There are over 8 billion people in the world, but only one me; it has taken me 21 years to realize this. But if we make each decision based off of what others think about us, we will still be unable to please someone, let alone 8 billion people. Life is all a mindset. The way you focus your mindset will affect how you live your life, and I know this is true because of personal experience.

I did a little experiment where I went out one day and did things based not on how I thought I should do them, but by how I wanted to act. This can be a little difficult with the eyes of many surrounding your every move, but I changed the way I thought of it. I asked myself: I will most likely never see these people again, so why should it matter how I act in front of them? This doesn't mean I can strip down naked and run amok, but it means if I do something out of my comfort zone and it doesn't go as planned, those people will probably forget about it just as they forgot what they ate for breakfast that day. Think about how many crazy things you have witnessed in your life...yeah.. so many that you can't even remember half of them. If you want to go up to someone because shooters shoot, go for it. The worst that can happen is you are rejected, and we can’t live our lives fearing rejection. I have rejected many, as I am sure you all have as well. Does that mean they should automatically beat themselves up about it and bury their heads underground? No, because not everyone is going to love ME and not everyone is going to love YOU. What others think about us should not and does not matter nearly as much as what we think of ourselves. I spent years of my life starving myself so that I could please people's eyes. All this did for me was make me sick. If I had worked on my body for myself instead of changing it for others, I may not have lost so many important years of my life. This past year, I have looked at life with an entirely different outlook. Who cares what other people think of me? I know my flaws and am able to acknowledge them and by accepting that, I have been able to accept the fact that other people may notice them too. If we fail to accept our flaws, we will be more severely affected by the opinions of others because we are in a deep denial. Let's face it: no one is perfect, so why not share our imperfections with the world?

Once I stopped basing what I do off of what other people may think of me, I realized how many people actually alter their lives to please others. People dress to appeal to others, people act a certain way to either gain positive attention or avoid negative attention, and people even chose certain meals based on what everyone around them is eating. Let me tell you one thing I hate: conformity. I grew up as a loud-mouthed Greek woman who has been told way too many times to be quiet. Yes, in some circumstances, I really do need to keep it down. But other times, people tell me to be quiet so that attention is not drawn to themselves. I have learned that those people have their own insecurities, but I will not allow them to emphasize mine. If people around me think I'm loud, why should that matter? Those people in crossing I will never encounter again in my life, and they will encounter other people that they think are loud and forget I even exist. Moral of the story: be yourself because if you fail to be for the sake of others, you are wasting your life on someone who will probably forget about you within a matter of minutes. If they don't forget about you, you obviously were significant enough to impact their life, so kudos to you my pal.

I’ve slowly learned to love myself, and in doing so I have realized that odds are, most people are probably worried more about themselves and how they look and present themselves that they are too worried to even notice us. Why waste time trying to impress other people when we can work on impressing ourselves and making an overall good first impression on everyone we encounter along the way? Honestly, the more you stop caring about what other people think, the more you learn about yourself because you aren't always adjusting to outside influences.

Moral of the story: you won't be happy with yourself until you let yourself be happy without the influence of others.