I've spent almost all of my 18 years putting others' happiness before my own. Whether it was instilled in me out of the womb, or due to my social anxiety, I have always valued the opinion of others greater than my own. I never recognized this flaw until now, and never truly considered it a flaw. I'm not here to brag about being a "giving person" who has a "heart too big for this world". I just simply spend more time making sure that my friends and family and those close to me are satisfied before I consider how I personally feel.

I can distinctly remember compromising my own beliefs and acting entirely out of character at a young age to try and please those around me. I would throw away my own opinion as to not step on the toes of an outspoken friend. I'd always make sure I was doing good in school so my parents could be proud of me and never wanted to be a "problem child". If someone was talking poorly of another I would agree just to avoid confrontation, which only created more confrontation. I would so often apologize for things I realize now needed no apology for.

We all learn new things when placed in a new environment or sometimes just have an instantaneous moment of realization. After being pent up in my house for a few days after a tonsillectomy and being in somewhat of isolation, I had my realization. I am entirely capable of making myself happy. I don't need to spend time going out of my away to appease others to make sure I am happy. I can be happy all on my own.

This was something I never truly knew I could do until this year. After my first year of college, a lot has changed. I have changed. Friendships have changed. My life has changed. Change used to scare the heck out of me, but now I embrace it with open arms. I'm done spending every day anxious about what I might have done wrong to ruin a friendship or upset someone else. That's changed.

Life is way too short to spend your own valuable time trying to consistently reach out to people and make sure they know they're valued when they don't reciprocate the same value for your friendship. If someone doesn't want to be in your life, let them leave. Don't hang on to loose ends and what ifs and broken promises and false affections. Stop consuming yourself with the opinion of others and harboring on negative energy. It's time to prioritize yourself, weird concept I know.

One of the biggest changes I've made just this past week is spending an hour a day without my phone. I hide it from myself somewhere I won't remember, which makes looking for it interesting. This helps me stay off of social media which helps keep my mind off of seeing things that will send my mind into a downward spiral of "why wasn't I invited?" "what did I wrong?" "do I need to reach out and be a better friend?" The answer to all of those is a no.

I found a quote when scrolling through Pinterest one day and it has repeated in my mind ever since. "Invest in the people who invest in you." This simply means be the truest, best version of you for the people who show they care for you. The ones who reach out to you on a bad day. The ones who will send a random text even if you haven't talked in weeks just to remind you they're there. The ones who show a valiant effort to help make you a better person. The true friends in your life.

So to all my fellow people pleasers out there, STOP.

It's time to focus on making someone else happy, YOU.