If you want to self-actualize (reach your fullest potential), then you must learn to accept yourself for who you are & who you want to be and take personal responsibility for your life and how you feel.
And along the way to self-actualization, you must be prepared to be unpopular. Don’t leave your sense of worth and well-being in the hands of others.
Those who achieve greatness in life don’t let others dictate how they feel about themselves — and neither should you.
Your quirks. Your interest in unusual things. The small things that bring you joy. The odd things you do because they feel right to you. The unique things that you find funny — or fascinating — these are the things about you that make you truly unique and different from others — and they are among, if not the most beautiful things about you.
It can take bravery to be yourself and exert your individuality, but the alternative — to conform — is to become less of an individual. While there is an implied comfort & safety in conformity, conformity represents the ordinary. The status quo. And it is the enemy of creativity.
It is ok to fit in, but to actively change yourself to be just like the crowd is to yield your personal power & influence to others.
If you’re weird, own that shit. You don’t have to be ashamed or embarrassed by it. In a world full of people doing their best to fit in, you don’t – and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
But if you don’t own your weirdness – or you allow yourself to be embarrassed by it – people who prefer the ordinary will often find ways to make you feel like a lesser person because of it.
The fact is, the things that make you unique – even if they’re weird – can be a source of great satisfaction & immense personal power in your life – but only if you fully accept them and refuse to see the things that make you stand out as flaws.
When you learn to use your uniqueness as a source of power instead of weakness, your whole world can change. Because another word for weird is remarkable. And the world is drawn to remarkable things.
Many people use the term “weird” as if it’s a bad thing, but it’s really not. Anyone can try to fit in – and many people spend their entire lives making sure they do – but the fact is, there’s nothing remarkable about conforming to a crowd.
While confronting the people who harbor ill will against you can sometimes result in a peaceful resolution, it often doesn’t.
So rather than confront one’s haters, it may often be best to let people be wrong or mistaken about you than waste your time trying to convince them of something they are likely to refuse to believe anyway.
“Be selective in your battles, sometimes peace is better than being right.” — Unknown.
Anyone using their time to bash you is really saying you are the most important use of their time. Because of all the things in the world they could be focused on, they’re focused on you.
In an odd way, it’s almost as if having haters is a compliment. You are so important to them that they would rather spend their precious time giving you (negative) attention than doing anything else.
And while you can’t control critics, you can control how you react to criticism.
And one of the most effective ways to react to unjustified criticism to ignore it — and instead focus on whatever it is that helps you meet your goals, makes life meaningful to you, or makes you happy.
“My philosophy is: It’s none of my business what people say of me and think of me. I am what I am and I do what I do. I expect nothing and accept everything. And it makes life so much easier.” — Anthony Hopkins
Haters, more than anything, want your attention. You don’t have to give it to them.
Learning to not have to explain one’s self is one of life’s rewards.
Learning to not get emotionally invested in what people think of you one way or the other is another.
“Life is too short to stress yourself with people who don’t even deserve to be an issue in your life.”
People will like and respect you or they won’t — and getting people to like you doesn’t involve convincing them to.
The best thing you can do is just be yourself and let others make up their own minds. No amount of hate from a tiny minority is going to convince those who know the true you to think otherwise.
Anyone that is so easily swayed to think the worst about someone without giving them any direct consideration or benefit of the doubt isn’t the type of person you want to associate with anyway.
Just be a good person, lead by example, and let people think what they want, the rest will take care of itself.
“Sometimes I think I’m crazy because I see things differently than everyone else.”
You’re not crazy if you don’t always agree with the crowd. Group dynamics is one of the most powerful forces in human psychology.
The Asch conformity experiments demonstrate that even the most seemingly logical of people can be influenced to make bad decisions due to one’s internal desire to conform to group expectations.
“Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within groups of people, in which the desire for harmony in a decision-making group overrides a realistic appraisal of alternatives. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative ideas or viewpoints.
…The primary socially negative cost of groupthink is the loss of individual creativity, uniqueness, and independent thinking.” — Wikipedia
Group dynamics can cause people to act irrationally and at their own expense or the expense of others.
Group dynamics can cloud the truth, cause us to desire junk, turn us against people we love, and even follow & support leaders who would do us harm.
Group dynamics is often at the core of prejudice and discrimination.
Independent thinking is far less common than it should be. It should be praised.
It takes an exceptional kind of integrity to stick up for what you believe is right and true when facing a group.
Being able to see things differently is a valuable skill and is often what allows us to make great strides in technologies and processes that benefit all. Due to group dynamics, however, truly new and original ideas are often ridiculed before they are accepted.
“For a work to be truly creative, it has to depart from the status quo at some point. That departure makes many people uncomfortable.” — David Burkus (99u)
The ability to see things differently than the crowd and maintain one’s integrity despite pressure to conform is a gift. Being able to see things differently than other people doesn’t make you crazy. It makes you valuable.
“The person who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been before.” — *Francis Phillip Wernig
The consequences of continually catering to others people’s expectations can affect everything in our lives, from the types of jobs we hold, to what we buy with our money, to the people we have relationships with, and how happy and fulfilled we are as a result. This is why if one wants to truly live an authentic and fulfilling life, it’s important to not only know thyself, but “To thine own self be true.”