New Rule: Don’t Do Anything You Don’t Want To Do

Society has conditioned us to think of ourselves as selfish if we put ourselves first, but the truth is that most of us would be better off if we spent more time focusing on ourselves. Even though it’s important to care for the other people in your life, here’s what you need to do in order to give yourself the happiness you deserve:

  1. Don’t do anything you don’t want to do, even if it’s for someone else. If your bestie wants to go out and get hammered on Friday night, but you’d rather stay in and throw on a facemask, that’s totally okay. Don’t let anyone guilt you into doing something that doesn’t feel right. Besides, after the stressful week you’ve had, you deserve a night of relaxing! If you’re feeling pressured and guilty, it just means that you aren’t putting your needs first.
  2. Take yourself on a date. If you want to get in touch with your true self, spending time alone is incredibly important. Don’t be afraid to fly solo to the movies or when grabbing a bite to eat. It’s freeing to know that you don’t need to wait until someone is free to try that new Indian restaurant down the street. Now you can just go whenever you get the craving!
  3. If you aren’t happy or comfortable, leave. It used to be so hard for me to leave a situation if I was uncomfortable, even if I felt like my well-being was at risk. Growing up, I was taught to honor my commitments and never be rude or flaky. While those are all admirable qualities, it’s important that you don’t let that stop you from removing yourself when it could be harmful to your mental and physical health.
  4. Take control of your environment. If it’s your workplace that’s getting you down, find a new job. If your roommate is a clean freak and you feel like you have to walk on eggshells, move out. Too many people stay in an environment that they aren’t happy with because they don’t see a way out. There’s always a choice.
  5. Stay away from toxic people. It can be hard to distance yourself from toxicity, especially if those people are friends or family. At first, you’ll feel disloyal. But you have absolutely no obligation to be around someone toxic. In fact, it’s important that you stay away from those people at all costs. You become who you surround yourself with, so be wary.
  6. Stop being a doormat for everyone. If you’re a kind, compassionate, and empathetic person, people will try to take advantage of you. I’m not saying they have malicious intent; most of them probably won’t even realize what they’re doing. But if you find yourself in a relationship where you give more than you get, you should put an end to it.
  7. Give yourself unconditional love. The best gift we can give ourselves is unconditional love. When you know you deserve the best, you’ll demand the best. You don’t have to worry about someone taking advantage of you because you love yourself enough to know when something isn’t right.
  8. Don’t feel guilty for your self-care needs. Everyone has different needs when it comes to self-care. Personally, if I’m stressed, all I want is to be in my room by myself, with a facemask on — I de-stress by being alone. That might be the exact opposite of you, and that’s okay. I’ve spent a lot of time feeling guilty for how I take care of myself. Taking that weight off my shoulders made a huge difference in my happiness, and I guarantee it’ll make a difference in yours.
  9. Learn the difference between pushing yourself and forcing yourself. There is a fine line between forcing yourself into a situation you shouldn’t be in and pushing yourself past your comfort zone. To live a fulfilled and adventurous life, one must always be extending themselves past what they’re comfortable with. The important thing is to know when you’re putting yourself in harm’s way.
  10. Practice saying no. Boundaries are very critical to have when it comes to self-care. Saying no can be difficult (especially when you’re a people pleaser like I am!), but learning to set boundaries for yourself is the difference between feeling fulfilled and feeling drained.
Piper Ryan is a NYC-based writer and matchmaker who works to bring millennials who are sick of dating apps and the bar scene together in an organic and efficient way. To date, she's paired up more than 120 couples, many of whom have gone on to get married. Her work has been highlighted in The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Cut, and many more.

In addition to runnnig her own business, Piper is passionate about charity work, advocating for vulnerable women and children in her local area and across the country. She is currently working on her first book, a non-fiction collection of stories focusing on female empowerment.