Why You Deserve to Be Happy: Stop Living Your Life Based on Other’s Expectations!

I once posted a question on Facebook: how old is too old for a guy to wear his hat backwards?  And a dear friend of mine reminded me to wear your hat however you like and stop worrying about what other people think.

It is a simple reality that often times we get caught up in the herd mentality and rely on other’s opinions to shape and mold us.  From a young age we are taught to run with the pack and avoid standing out or being different; lest other kids make fun.  It takes courage to break away and stop living your life based on other’s expectations!  If you pay attention to advertising you will notice the purpose is to convince you that what you have, who you are, how you look is not good enough.  As if your identity is connected with your possessions or lack thereof.

If you want cool friends drink our beer.  If you want to feel pretty buy our makeup.  Want to be cool?  Buy our car.  Advertisers need to convince you that your life is not complete, yet, but once you buy their product(s) you will be complete.  And they use the power of conformity to convince us: everyone else has bought it and you should too!

Conformity is strong in human behavior…read what Psychology.about .com says:

Researchers have found that people conform for a number of different reasons. In many cases, looking to the rest of the group for clues for how we should behave can actually be helpful. Other people might have greater knowledge or experience than we do, so following their lead can actually be instructive. In other cases, we conform to the expectations of the group in order to avoid looking foolish. This tendency can become particularly strong in situations where we aren’t quite sure how to act or where the expectations are ambiguous.

Conforming to our peer group has huge benefits as we learn how to act, how not to act and how to avoid group ridicule.  After all, who wants to be ridiculed?  The problem in our society arises when the individual becomes so conditioned to go along with the group that the individual self and ability to make one’s own decisions becomes lost.  Commercials and friend’s behavior might convince you to use your credit card to buy things you do not need.  The perception that “everyone has credit card debt so my debt is normal” is a downside to conformity.  “Very few of my friends are happy with their jobs, so it is normal to work a job that I hate.  They call it work for a reason, right?”  “Chasing dreams is not practical.  At some point you just have to grow up.”

It is not easy to break away from society’s expectations.  From a very young age we learn that we need to make good grades in school to get into a good college.  A college education will get you a good paying job.  We are expected to get married and start a family, then buy a house.  Be sure to take care of your 401k because you must prepare for retirement!  Before you realize, society has you so focused on tomorrow that you forget about today.  One day you look up and your toddler is 37 years old and years of your life have vanished!  “I wish I had done_________.”

At the end of life many people regret the things not attempted more than appreciate things accomplished.

Stop living your life based on what others will think about you.  It is time for you to start wearing your hat the way you want!  Who cares what your friends might say?  What are your dreams?  Ambitions?  Are you working a job you hate, meanwhile ignoring a dream occupation?  Why?????   Are you aware that elephants in captivity are staked down with a small piece of rope and a small stake?  Any slight movement of their massive leg and they would be free.  Yet, they allow themselves to remain a captive.  Your mind is that rope and stake; Transform your thinking, transform your life!

And remember to share this with your friends and family.  There are so many people in this world that need to hear this message. It is time for us all to live our lives for ourselves and not for what we think others expect of us.

70 thoughts on “Why You Deserve to Be Happy: Stop Living Your Life Based on Other’s Expectations!

  1. Pingback: 10 Lies That Are Keeping You From Success | Dream Big, Dream Often

  2. I love The Far Side comic. Also love your words which are so true. We need to be true to ourselves and stop comparing and feeling the need to please others, sadly for some it takes a lifetime.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Well said. Which is why I encouraged my children to be different. We always rewarded coloring outside the lines, thinking outside the box. They don’t watch TV, pay attention to advertising, buy into the values of their peers. I’m very proud of that. ☺ They are achieving success on their own terms.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Great point Danny. I once heard a quote that stuck with me on this topic: “It’s none of my business what other people think of me.” I modify that thought a bit to note that it is important to me what my loved ones think of me, though I still reserve the right to ignore the feedback.

    That said, peer pressure can be very powerful. I find the older I get the less I care about what others think of me, but rejection and criticism still sting to some degree.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. All my life i’ve been living my life pleasing other people, thinking of what makes them happy that I barely know myself. I wasn’t happy, now trying to transition into not living as what other people expect me.to be.. i can say it feels much better… ^_^

    Liked by 3 people

  6. It is the most empowering thing we can do to not be concerned what others think. So long as we are considerate for each others feelings I say live and let live! As to regret, it is a totally useless emotion and should be avoided at all costs!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post, it’s a very important point and I agree with your summary. One thing though, as empowering being yourself can be, it’s also a lot of heartache. Sometimes you go against the opinion of people you love, and sometimes the road can turn out to be very lonely. So it’s never an easy decision.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I found this interesting Charles Bukowksi poem Life Dance:
    The area divinding the brain and the soul
    is affected in many ways by experience
    some lose all mind and become insane
    some lose all soul and become intellectual
    some lose both and become accepted.

    Talking about conformity,it fits the bil.Great thought provoking post. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Why You Deserve to Be Happy: Stop Living Your Life Based on Other’s Expectations! | S C Richmond

  10. I have a favorite quote on this subject:

    “Do not confuse “duty” with what other people expect of you; they are utterly different. Duty is a debt you owe yourself to fulfill obligations you have assumed voluntarily. Paying that debt can entail anything from years of patient work to instant willingness to die. Difficult it may be, but the reward is self-respect. But there is no reward at all for doing what other people expect of you, and to do so is not merely difficult, but impossible. It is easier to deal with a footpad than it is with the leech who wants “just a few minutes of you time, please – this won’t take long.” Time is your total capital, and the minutes of your life are painfully few. If you allow yourself to fall into the vice of agreeing to such requests, they quickly snowball to the point where these parasites will use up 100 percent of your time – and squawk for more! Learn to say No – and be rude about it when necessary. Otherwise you will not have time to carry out your duty, or to do your own work, and certainly no time for life and happiness. The termites will nibble away your life and leave none of it for you. (This rule does not mean that you must not do a favor for a friend, or even a stranger. But let the choice be yours. Don’t do it because it is “expected” of you.)”

    from: The Notebooks of Lazarus Long, by Robert A. Heinlein

    Liked by 1 person

    • We are absolutely born unique and original. Then society teaches us to conform. But some conformity is good. It teaches us social manners, when to remain silent and when to talk, etc. But we fall into a routine and conform on deeper levels. This is the danger zone.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Reblogged this on bigbanglifeasweseeit and commented:
    “It takes courage to break away and stop living your life based on other’s expectations!”
    I used to live life based on what other people would want me to be, never for myself. Just a few years ago that I had that courage, never too old to start life for myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What a fantastic post. I have a very great example in my Dad, who always did things his way and often swam against the current but had huge success and was always appreciated. He left a mark and it’s for the most part because he did the things in a very unusual way.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: My Picks Of The Week #11 | A Momma's View

  14. Pingback: Links To Motivation And Leadership Articles (4-6-2016) – My Daily Musing

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