How to Be the Protagonist of Your Own Story

We are a society built upon judgement. We measure our self-worth by the amount of compliments we receive or the amount of likes a picture gets on social media. And it’s not just a theme in our generation as many people seem to think. Our parents and their parents and everyone else before them has dealt with the same issue, albeit in different forms. As humans, we thrive on the validation of others regardless of whether we’d like to admit it or not. We are in an inevitable state of exposure to constant judgement and expectations by classmates, family, colleagues, and even complete strangers. The opinions of others tend to be greatly valued when they pertain to ourselves. While it is important to be open to criticism, we often saturate our minds solely with the opinions of others leaving no room for any of our own. We begin to take a back seat on our lives as we become the supporting roles of our own narrative, watching others dictate the path that our lives will take. 

Reclaim your role as the protagonist.

Most people imagine the protagonists as the good guys, the heroes. That’s not always the case. There are protagonists- both fictional and in real life- that don’t always have such good intentions. Certainly, they're still defined as protagonists; they're strong figures with an even stronger handle on their lives. However, if they are corrupt and destructive, are they really still heroic protagonists? Or are they merely protagonists lacking benevolent substance? Remember that it is up to you as to what kind of impact you want to leave on the world. You are not your past, you are not your obstacles, you are not anything else other than what you build yourself to be. At times, there will be circumstances beyond your control, but what's important is that you do not let them control you. A world full of hatred and judgement will never define you, but it's how you react to them that will. 

Here are some tips to help you take charge of your own life and bring out the inner protagonist in you:

Trust your gut: Trusting your impulses does not equate to being careless or irresponsible. It’s important to recognize that there are times when you will have to rely on your head and logic over your gut instinct. For many of us, we have yet to find a balance between emotional thinking and the logical process of the brain as we often veer towards the latter to handle every circumstance in our life. Most of us don’t stop there, though. In fact, many of us take it to the extremes as mere methodical thinking turns to worry and fear- a constant crescendo of “what ifs". It’s definitely much easier said than done but try just once to believe in your gut instinct. Start small and work up to bigger things- you might just be surprised by your natural knack for intuition.

Remember that you are not for everyone: And there's nothing wrong with that. It's impossible to please everyone. Don't sacrifice your individuality for the sake of pleasing others. As soon as you change yourself to please one person, you'll find a new person that doesn't agree with you. It's not worth it to put up an act for a temporary audience. Start living life for you and focus on improving yourself. Stop searching for people that will love you and start embracing the ones that already do.

Get Organized: It’s more difficult to focus on yourself if you’re constantly surrounded by clutter- both mental and physical. One way to combat this problem is by purchasing a planner or agenda. Another way to stay organized is through making lists. These can be made for everything, no matter how large the task. It’s so much better to get all the jumbled and overwhelming responsibilities out of your head and have them neatly laid out for you in simple bullet points. There’s nothing more satisfying than crossing something off your list and feeling like you’ve accomplished something. While cleansing your mind, don’t forget to do the same for your physical space. Donate those clothes that you keep telling yourself you’re going to wear but never actually do. Throw away the pile of bottles that has been accumulating near your bedside since 2013.

Stop anticipating pain: Oftentimes, we find ourselves reveling in this perpetual 'too good to be true' mindset. Some people explain it as emotional shielding but the reality of it is that typically, these fears we dwell over won’t ever actually happen in real life. In the rare cases where they do come true, their sadness won’t be eliminated or hurt any less because you anticipated it. Pain is inevitable and you will still feel it regardless of how much you try and prepare yourself for it. All that emotional shielding does is preoccupy your thoughts and divert you from living in the moment. Stop letting your worries of a potential future take away from the joy of your current present.

Keep trying: Even if you’re sure it won’t work out. By continuing to push forward there’s still a sliver, a 0.01% chance that something can be accomplished or resolved. However, by doing nothing at all, you’re guaranteeing yourself a 0% chance of anything ever getting fixed.

Don’t be scared to ask for help: You’re a protagonist, not perfection. Every protagonist needs a little help sometimes and there’s nothing wrong with that. Accepting help has come to be associated as a sign of weakness. However, independence can be very destructive when taken to the extreme. Taking everything upon yourself and subjecting yourself to unnecessary internal pressures is what will truly make you weak. If anything, it takes someone with real strength to be vulnerable and self aware enough about their flaws to realize the need for help and seek it out.

By Rawan Olma


  1. Love this a lot.

    I'm wondering: did you take this photo? It's gorgeous.

  2. Thank you! And no if only haha, I found this photo on a creative commons website.