Be Yourself, Love Yourself

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By Wes Annac, Culture of Awareness

Too many people want to tell you how to live, and you might be made into an outcast if you don’t follow along.

Good.

In a conformist society, to be an outcast is to be unique. Why try to please people who’ll judge you no matter what you do when you can make your own path and be free instead?

Most people want to fit in because of a sense of inadequacy and vulnerability, and they try to fill the hole in their hearts with other people’s approval. They don’t have enough self-love to know they don’t need approval to be happy, and if they loved themselves, they wouldn’t care as much about what other people think.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t try to get along with people, but we shouldn’t sacrifice who we are just to please them. We can extend ourselves a little and try to relate to them, but to mirror them or give in to peer pressure for the sake of approval is to sacrifice our uniqueness and authenticity.

We’ll know it isn’t right based on how it makes us feel, but the need to fit in is too strong for some people to notice.

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We can get rid of this apparent need by accepting ourselves for who we are, which is difficult because of the expectations set by society. It’s easy and sometimes preferable to be an outcast or a loner, and it feels a thousand times better than fitting in with a world that doesn’t understand you.

You can have hundreds of friends and still feel lonely, because most of these friendships are usually superficial and would break if the real ‘you’ were discovered. Everyone’s trying to fit in by putting on a mask and pretending it’s their real face, and we’ve hidden our authenticity so well that we don’t even know who we are anymore.

The mask we wear to please others is an illusion; a false identity that, if we’re lucky, prevents social rejection. We fake kindness so we don’t stand out, and our politeness keeps people from noticing or rejecting us.

I think the need to be polite stems from the need to be accepted, and while love and kindness are important, we need just a little chaos to wake people up.

We shouldn’t be out burning and looting because it won’t solve anything, but our own little form of anarchy can be to speak our minds without caring what people think. We might lose friends we thought we had for life, but only if they choose to walk away.

We can disagree with someone and still respect their right to feel the way they do, and we shouldn’t distance ourselves from friends or family just because we disagree with them. If they don’t accept us, we can honor their choice instead of being upset.

Their rejection says more about them than us, and if they ever change their mind, we can welcome them with open arms.

Self-love. Credit: yogawithelissa.com

Confidence and self-love give us the freedom to live how we want, and those who are free don’t measure their self-worth by their popularity.

They’re even okay with the disagreements they share with family, and they respect everyone; not because they want to fit in, but because they want to share love.

No one should take abuse, but our differences can initiate respectful debate instead of causing war like they do now. The world will start to change the day people love themselves enough to empathize with others, and I can only imagine what humanity will accomplish when we stop fighting over petty things.

For now, people will continue to fight and try to convert each other so the best thing we can do is to subvert this twisted system by being ourselves and rebelling a little. We can (and perhaps should) rebel with an open heart by doing what we feel called to do and letting people think of it what they will.

We just have to love ourselves first.

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