When I started out on my (long) road to recovery I was a hot mess. My biggest critic was staring back at me in the mirror every morning. What did I have to offer the world? Why bother trying to fix myself? It’s not like anyone cares whether I’m happy anyway. The funny thing about it is that my cynicism was right on the mark. Except I was looking at it all wrong.
Everyone should be working towards their own personal growth. Putting themselves first. It might sound contrarian but when we’re all working towards being the best versions of ourselves, we’re all a lot kinder to each other. It’s hard to wrap your head around this point in a culture that rewards sacrifice as much as it idolizes innovators. We praise parents who quit the job they love to be a stay-at-home looking after the kids, we quietly congratulate the young men and women who sacrifice their university degree so they can help out with the family business or tend to an ailing relative.
I’m not trying to persecute anyone with these examples but it’s important to label things for what they are. Giving up a promotion or a career that provides genuine validation has consequences in the long run. When we try to repress what drives us, the result can manifest itself in unfortunate ways.
People shouldn’t care about your happiness. That’s your job. Only you have the power to turn that frown upside down. It sounds corny but it’s the real deal. Only you can set yourself free.