It took me a long time to realize that you can do everything right and still end up unhappy. You can say all of the right things, do exactly as you are told, follow in the footsteps of all the people who swore by their success and their strategy surrounding it, and you can still end up displaced — because you didn’t ever choose to simply listen to yourself.
The best thing I ever did for myself was simply listen to what I actually wanted. I drowned out the guidelines, the advice, the “shoulds.” And I messed up. I made mistakes that I’ll never forget. I hurt people I loved, and I got hurt.
See, self discovery isn’t this comfortable, miraculous thing. It can get ugly, it can get confusing. It’s gritty, it’s hard. It’s difficult to confront yourself sometimes, it’s difficult to be the person who does things differently, who doesn’t settle.
But it’s the greatest gift you will ever give yourself. It will push you towards figuring out what your own personal version of happiness looks like; and when you grow on your own terms, when you figure out what actually matters to you, and when you carve out your own path, you live on your own terms. You love on your own terms. You become the person you have always wanted to be, rather than the person you were always told to be, and that is beautiful. Because when it comes down to it — life is about making yourself proud on your own terms. It’s about finding a happiness that works for you.