BY SOFO ARCHON
“No shepherd, and one herd! Everyone wants the same, everyone is the same: whoever feels different goes willingly into the madhouse.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche
Everyone is unique, without exception. Sadly, most of us don’t realize this fact–we don’t accept ourselves for who we are and wish we were different. Naturally, this is causing enormous sadness and discomfort to us, because, how can we be happy and at ease, unless we accept and love ourselves?
In the culture that we live, we have learned that we are not enough as we are. Since we were little children, we have been taught that we need to be a certain way in order to be accepted by the society. Parents, teachers, priests, and so on, wanted us to conform to society’s standards, or else we were warned that we would be left alone–abandoned. Out of fear, most of us chose to conform.
Now, although we have been accepted by the society, deep down we feel empty and insecure. We feel lonely and disconnected. We feel a heavy burden deep within us that doesn’t allow us to act free and spontaneously. We have suppressed our true self so much that we don’t anymore recognize who we are. We have lost touch with our heart and spirit.
Unless we realize our uniqueness and accept ourselves for who we are, without caring about the opinions of others, we are never going be free, honestly express ourselves, and live in joy. Here is a small yet concise non-conformity guide, offering tips to help you stop following the herd, listen to your inner voice, create your own path and walk on it, and reclaim your life.
Doubt your beliefs
The first and foremost thing one should do in order to stop following the herd and create his or her own path, is to doubt all the beliefs that have been handed down to him or her, whether by parents, friends, teachers, religious teachers, or others. Mass beliefs can be limiting if we don’t have any solid basis for holding them, distorting our perception of ourselves and our relation to the world, making us think and behave in irrational ways, which many times can cause harm to ourselves and those around us.
Stay away from what is keeping you down
From when we were very young, we have learned to do things that we don’t enjoy doing, be in company of people that we don’t like, do work that we hate–in short, to live a life that sucks–and without ever complaining about it! Whatever is pulling your soul down, push it away from you, or learn to deal with it, without being negatively influenced by it. Of course, this is very difficult to be achieved, considering the mad world that we’re living in, but that doesn’t mean you should stop trying to relieve yourself of all the burdens that have been placed upon you and give up seeking for a more beautiful life.
Listen to your heart
What is your passion? What is your heart beating for? What gives meaning and purpose to your life? Whatever your calling is, be sure to follow it, and your life will be totally transformed. Instead of doing things because you “should” do them, find and do those things that you love doing. When you first start listening to your heart and following your inner voice, you might find that many people will negatively criticize your way of thinking, trying to make you stop turning your dreams into reality, and live a normal life like they do. This, however, should not prevent you from achieving your goal, but, on the contrary, it should motivate you to escape the herd and live like how every human being is supposed to live.
A necessary thing to finding integrity, creating your own path, and reclaiming your life, is to be honest with yourself and others, no matter the consequences. Don’t say “yes” when you feel like saying “no”. Voice your opinion when you feel injustice is taking place. Express how you think and feel in general, so you can communicate your being with people, avoiding misunderstandings, and make it clear to others that you desire this or that kind of life. People are usually afraid to go against the current, and instead choose to compromise themselves, afraid that nobody will like them. But I am telling you: those who don’t like you for being yourself, don’t deserve a place in your life! Surprisingly, the moment you become honest, you’ll become like a magnet, attracting effortlessly like-minded individuals, who will accept you just the way you are and support you whenever you need their help. In the end, it doesn’t matter if you have plenty of fake friends — what matters is that you have real ones, even if they are just a few.
Let go of your past
What is past is past. Learn from your past experiences, but don’t cling to them. Look and move forward, leaving the burdens of the past behind. No matter what your life has been so far, it doesn’t have to be this way in the future. Whether you have been a slave to ideologies or just an insecure person who was following the norms, afraid to think and act on your own, your life can take a completely different direction, if you are willing for this. From today, make a conscious choice to live the way you want to live, not the way others want you to live. You, just as all human beings, deserve to live a free, creative, beautiful life, and we should not allow anyone or anything to deprive you of it.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
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