I am a self-described people-pleaser. I love to make people feel happy, comfortable and proud. Contrary to what reality TV shows tell you, these aren’t bad things. That is to say, there is nothing cool about going out of your way to piss people off and constantly feel the need to make the point “I’m grown, so I’ll do whatever I want.”

No, you don’t earn cool points for being intentionally disagreeable (except among other social pariahs). Nonetheless, I envy people who naturally march to the beat of their own drum; people who do what they want without worrying about how others will react.

How freeing it must be to go about life thinking about what you want for yourself and not what others want for you. Ahhh, yes. Dare to dream. Sometimes, I still struggle to make small decisions (i.e. what to wear) and “medium” decisions (i.e. pursuing a professional opportunity) without stressing over what others will think. Meanwhile, most of my loved ones seem so unaffected by external opinion. I’m jealous.

I’m working on it, though. I realize I discover more about who I am, what drives me, and what I want when I turn down others’ perceptions, thoughts and expectations. Yes, these things are relevant and have their place. I’m not saying it’s OK to become your neighbor’s surrogate without consulting your husband or to move halfway across the world without talking to your family about it first.

I am saying that you are given one life and that life belongs to you — not the masses.

How much do you care about other people’s opinions?

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