I'm a huge believer that we are the captain of our own lives, that we should take command of them and all happiness and sorrows in our lives are well within our control. For that reason, I've learnt early on that I need to do what's best for me. Sometimes that means I'm extremely selfish and heartless, but sometimes it just means I'm determined and focused. From the lives of people around me, often I learn that we have to be at least a little bit selfish all the time—so that we won't be taken advantage of by others or being forced to lead a life we hate, because we owe ourselves that much to love and respect ourselves. I mean, if we don't do it, who else can?
This small realisation on how much power I actually hold to make my life less stressful had a huge impact on me. Taking it a step further, I filter out various aspects of my life. As simple as decluttering my room and social media space—such as getting rid of items I no longer use and unfollowing people I no longer gravitate towards—to something drastic, like cutting off "friends" who keep dragging me down or like leaving the life I used to have. Big or small, these actions definitely create significant impact. Having a clean and organised room brings peace to my mind and losing toxic friends definitely unloads my emotional burden.
There are times when changing our lives, taking control of it, means we have to leave most or all the things we love from the life we previously lead. For better or worse, that is never an easy choice to make—I should know, I made that choice 6 years ago and reversed it 3 years later, only to keep doing so for another 3 years. It takes great courage, they say, but the truth is, I still don't know if I made the right choice—maybe no one does, maybe that's the point.
And sometimes it feels like I've burnt too many bridges to build new ones. In turn, that makes me want to rebuild those bridges, only to find that there was a reason I let them fall away in the first place. Sometimes it definitely feels like I should be more considerate of others or sacrifice more for others—but to do so at the expense of my happiness and dignity is where I draw the line. Maybe that makes me a selfish person, maybe that makes me a heartless person, but at the end of the day, I will know that whatever joy and misery that befalls me are not entirely out of my control—as are yours.