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At 28, life was good.
My family, friends, relationship, and job all checked out. After a series of ups and down, I’d figured out a way to balance all the components of my life.
But something was missing. I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what it was, but I knew I needed to do something in an effort to figure it out.
Like most millennials, I’d frequently document and broadcast my days on social media—sharing much of my personal life with both friends and fans alike. So, I decided I would remove myself from the online world entirely and see what it was like to live life for only me.
Overcome with the need for more, and in a desperate search for what that was, I deleted every single one of my social media apps, and promised myself I’d remain off them for as long as I needed.
I thought it would make me a happier person, but after a couple-month stint off social media, I realized it didn’t make me any better. What it did, instead, was show me that I’d begun missing the interaction I had with strangers—people who’d often reach out to share their stories or enlist my advice. I missed how my life had impacted others to live a life true to themselves, a life with more positivity.
The experience taught me that I’m not meant to live life for only myself. Rather, that mine is a life lived best when shared with others. I had missed making a difference in people’s lives. I was longing for a purpose, and finally discovered what that purpose was.
Now, at 28, life is great.
Over the past few years, I have been fortunate enough to amass a decent online following, mostly from appearances on MTV through my best friend Kail. From this, I have received countless direct messages and tweets from strangers, and spent months engaging in honest, open, and resonant conversation with people from around the world. I recognized that when we as people relate to someone and their story, we learn that we may not be alone in how we feel.
This matters more than I can put into words.
I’ve always believed a stranger is just someone I haven’t gotten to know yet. I have aspired to break down the barriers with fans who’ve seen me on television and communicate with me online. I’ve tried to get to know each and every one of them to best of my ability—and not just to provide them with solutions to the problems they describe, but to learn from them as well. Through these conversations, we can start a community that advocates for self-help, and fosters the kind of relationships necessary to get each of us leading better, more fulfilled lives.
Because people need people. People need connection. And people need purpose.
My personal goal is to remind people that they aren’t alone in the struggles they battle; the only way to do this is by opening up a dialogue about those very struggles. Starting—and continuing—the conversation in order to shed light on the issues that have been kept in the dark for far too long.
My life might be great, but it’s only because I am taking on an active role in helping others live greater lives, too. My YouTube Channel/Podcast series “For The Hayters” is just one avenue that allows me to do this. Being able to help one another persevere through the experiences we face that bring us down.
Because while each of our journeys are unique, the pain we endure is more similar than we can imagine.
Always remember: you are not alone.