When it comes to making decisions in your life, it’s natural to want to get input from the people who matter most, like your friends, family, and significant other. In fact, because they know they have such important roles in your life and because you love them, they may offer their opinions before you even ask for them or even try to make decisions for you!
But as any strong, independent woman knows, it’s important to stand on your own two feet and take charge of your own destiny. So no matter what others may think, there are a few things you should really work out for yourself, for good or ill. Keep reading for a list of things any grown woman should be able and willing to decide for herself.
1. How you want to look
Don’t let others bully you into feeling your appearance or style is inferior to theirs. Want to go for that undercut? Do it. Want to wear less makeup—or more? Do it. Want to wear jeggings with everything? Do it. It’s your body, so own it. In the end, you can only be happy with something you are comfortable with. While input from others may help you make your decisions, in the end, it’s all about what makes you feel confident.
2. What you need and want in life
You’re responsible for the pursuit of your own happiness. Sure, the other people in your life can contribute to that sense of joy and well-being, but in the end, no one but you determines what you need and want to make you happy. If it’s a high-powered career, then that’s fine. If it’s giving up a high-powered career to pursue something that will make you feel fulfilled, that’s fine too. If it’s giving up your job to be a stay-at-home mom, then go for it. Even if it’s something as simple as indulging in a little retail therapy now and then, do the what makes you feel good about yourself.
3. Where to take your career
It’s all too common to give our parents and friends undue influence over our career choices, and this can begin as early as choosing what course to take in college. But in the end, it’s important to find a career path that’s right for you. Whichever one you choose, it’s going to be a long, hard road to success, so it’s important that you choose a path that’ll make all your efforts and sacrifices worth it in the end.[crp]
4. What you’re worth
We don’t just mean this in monetary terms, although you should definitely fight to get the compensation and benefits you deserve in the work place. But people too often turn away from things that will make them happy because they think they don’t deserve it or because they think another person deserves it more. Our insecurities are our own, but they are often fed by other people. Remember that everyone deserves to find love and happiness in life, so long as it doesn’t trample on other people’s chances. No one should ever make you feel like you’re undeserving of the things and people that make you happy.
5. The ways in which you want to grow as a person
We’ve already said that no one but you should determine the course of your happiness, and that includes finding ways to make yourself into a truer version of the person you are. Not sure what we mean by this? It means that only you can undertake the task of truly finding yourself and determining the meaning in your life. And how and when this happens is different for everybody. If you are able to work it out quickly, then well and good. But if you’re a late bloomer, don’t sweat it. Take your time and you will bloom when the season’s right.
6. Who to love
Each of us finds love differently—some by accident, some after giving up, some intentionally and through hard work. It’s different for everybody. We make our own journey and we pick our own partners. Never mind what others think, never mind looking over your shoulder at every turn. Love is a gift, yes, but it’s also a choice. It’s not true that you don’t get to choose who you’ll love in life. In fact, each day you’re with the person you love is a conscious choice to pursue and nurture that love instead of putting it aside. And if the worst should happen, and you need to let go of that love, then that’s a choice you make too. And don’t think we’re only talking about your life partners. This goes for the family and friends you associate too. There comes a time when you need to decide whether their presence in your life is healthy or hurtful to your well-being.
Advice, especially when it comes from someone who knows you well and has your best interests at heart, can be a wonderful thing. But remember that it’s only one thing to keep in mind when it comes to making a decision. In the end, in life, love, and all things, you should stay true to yourself and follow your heart. Be your own person. Make your own decisions. Only then can you claim responsibility for your own happiness.
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Isabelle Sierra is a small lady working in a big city. She likes making references to popular culture, cutting her own hair and dreaming about alternate universes.