You’ll feel good about yourself, and loving yourself more, then loving your life more.

If you spend your life in service to someone else’s values and ideals, you’ll never feel 

truly alive.

7. Keep Growing

Being your authentic self means you take full responsibility for your actions and how you respond to life’s events. You can’t place the blame on others. It’s all on you and your choices.

By focusing solely on pursuing happiness, you may neglect unpleasant yet necessary things in life. To grow, requires stepping out of your comfort zone. So some unpleasant yet necessary things are:

  • Things that must get done, like chores or admin work
  • Things that are uncomfortable, yet could help you grow 

8. Find A Passion

Finding a passion and a purpose in life is paramount. Simply living life to bring your kids up or make someone else happy won’t give you a truly fulfilling life.

You have to live for yourself first and that means doing something which puts a smile on your face. Bringing your kids up may do that for you for a few years. What about when they’ve become self-sufficient?

Find a place or a thing you can do that gives you clarity of mind over all the weird and wonderful things that are happening in and around your life.

9. Smile More

Regardless of how bad things get in life or what you have to deal with, there is a whole wide world out there, don’t wait any longer. 

Smile when you walk by people, talk to them and make new connections. Don’t get stuck in a world of unhappiness, because that world can change dramatically in a day. 

10. Living For Yourself Is Not Selfish

You can be kind and loving to everyone and still look after yourself. When you’re at your best and on top of your own life, things will magically come together.

You’ll bring better quality aspects of yourself and more energy to be able to offer others.

Related: 31 Signs You’ve Sold Your Soul And How To Get It Back

11. Develop Confidence In Yourself

In order to stay true to yourself and live life your way, you’ll require a level of confidence to overcome all the obstacles and challenges that come along.

Tune in and believe in your gut feeling that you are right and you can make it. With the strength of knowing who you are behind you, you can achieve your dreams and make everyone believe you know what you are doing.

12. Remember Your Dreams

Create your own definitions for happiness and success. Look at the areas of life most important to you and your values. Then decide on your priorities and what kind of life you want to live. Decide what it is that feels fulfilling to you.

13. Tune In To Your Intuition

Spend more time listening to your inner voice and following its guidance. Step outside your comfort zone and take some risks. 

Not every random thought is worth putting into action. The better you get at distinguishing random thoughts from the promptings of your intuition, the easier it is to know which thoughts deserve more of your attention. 

Related: Keys To Living Life With Intention

What Does It Mean Living For Yourself?

We commonly begin our lives learning to live for our parent’s approval and the approval of others around us—our peers, teachers, or society in general.

We have a desire for acceptance and a sense of belonging. We seek love and acceptance from outside of us, which is understandable, and listed as one of Maslow’s psychological needs. 

However, eventually in our personal growth, we learn to find the love, approval and validation we yearn for within ourselves. Here begins the journey of discovering internal validation over external validation

It’s no longer about impressing others, it’s about doing it for yourself, because that’s what you decided you wanted out of life. 

When you can jump out of bed in the morning with a smile on your face and be happy, because you are looking forward to the day. You will naturally have a great day no matter what anyone does to upset you.

How Can I Live My Life For Myself?

You don’t have to be single to have the right to live your life as you see fit. If you have a spouse and especially children, it becomes even more critical for you to know how to live your life for you. 

Your kids will benefit greatly when you model how not to live life for someone else and repress their own desires.

Here is what it looks like to be the person who lives your life for yourself: 

  • You decide how you spend the time outside of work that brings you joy.
  • You choose what career or job you pursue that brings your fulfillment and for how long. 
  • You determine whether or not you begin or stay in a committed relationship.
  • You choose how you spend, save, or invest the money you earn.
  • You decide whether to become a parent and to how many.

Write down what it looks like for you, so you can create a fulfilling life.

Related: Living In A Bubble? Ways To Break Out

Is It Good To Live For Yourself?

When you live for yourself, you have so much more to offer people, your community or the world. There are so many benefits when you live for yourself.

Live For Yourself
Photo by Bart LaRue on Unsplash

Here are some main things:

  • Loving Yourself

You may have been programmed to believe that if you live for yourself, it’s selfish. In reality, there’s no greater reward.

You’re here to share your unique talents, strengths, wisdom and perspective. You are a manifestation of love. Love God’s creation with your own life and your purpose in life.

Personalities like Nelson Mandela or Mahatma Gandhi loved themselves so much, they decided to live life their way and leave their names alive in history forever. 

  • Intuition 

Building your skill at listening to your intuition, your gut feelings will help you build the confidence to know how meaningful and helpful it really is in the ability to guide you.

We’ve been given all the tools we require to thrive. It’s just a matter of knowing what they are and how to put them together.

  • Strength In Knowing Who You Are

Staying true to yourself to live life your way requires building confidence. Trust in yourself and your intuition will help you overcome the obstacles and challenges that come your way.

Trust yourself knowing you can make it. 

Related: Is Talking To Yourself Bad? 16 Scientific Reasons Why It Isn’t

Living For Yourself Vs Living For Others

Living for yourself means experiencing the life YOU want for yourself, regardless of others’ opinions.

It’s making choices that line up with what feels right for your journey, a life you love, and a life you’re proud of.

Living for others means living to please others, living for external validation & approval. It means feeling concerned about what others think and making your choices based on that.

By living for others, you set your goals based on what others want for you (like your parents, teachers, governments), or chasing what society deems as success. 

Living for others can also mean trying to impress others, please others, or get approval from others. That’s not being your authentic self and doing what you want for you. You’re doing things because you care about how you appear to others.

Living for yourself and not others means learning to put what you require for well being first, and making choices aligning with your values. In other words, doing things because you want to, and not because other people are influencing you.

If you want to help others, and it’s coming from an authentic place, then great. But don’t do it just because you feel obligated or pressured to. Your giving will have a more beneficial effect when it’s authentic.

Related: How To Focus On Yourself And Not Others

Is It Ok To Live For Yourself?

You may think it’s wrong. Or a process you’re not ready for. Maybe the right time hasn’t come yet. You can find joy in preparation and in thinking, but that doesn’t serve you well for long.

At a certain point it’s time to realize it’s not wrong. Start taking action even if your ideas or plans are not perfect. Once you’ve done the work to release the thoughts and beliefs that don’t serve you, you can make decisions fast and without a lot of thinking.

Happiness is in experiencing the present moment, not thinking about the experience. 

These three things will help you to choose to live life with purpose: 

  • Take responsibility for your own happiness and your own life. It does require some work.
  • Focus on knowing exactly what makes you happy and start experiencing them one by one. Just do it.
  • Get rid of your own self limiting beliefs because no one is forcing you not to live for yourself. Choose to be happy.

How To Live For Yourself In A Relationship

Being in a relationship is awesome, but sometimes, it can feel like you get lost in the “coupledom” of it all. 

The truth is, focusing on yourself isn’t that hard, although it is an intentional choice to continue to nourish your own identity instead of just the partnership identity you have.

1. Spend Time Alone

Being in a relationship doesn’t mean you need to follow anyone else’s “rules” for what a relationship is supposed to look like. No one else’s opinion should matter.

If you need one specific day a week apart, take it. If you need more, take that, too. Maybe you have very high needs for personal space. 

Taking the alone time you want will help you keep your balance in the relationship, and it’ll also help keep you sane. Don’t worry about anyone else: Do what you need to do.

Related: Hacks To Love Yourself Enough

2. Remember Your Friendships

At the beginning of a new relationship, it’s common to go “all in,” and temporarily not be able to think about anything but your partner. Just ride it out and enjoy it.

As your relationship grows and deepens, it’s time to come back to center and re-engage with some of the things you did pre-relationship – like your friends from before. 

Connecting with your old friends can be necessary for helping to maintain your sense of identity so you’ll avoid getting caught in the bubble of just you and your partner.

3. Pick Up A Hobby

Maybe you have something you love to do, like arts and crafts. Maybe you go to a book club every month. Or maybe there’s a sport you like to play.

If so, make sure you keep up this hobby after you get into a relationship. If you don’t have a hobby already, find one you love! Something just for you.

4. Focus On Your Own Goals

It’s nice to imagine what your life will look like with your partner. That said, remember your own personal goals. Things like your career and your own desires for your life path should be at the top of your list.

This means while you’re thinking of life together, remember to include the things you want to do now, as well as the things you wanted to do before you met them.

5. Good Communication

Make sure you nourish yourself while in a relationship by talking to your partner. Talk to them about everything, of course, but especially about what you require to feel like you.

Your partner is probably thinking about similar things, and having an open discussion about ways to nourish yourselves will be good for both of you.

Is Living For Yourself Selfish?

Believing in your self-worth and wanting to be as healthy and content with your life as possible is the opposite of selfishness.

You’d be mistaken to think enjoying self-care is a selfish endeavor or an indulgence to feel guilty about. Realize your true worth and believe you matter. 

When you lead your life, making self-care a priority, doesn’t mean you’re being selfish and going out of your way to neglect the needs of others around you.

Instead, taking good care of yourself can, in fact, make you more open and compassionate towards the needs of others.

It’s simply taking the necessary steps to recharge your own needs and wellbeing so you can take positive action to not only help yourself but others too!

Learning to put yourself first in life, living for yourself and not others, is a process and takes practice. Stop pushing yourself to make things happen.

Create the life you want in the present moment. You’re the person you’re waiting for. 

We invite you to share your comments and forward this article to several friends you care about ✅. Let’s live our best lives!

About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.