“I existed on my own terms. I was different my entire life. Some called me divergent, wild, crazy, unpredictable and unconformed—an apostate to the rules of the majority. I called myself God’s creation and found purpose in the madness. When that day came, I didn’t allow other people to dictate how I should feel or act. I learned there was no shame in imperfection because history had shown being different had the power to change perspectives and eventually the world. This is when I realized that flaws had responsibility. This was the day that I learned I was truly BLESSED.” ~ Shannon L. Alder
One of the things that unfailingly baffle me is when people expect everyone else to conform. And then I catch myself doing the same thing. This is why I make a conscious effort to take a pause, reflect on my reasons, and stop myself from going any further. Because I know how it feels to be pressured into thinking and doing like the rest of the majority.
Being different is not about being better or worse than anyone. It is just being true to who you are. And it will be a great disservice to you if I try to force you to be who you are not.
Authenticity might just be one of the most challenging things anyone can do. And I believe that genuine respect is about honoring who people are — not molding them to my idea of what they should be.
People who are different sometimes get treated as outsiders. I challenge myself not to do the same to others. Because it could stir up some unpleasant feelings. So the next time I get tempted to say things like…
-You should smile more (not thinking maybe the person really has a bitchy resting face or that perhaps maybe he/she is going through something at that given moment)
-You should go out with me/us more (without considering maybe there are valid reasons why he/she doesn’t)
-You are too serious or <insert whatever “well-meaning” words you can think of here> (essentially suggesting that being like that is a bad thing)
…I will just have to draw from experience to realize how it feels like to hear them.
This is why I am drawn to people who let me be, especially the ones who accept me for who I am.
The people who can embrace a person’s quirks and who do not expect you to act differently around them are the ones worth keeping.