“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” -The number one regret of the dying, as reported by a palliative nurse in The Guardian
A little morbid, I know, but this quote speaks volumes to being yourself. Living as the person you want to be will lead you down a path free of the stress of meeting the expectations of others. Focusing on what others want from you in terms of your looks, personality, or lifestyle takes away from what your true focus should be–what YOU want for your looks, personality, lifestyle, etc. At first read, use of the word “courage” may seem a bit dramatic; “courage” is typically reserved for firefighters and civil rights leaders. However, it does take courage to live a life according to what you want from it. It’s easy to fall into a pattern of changing who you are to appease what others expect of you, but as the quote says, it truly does take courage to be true to yourself.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
This one is related to the first quote in that you should live you life based on what you want, not what others want from you. You were born to be who you are and living that to the fullest is the most fulfilling accomplishment you can achieve. In an era surrounded by photo-editing apps, Instagram fitness models, and social media at your fingertips, it’s difficult to stop the insecurities and thoughts that you should be looking, acting, and thinking a different way. However, having the ability to overcome these thoughts and stick to your guns is what should be celebrated; maintaining your values and doing what makes YOU happy rises above all. Emerson may have said this in the 19th century, but the message still rings true today and will for years to come.
“You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.” -Michael Jordan
Few people know this better than №23 himself. After not making his JV team in high school, he needed to expect more of himself–and expect more of himself he did. Jordan now reigns as arguably the best to ever play the game because he expected the best of himself. Going into a challenge with no direction can sound enticing, but often times you need to set yourself on a path that will steer you in the right direction. Others can expect whatever they want of you, but only you know your true potential. It’s up to you to set your sights high on your own terms and then actually set out to reach them. You need to be the one who knows you can do anything you set your mind to…then go do it.
“Unfortunately, sometimes things don’t break, they shatter. But when you let the light in, shattered glass will glitter.” -Someone Great
Sometimes, things really just won’t go in your favor. You’ll flunk a test, you won’t get the internship after making it to the final round interview, or you’ll strike out looking with the bases loaded to end the game. The list of Unfortunate Shit That Could Happen goes on and on; that’s just life. However, with every failure comes the opportunity to learn something from it and still allow yourself to “glitter.” Rather than staring at the shattered glass on the floor, bask in the beauty of the light that gleams off of the pieces. Use the lessons from your own shattered glass to let yourself shine and make something beautiful out of what could be seen as a mess.