It has been said time and time again that your twenties are your 'selfish' years. As an extremely empathetic person, I struggled with this concept for the longest time. Always trying to please others, live up to preset expectations, and focus on those around me are common traits of mine, so it has taken great practice to fully understand the truth behind those words.
There is no other point in our lives quite like the time we are living in currently. Throughout high school, we have rules and restrictions from caring parents who may worry a little too much. After college, we have careers and families unfolding which brings about more responsibility than we can even fathom right now. The time in between is the only time where we can focus on ourselves without any (major) restrictions.
However, this is not meant as 'selfish' in a sense that you can focus only on yourself without possible repercussions on those around you. Understand this 'selfish' decade as a time to prioritize responsibility, figure out what you want out of life, and go get it. As cliche as it sounds, you really will find who you need to be.
After spending my first half of college struggling to be 'this' or 'that' for other people, I have learned some valuable lessons. More than anything, my ability to say "no" when I'm too busy or more than likely just not wanting to do something, has become my biggest blessing.
Trying to get into nursing school (and my path leading me there) has been the most time consuming, stressful, indescribable struggle, and I simply just do not have the time or patience to be a part of things I do not truly want to be anymore. Beyond that, it has taught me how to prioritize my responsibilities, set effective goals, and understand exactly what I want to do for ME.
While I still look to my family and close friends for advice and see to it that my relationships with them do not suffer, I know that by doing the right thing for me right now, it will in turn improve my relationships with them later. After all, you cannot pour from an empty glass.
Overall, do not be afraid to be selfish throughout this season of life. Put yourself and your needs first, and you will see that happiness is much more easily attainable that way. Learn to say no, work your ass off, and grow into the person you have always been meant to be.