Every situation has a silver lining – discover a mindset that heals and enlightens.

November 5, 2021 · 8 min read

living for yourself
Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves. ~ James M. Barrie

Have you ever doubted whether living for yourself is wrong?


Do you sacrifice your happiness and time for the sake of others?


A lot of us have been taught that showing kindness to others is the key in life. While that‘s true, it‘s necessary to find a fine line of showing kindness to others and not to sabotage your own happiness.

While we want to be accepted and loved, it‘s not the wisest decision to earn that through living for others. There are numerous of ways to do that through other methods.


Living for yourself is not selfish. The only people that say differently envy your freedom and are not able to escape living for others themselves.


Every person that is nearing the end of his life will tell you only one thing: “The only thing that matters in this life is your own happiness“. Therefore, don‘t sabotage your life and learn to live for yourself.

10 Reasons to start living for yourself and not for others

Here‘s a good list why you should live for yourself and not for others:

  1. You will feel more alive and happier.
  2. You will set yourself free from worries.
  3. You are in control of your own life.
  4. You appreciate the freedom.
  5. Feeling peace of mind.
  6. You can pursue your passions.
  7. You will learn more about yourself.
  8. You won‘t feel like a slave.
  9. You can take care of yourself mentally and physically.
  10. Time is always ticking and you better use it for yourself.

Should we live for others or only for ourselves?

It‘s not wrong for you to live your own life. In the end, you need to focus on your happiness instead of making others happy. You need to draw a fine line between helping others and living for others.


You definitely need to be aware of others‘ feelings and thoughts and to respect them. Nevertheless, you need to live your own life and find a good reasonable balance taking care of yourself and lending others a hand.

Live for yourself. Love those around you - but realise they have their own agendas. ~ Alex Gaskarth

The main idea is not to live for others, but to help for those who really need and deserve.


To conclude everything, we shouldn‘t live for others and we should live only for ourselves. It‘s not reasonable to spend your precious time that you will never get back.


You shouldn‘t give someone an extra second life with your time, if you know what I mean. Make your time on Earth as pleasurable for yourself as possible.

Living for yourself vs living for others

The main disadvantage of living for others is that you have to sacrifice your precious time. At most, the only thing you can get is altruistic satisfaction. Don‘t get me wrong, that‘s absolutely great!


However, we can‘t be powered only on altruistic satisfaction. It‘s our human nature to be a little selfish (which is absolutely okay!) and fulfill our own needs. Living for others is a superb way of showing your kindness and courage.

The biggest challenge is to find the balance between living for others and helping for others. It‘s also crucially important to distinguish who really needs help and who takes advantage of you.


The truth is, most of people care only about themselves. The only people that might care about you are your family and only the closest friends.  Still, that‘s not necessarily always the case.


Next time before you give a hand to someone, have a good thought if you‘re not getting taken advantage of. People will assume you‘re gullible and that they can push you wherever they want. Don‘t fall into this trap.

15 Ways to start living for yourself

1. Unchain yourself living for others

The sooner you will realize that your life is short and most of the people take advantage of you, the better. People are selfish creatures and you can‘t help that.


People take advantage of your big heart and exceptional amount of kindness. You don‘t need to be a slave for someone.

I know, at first it can be hard and weird to stop whatever you‘re doing, living for others included. Breaking a habit is always a little uncomfortable. However, it‘s for your own happiness. The most important thing in life is to be happy who you are and what you do.

living for yourself

What to do about it

Simply, break the habit of living for others. The next time someone asks you for a favor, tell politely “no”. Don’t be afraid of this word. Oppositely, it’s a word that empowers you and makes you to be more in control of your own life.

Also, remind yourself why you want to change and start living for yourself. You don’t want to please anyone anymore, do you? You’re sick and tired of requests that pile up from people, aren’t you?


Be mindful of your own life. That’s the most precious thing everyone possesses.

2. Set boundaries and standards

A lot of houses have fences. Their purpose is to set boundaries of a territory and not to let in people who aren‘t invited.


Similarly, you need to set boundaries in your mind. You don‘t want to let everyone to come in and ask for a favor whenever they want and what they want.

If you can't change it... change the way you think about it. ~ Mary Engelbreit

What to do about it

If you are living for others, chances are low that you have any kind of boundaries.


Therefore, let’s start from the beginning.

  • You don‘t owe anyone an explanation after saying “no”. Everyone has the right to do whatever they want and what they don‘t want.


  • Keep the focus on yourself. If someone asks you: “Can you come over and mown my lawn today?”, say, “No, I need to spend time on myself”. You don’t have to say “Stop bothering me with your lawn”.


  • Remember that setting up boundaries come with consequences. This means that you have to know why your boundaries are important. For example, if you work from home and someone keeps disturbing you by coming for a chat, let them know that, “You need to respect my work and my time. I become very unproductive when I lose focus”.

3. Plan your time

To put it simply, poor time management leads to wasting time. You can effectively live for yourself only if you know exactly what you want and need to do. Having no aim, no goals, no daily tasks to complete will leave you empty and lifeless.


If you have nothing to do and you have all the time on your hands, you can easily fall back to your unhealthy habit of living for others.

living for yourself

What to do about it

Ideally, you must plan your time on a piece of paper, journal, or by using online tools on the Internet. Studies have found that people who write their tasks down are more productive and more likely to achieve their goals. Here’s a checklist you should go through to assess your time wisely:

  • Figure out how you currently spend your time. Do you just do mindless activities? Or do you have some goals in mind? Regardless, identify the activities that suck your time.


  • Make a long-term goal. Having a long-term goal will keep your focus in the right place and won’t let it to shift somewhere else.


  • Make a daily schedule. Don’t even try to attempt your day without having a daily schedule. You will find yourself wandering around and doing a lot of mindless things. Toss your schedule on a piece of paper before the following day.


  • Prioritize tasks. It’s undeniable that some tasks are more important than others. Some tasks have almost no meaning at all and you only waste your time by executing them. Prioritize tasks that you get the most out of.

So, here’s a quick lick to get you started. If you grab these basics, you will be more productive and have a better vision of your future than most of the population.

4. Find your passions

One of the greatest ways to find fulfillment in your life and fill all the voids is by finding your passion. Living for yourself is all about finding a source of fulfillment and what you’re good at.


A lot of people don’t really know what they’re interested in and what could drive them in life with full of joy. It’s an amazing feeling to wake up everyday and know that you’ll be doing something that you love.

Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. ~ Golda Meir

What to do about it

  • The first place you should look into to find your passion is your past. Don’t underestimate your childhood. It’s common for interests to change, but there can still be opportunities to be found in your early days. Try to go chronologically and think of any hints that could lead you to your passion.


  • The second place to look into is to think if there’s something you’re interested in. Do you love playing video games? Perhaps you would be a great commentator, be interested in programming, or make a great coach due of your analytical skills? Try to think outside the box and find correlations with other areas of life.


  • Just start. The more different things you try, the more you’re likely to find a nugget of passion. Try picking a musical instrument. Try montaging a video or photographing. Try cooking a gourmet dish. Try a DIY project. Don’t be afraid of coming out of your comfort zone and experiencing new things.

5. Learn more about yourself

Living for yourself doesn’t only mean to do mindless things and existing. It’s much more than that.


An essential part of your life is finding yourself. At one point we will be confident that we know ourselves. The next day we might not be so sure and we’ll be questioning ourselves who we truly are.

living for yourself

What to do about it

There is a big difference between who you want to be and who you truly are.


Take for example your teenager days. We had absolutely no clue who we were. However, majority of us had some idols, whether they were singers, athletes, influencers, scientists, or anyone else. We wanted to be like them.


Just because you want to be like them doesn’t mean that’s who you are.


Once you realize your authentic self, you will value yourself and find your true identity and where you exceptionally excel at.

There’s no specific formula to learn yourself. You can’t pick up a book about yourself and read it.


You need to write your own personal book by experiencing as many possible things as you can. Learn to be vulnerable, compassionate, angry, ambitious, sad, upset, delighted, scared, happy, uplifted… You name it. That’s the only way to truly find your authentic self.


Any self-help books that imply they will discover your authentic self is just a fraud. Just like you can’t learn to drive a car just by learning theory, you also can’t learn to find yourself by not moving a finger.


Perhaps one day technology will allow us to find ourselves instantly just like in Harry Potter the sorting hat knows exactly who you are. Unfortunately, until then it’s impossible to instantly tell who you are.

6. Adopt growth mindset

See, we can all live for ourselves staying in the same place, doing the same mundane tasks. But, can you really call it “life” if you basically only exist?


Growth mindset allows you to understand the importance of living for yourself and not for others. Life has so much more to offer to you. You don’t have to limit yourself by sacrificing your own self to someone else.

Growth mindset is essentially a tool of your mind that lets you overcome the obstacles when you try to learn something new. You don’t hammer a nail without a hammer, do you?


Similarly, growth mindset is a tool to help you embrace and experience a whole new life that you haven’t experienced yet. Once you get the hang of growth mindset, you will carry it throughout your whole life.

Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. ~ Oscar Wilde

What to do about it

The essential and main element of a growth mindset is the willingness to learn and improve. People that are sickened of their lives and the place where they are in often start to change themselves. The growth mindset, in this scenario, is driven by pain.


Fear of pain is an incredible and arguably the most effective tool for changes. It leads to growth mindset. Nevertheless, you don’t have to feel fear of pain to adopt growth mindset.


Here are some ways how you can adopt growth mindset:

  • Acknowledge your imperfections. Understand that you are unique and you can always improve them.


  • Face your fear and challenges. Every challenge provides us with new learning experiences.


  • Be mindful of your patterns of thoughts. If you tend to think negatively, you have to eliminate such thoughts from your mind. They only set you to have a fixed mindset.


  • Seek for your own approval. Don’t seek for approval from others. You don’t need others for you to be successful. All you need is to trust yourself.


  • Accept criticism. Constructive criticism (but not negative or destructive criticisms!) helps you to see yourself from a whole different point of view and develop your positive traits and skills.


  • Focus on the process instead of end result. Having too narrow focus on end goal will lead you to suffer in the process. It can also lead you to miss some important aspects, details in your journey of process that have an impact on the end result.

7. Embrace fears and risks

See, living for yourself involves both fears and risks. That’s because you will have to be responsible for your own actions and get out of your shell of comfort.


Risks are crucially important part of everyone’s lives. Applying to an university, taking a new job, finding new relationships or passions are nothing else than risks. Nevertheless, they can leave us with very satisfying results and fill the void in our lives.

living for yourself

What to do about it

To prepare for the risks and fears better, you need to reach a point where you feel at least 40 percent more confident comparing to the initial point when you first thought of this fear. 40 percent is an odd number, isn’t it? It’s not just a coincidence. Waiting for the 100 percent of confidence is almost not achievable and feasible.


50/50 ratio of confidence/fear still requires a lot of effort to achieve. On the other hand, 40/60 ratio of confidence/fear allows people to feel partially comfortable but doesn’t require too much of overthinking to start and facing your risks.

Of course, some scenarios and situations require more preparation, some require less. Be very mindful of how much preparation you need to embrace fear or a risk.


Though, never forget that our minds are the biggest enemies. People often fear what they don’t understand. A fixed mind is the main reason why people stay stagnant and don’t embrace new challenges in life.

8. Think less, act more

People have talent to limit themselves thanks to their minds. They overthink and always wonder after 10-20 years, “I wonder how life would be different if I did that instead of this…”.


People live full of regrets.


Living for yourself means not to only be free from someone else’s influence, but it also means to live your life to its fullest potential.


The more you overthink, the more you limit yourself. In other words, you have a limited mind.

living for yourself

What to do about it

If you are poisoned with a limited mind, you need an antidote of a limitless mind.


Limitless mind is all about achieving anything you want and overcoming your fears and all obstacles in your life. You can already guess what power it possesses just from its name.


It’s a well-structured methodology that allows you to make the most out of your overthinking.

Overthinking is a mistake. Instead, make it a pivotal point to reverse your life to something that you’ve always dreamed of.


If you can break your fixed mindset which separates you like a fence from achieving your dream goals, you can unlock limitless mind.

9. Trust the process

If you want to live for yourself, you have to trust the process. A very common problem is when people set a goal but they have no faith in it at all.


They just give up and “go with the flow”. They expect no or only slight difficulties to pop up along the road. It’s a wrong perception to have.

There is no way to find yourself until you discover how utterly to lose yourself. ~ Rufus Jones

What to do about it

If you want to live for yourself, you need a good process scheme. Make sure you will be prepared when you’ll face the roadblocks in your way.


The basic principle of a good process is:

  • Initiating. Includes thinking about the new goal you want to accomplish, i.e., living for yourself.
  • Planning. Creating a plan on a piece of paper, journal, online tools, how will your life look like if you will be living for yourself.
  • Executing. In other words, you have to stick to your plan and not to distract yourself from it.
  • Monitoring and controlling. Make sure you adjust your plan if there’s something you don’t like about it.
  • Finishing. While the process of living for yourself never ends, make sure that you live by your plan and values religiously everyday.

10. Practice self love

Living for yourself means loving yourself. You can’t grasp the concept of living your own life if you don’t like yourself in the first place.


Self-love is a sign of self-acceptance. Understanding your value is important to set your standards just at the right level where they should be at.

live for yourself

What to do about it

Self-love is associated with personal happiness. Here’s how you can achieve it:

  • Don’t compare yourself with others.
  • Make room for your mistakes.
  • Surround yourself with positive people and let go of toxic people.
  • Put yourself first above (almost) everything.
  • Be easy and kind to yourself.
  • Spoil yourself with your favorite activities.

Self-love doesn’t have to complicated. If you can accept yourself, you will also feel better about yourself.

11. Look at life simpler

Life is not complicated. It only is if you think of it in that way.


This is a huge obstacle that people have to understand and go through in order to start living their own abundant lives happily ever after.

The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking. - Albert Einstein

What to do about it

The main obstacle is perfectionism. I have to admit, I used to be a huge perfectionist myself. Once I got that out of the way, I started living the life completely differently.


Life is not difficult. We are difficult.


We make life difficult through these areas:

  • Characteristic traits. Negative mindset, narrow outlook to the world, inability to accept criticism.
  • Behaviors. The need for shortcuts, procrastination, invalid assumptions.
  • Philosophy. Moral values are not set clearly, no guiding principles in life.
  • Insight. Mindless activities, no critical thinking, inability to pick the right information.

To visualize better, imagine that you are trying to toast a banana instead of bread. Yes, you use the toaster for food, which is partially correct, but you don’t use it exactly correctly.


Similarly, you are utilizing wrong beliefs in your everyday life. It’s like living blindfolded and being unable to see different perspective of life.

You must recognize your mistakes and approach life simpler, in a positive manner. Take control of your life. Don’t blame the environment. You’re your own goldsmith of your own life.


Living for yourself is a choice. You aren’t attached to anyone.


Life will become simpler as soon as you will understand this.

12. Free yourself from worries

If you are living for others, it means you are chained in worries. You constantly question yourself if it’s a valid choice to start living for yourself.


Worries are like a cage of our mind. It’s a jail that limits your actions. The only difference between real jail and your mind-jail is that you have the power and ability to control your mind. You can untangle your limiting beliefs and move on in life.


You don’t need to wait for years to free yourself from worries. You can start it now.

live for yourself

What to do about it

The problem is that you’re attached to a worry more than the worry is attached to you. Once you understand it, you will be able to overcome this obstacle tenfold easier.


To free yourself from worries, you will have to let go your inner self critic. Nobody is more critical of you than you are to yourself.  It’s human nature to worry and try to protect ourselves from any kind of pain.


So, you have two choices here.

The first choice is to live below your means and life standards. This means you will comfortably live from day to day only to maintain your basic needs. That means you will basically sit in your living residency and exist. To achieve it, you will have to dump everything and hide into your shell of comfort. Doesn’t sound very optimistic and thrilling, does it?

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind. ~ Bernard M. Maruch

The second choice is to address the root problem and practice mindfulness. You will face your problem, fears, worries, and conquer them like a champion. You will find the triggers and eliminate them. It’s completely understandable that you might feel uncomfortable at first. Nevertheless, as soon as you’re mindful of your power to control your mood and life in general, you will become more empowered than ever.


Therefore, which option will you choose? I don’t know how about you, but the second choice sounds good to me!

13. Forgive yourself and move on


Remember the inner self-critic that we were talking about previously?


You will have to detach from it if you want to forgive yourself and live with yourself. Suffering in remorse does nothing good to you. Oppositely, it poisons your mind to live your own life in peace.

living your own life

What to do about it

  • The first step is acknowledgment. Recognize your mistakes. Recognize the patterns of actions that don’t let you live peacefully.


  • Don’t play mistakes over and over in your mind. Don’t drown in the negative energy. Shift your focus to something positive or take a few deep breaths. Go outside. Just don’t dwell on the same negative experience.


  • Next, give yourself a permission to make a mistake. Imagine that you’re putting this mistake in a “box of mistakes”. You’ll get back to them later.


  • Show yourself compassion. It can be a little difficult to do, but you always have to remind yourself that you’re a good person and worthy of forgiveness.


  • Erase the mistakes from your mind. Remember our “box of mistakes”? Prepare a bonfire, take this box, and throw it into the fire (in your mind, of course!).

Look, you don’t need to suffer in your failures. You don’t owe anyone an explanation why you chose to live a life like yours.


There’s no optimal life to live. We all can choose living for ourselves. You are a free person. Don’t attach yourself to your inner self-critic.


Be forgiving and compassionate to yourself.

14. Avoid mood spoilers

When you start living for yourself, it’s easy to drown in your negative thoughts at first. You might feel guilty for choosing such lifestyle.


However, there’s nothing wrong in that. Self-care isn’t selfish. It’s a way of showing ourselves that we are worthy to please ourselves and that we deserve happiness.

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

What to do about it

When you live for yourself, you might face a lot of different reactions. Some people might envy you, some people just won’t simply comprehend why you chose such a lifestyle.


The classical standpoint is that you must help others all the time. It’s as if you have to sacrifice yourself for the sake of others.

While giving a hand to others is a kind thing to do, you have to distinguish the line between helping out and being taken advantage of. In fact, some people might be leading you on.


You need to understand that people who are saying to you mean things is actually a reflection of themselves. If someone said something negative about you living only for yourself, it’s most likely that they’re envious of freedom that you possess. That’s the best way to look at this problem.

15. Be aware of your inner potential

Living for yourself shouldn’t be scary or frightening. You can do it. Your inner potential is hiding more than you think.


When you live for yourself, you can unleash your inner potential to its fullest. You will understand what it’s like to finally enjoy your own life and be independent.

living your own life

What to do about it

You might be surprised how happy you can be when you finally start living on your own. You might be amazed that you will find along the way something that you weren’t aware about yourself.


Your true authentic self might be revealed on its own just by letting yourself be more free.


Therefore, being aware of your inner potential can increase motivation to live for yourself.

Final Words From Delightful Mindset

Living for yourself comes with a lot of benefits along the way. Ignoring the nay-sayers and focusing on your life can bring you positive changes in life.

You should also not forget that living for yourself doesn’t mean that you will be selfish and not helping others. If you can find the right balance not to sabotage your happiness, go on and help people as much as they need.


Still, don’t forget that some people might take advantage of you. Be cautious of it.


For now, focus on improving your life quality. You deserve every bit of happiness.