It can be very, very easy to get sucked into worrying too much about what other people think. We often try to look, speak and act like those around us. As a result, many people stay stuck in their shells, afraid to let their real selves be seen for fear of judgement or ridicule by the herd. However, even though there is a human tendency to want to “fit in,” there are a number of ways to live life for yourself, rather than others.
To be clear, you may find that some of the items below do not apply to you, and that is ok. The point here is not that you should have to be radically different in every aspect of your life, but rather that you allow the things that make you different to be seen and heard. The real question is: are you willing to let other people see you for who you are?
That being said, if any of these statements are already true of you, pat yourself on the back, because it means that you have made some choices to live life for yourself, despite what other people may think!
1.You’ve said “no” when someone’s asked you to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable.
2. You’ve pursued a hobby or a job you are passionate about, even though other people think it is weird, unrealistic or ridiculous.
3. You dress out of personal preference rather than to fit in. Perhaps you dress differently than most of the people in your circle or peer group.
4. Due to personal preferences, you’ve chosen a wildly different living situation than most people (like living off of the grid, living in a tiny home or living out of a backpack).
5. You’ve quit a job or dropped out of school simply because it didn’t fulfill you.
6. You’ve come to your own conclusions on subjects like politics and religion, and your political and/or religious views may be very different from the ones you were raised with.
7. You’re willing to speak your mind, even if you know your thoughts may be judged by others.
8. You’ve come out of the closet in some capacity: perhaps with your sexuality, or perhaps you’ve just let people see an aspect of yourself that many people would choose to hide.
9. You’re willing to let go of relationships that no longer serve you. Instead of keeping up appearances, you prefer to have authentic relationships.
10. You’ve disappointed your parents, teacher, boss or other authority figure by following your heart rather than following the rules or expectations.
11. You’ve formed a close relationship with someone you care about even though it has raised eyebrows. Perhaps there’s been a difference in age, race or socioeconomic status that other people disagree with, but you’ve allowed yourself to love who you love regardless.
These are just a handful of ways to live life for yourself rather than for other people. It’s not likely that all of these items apply to you. However, having just one or two of the experiences above is evidence you have made some choices to live life for yourself-even though others may judge or criticize you for it.
Do any of the statements above apply to you? If so, comment and let me know!
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Image by Eric May. This image has been edited.