We were not born into this wonderful gift of a life to spend it living up to someone else’s expectations or fighting for their good opinion. We are all human with needs, and it’s natural to want to be successful. It’s natural to want to feel respected and significant,  know that we are loved and have something of value to contribute.

But to sacrifice our own beliefs and go against our truth while we seek reassurance and approval from others is the quickest way to lose oneself and let the world steal our happiness.

Each year on my birthday I like to set my intention for the year. This year my mantra is “Do no harm but take no shit”. It is easy to be a doormat. The 25 year old Erika was a doormat. A dirty little doormat. But not the 26 year old Erika. Here are my top 10 things you need to stand for:

1. When people do bad stuff, call them on it. Yes, their karma will eventually have them, but the entire world need not suffer in the meantime. Sometimes karma needs a push

2. Stay true to your core values. Stand up for what you believe in. Speak your truth even when no one is listening!

3. Face your fears; don’t hide behind people.

4. Get out of your own way. You are your own worst enemy

5. Don’t let anyone else define what, or who, you are. No one likes a doormat for anything but wiping their feet.

6. Sit and get really quiet with yourself! If you can’t stand yourself why should anyone else.

7. Own your feelings — the good, the bad and the ugly.

8. You can’t love everyone.

9. Oh yeah, own your s**t. Embrace you imperfections. They are what makes you truly beautiful.

A flower breaks through the hard earth to share its beauty. We must break through the things that (we think) hold us back before we can shine.

10. Try as hard as you can to be in the moment. Enjoy life and do good. There is so much beauty in the world, drink it in and add your beauty to it.

And a bonus, (since #8 was more of a question)

11. Use your love of drama for good not evil. Truth be told I love me some occasional drama.

The big take away point is simple – people are judging you every day, there’s nothing you can do about it, that’s their business, wish them well and get on with being you. People don’t need to like you, but YOU do and the right people will love you regardless of your personal choices. Those who follow their truth, who dismiss the obstacles of feeling lonely, misunderstood, judged or disliked are the ones who change the world.

LOVE yourself. ACCEPT yourself. RESPECT yourself. ALLOW yourself. Other people’s opinions of you are none of your business. Take back your power and apply your energy wisely!

With love from the Trench kitchen,