Millennials have grown up our entire lives hearing things like, “respect your elders by respecting their wishes”, “be aware of the consequences of your actions” and, “don’t waste opportunities, no matter what”.
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with teaching us to consider outside factors when making decisions, this “you owe the world something” mentality has created a generation of young adults who are incapable of saying no, even when we should.
Instead, we commit to activities when we’re already physically and mentally overbooked. We cling to friendships or relationships that are holding us back. We stay in jobs that aren’t fulfilling.
And it doesn’t matter how stuck we feel, or if we know deep down that we deserve better, it feels downright impossible to let go.
We have an overwhelming urge to avoid letting others down. To not disappoint people we care about. To follow through at all costs.
But this inability to drown out the voices and wishes of those around us and actually make decisions for ourselves is at odds with our fundamental responsibility to be our authentic selves.
The whole point of these years is to mess up over and over. In order to figure out who we want to be and how to get there, we have to take our decisions into our own hands.
So what if your parents want you to go into a certain field but you're heart isn't in it? You're not required to follow through with years of schooling and a lifetime of work that doesn’t mean anything to you.
Who cares if there's history between you and someone who isn't adding anything to your life anymore? You’ll always be grateful for your time together but you need to move on. They have no right to treat you anything other than the best.
Why stay in a job that pays the bills but you hate? Your boss deserves an employee who is actually passionate about their work. You're too young to be dreading getting up in the morning.
It will feel weird at first. It will take everything inside of you to resist sucking up your unhappiness to please other people.
But it will get easier. And as you start to exercise agency in your own life, you'll be shocked at how free you feel.
Because there’s only one outcome when you let others dictate your life, and that’s regret.
So do yourself a favor. Ignore the path you think you should go down and follow the one you can’t stop thinking about.
Only you know which direction will make you happy - so don’t you dare let anyone stand in your way.