7 Things You Should Never Let Anybody Tell You About Yourself

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Growing up in our culture, we're taught to trust our parents, our teachers, our doctors, and other authority figures. We're not always taught to trust ourselves. This does us a disservice, because there are things nobody knows more about than you know yourself. While others' advice can be helpful, we all need to learn to rely on ourselves and our inner wisdom. As the saying goes, it's more useful to teach someone to fish than it is to feed them, especially if the thing they're fishing for is self-knowledge.

"It's exhausting trying to be everything to everyone. But more to the point, it's unsustainable. Eventually, the psyche just collapses in on itself, like a sinkhole of muck, pressured by the weight of trying to figure out who other people want you to be. To be truly happy, you must honor the truth of you. But all too often, finding this truth is profoundly complicated," licensed marriage and family therapist Dr. Paul Hokemeyer J.D., PhD, tells Bustle. "Hold on to your truth and allow it to absorb into your psyche. When you find yourself going into judgment around it, label the judgment as defeating thoughts and push them away."

Here are some things you should not let anybody tell you about yourself, because you really do know better.


When Something Is Off With Your Body

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

You have lived in your body all your life and you know when something's not normal. Doctors too often tell women their health problems are just anxiety or depression, but you'd know if you were anxious or depressed, just like you know if you're sick or injured. If a doctor doesn't listen to you, find someone who will. You need and deserve attentive, compassionate care.


Who You Jive With Romantically

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It's one thing for somebody you love to express concern that you're in a toxic or abusive relationship and another for them to project their preferences onto you. Your significant other needs to treat you right, but other than that, there are no rules for who you should or shouldn't date. Your relationship might not make sense to others from the outside, but what really matters is that you love and care for each other.


What You Should Do With Your Career

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

People will project all sorts of ideas about what constitutes success onto you, but this reflects their upbringings and values, not yours. The thing you'll do best is whatever you're most passionate about, and nobody knows what that is better than you do.


How You Need To Be Treated — And When You're Not Being Treated That Way

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Many people have been victims of gaslighting, or making someone out to be irrational or delusional so that they'll doubt their own feelings. One common form of gaslighting is telling someone who's hurt by your actions that your actions were not, in fact, hurtful. But if someone's actions hurt you, they shouldn't want to repeat them in front of you. How someone else might react to the same things is irrelevant. You get to set your own boundaries.


What You Should Eat


There's value in reading up on nutrition, but what's even more valuable is paying attention to how different foods feel in your body. Women's eating habits are constantly policed, if not in the name of beauty standards then in the name of health. But what's really healthy is eating what makes you feel energized and good. You don't need a scientific explanation for why; that knowledge alone is enough. And nobody can judge your health by your looks.


What You Value

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Just because you grew up with certain values or the people around you espouse them doesn't mean you have to have them yourself. Nobody gets to project their values onto you, and you're never obligated to agree with theirs.


Who You Are

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

People love to make judgments about other people's personalities, but you can't always tell these things from the outside. Someone may act super chill but suffer from a lot of anxiety. Others appear emotionless but feel things extremely deeply. Don't let anybody tell you who you are. You're the absolute authority on that.

In short, you're the authority on yourself. Others may push back when you assert that authority, but don't give in. You're the expert on you.