“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music”
A bit trite to be opening up an article on a philosophy blog with a quote by Nietzsche, but it was just too hard to resist including something that so captures some of what I’m are trying to say here. There are ALWAYS going to be people who will never hear the music your thoughts dance to, never see the path you tread and hence assume you are, to quote the infamous Rita Skeeter “nutty as squirrel poo”
Well, to that I say- so what?
Squirrel poo is a mighty beneficial thing, and personally I think there’s nothing to be ashamed of I being compared to such a fine brand of fertilizer. Not a very appetizing thought to most perhaps, but then again, the point is, this is my opinion and it is even now contributing to the wide plethora of opinions outlooks and observations over the internet. So let us contribute 10 more reasons, shall we?
- It allows you to be true to yourself
The most obvious (and important) first. The biggest disservice you can do yourself is shape shifting to please your “audience” of the moment. It’s exhausting (even to watch) and, more importantly, pointless. You will never fully develop as an individual and more often than not, fail miserably at your attempt to integrate with a particular club of people. Life has a knack for throwing situations at you that will soon show the world what you are really like, and, ironically, in this judgmental society of ours- there is probably nothing so abhorred as someone deemed to be acting fake in order to ‘fit in’.
- It’s a lot less stress
Following naturally from point number one comes this very welcome little extra benefit. Chances are, if you have ever tried to act different to who you know yourself to be, for any reason or time period (and I cannot think of anyone who hasn’t done this at least once) you are familiar with the stress of it all. The anxiety about being found out after one wrong move, the tension of thinking up spontaneous but believable replies to any question anyone may ask the ‘current you’ for want of a better word. All of it combined is positively nerve wracking! Take a break and treat yourself to the luxury of a lot less hassle and worry by casting aside your inhibitions and being completely, completely yourself.
- You develop true and lasting relationships
Speaking of how all of this relates to other people and how life is bound to reveal you for who you really are soon enough anyway, consider for a moment how everyone else might react in such a situation. The ones who have known you all along as the wonderful (or not so wonderful) individual that you are will find it no surprise. Those who haven’t, however, are in for a shock and will probably never be the same with you again (at best) or run screaming for the hills (at worst). The fact remains that being yourself will minimize the chances of you surrounding yourself with the aforementioned ‘run for the hills at first sign of change’ variety of person and move toward having relationships with the people who will stick with you through thick and thin-because, after all, when someone knows who you really are and still hang around, they love you for just for being you.
- It helps increase your creative potential
It’s only by digging deep into your own self that you discover ideas that resonate with others. You’re able to see WHY you can look at something and love it, hate it, or be bored by it. And once you know why you’re responding that way, you can craft your work to evoke those specific feelings in others.Ask this question to any creative genius you look up to- an artist, an actor, a mathematician, a scientist, a musician or evn that really good paan wala bhaiiya at the corner who’s new combinations make for a mouth watering treat. I guarantee they will all, in their own way, advocate the importance of knowing what YOU like and following what you think sounds, looks, feels or tastes best in order to create a creative masterpiece. Try it, go on.
- You contribute so much more to the world
Ever heard of a child who would rather own a box of 12 grey crayons because ‘grey is the new black’? Or even a box of all black for that matter because it is ‘classic’? No! The more the better says the child! A pack of 24 different shades is always better that one with 12, and they wouldn’t say no to a pack of 80 if you can manage it. The same applies to life. Don’t deprive the world of the vibrant purple or cooling green of your thoughts by masking it under the guise of whatever colour block you are determined to be a part of. The world needs YOU, in all your flawed glory, to truly be complete and please that colour loving inner child living inside you and everyone around.
- It helps increase self esteem
‘You alone are enough’ said Maya Angelou, ‘you have nothing to prove to anybody’.
When you discover that being yourself truly is enough to have everything you tried to get by being someone else-its enormously beneficial to your own sense of self worth. There are people who want to be friends with you for who you are. There are those who admire you for your own brand of talent. Your opinions are counted-yours, uncensored and unrestricted, not bound by the fetters of anyone else’s expectations. That’s something to be really proud about, something to make you feel good about yourself.
- It prepares you for greater success
In life, whether it be a job interview or something more- individuality is always valued. No one wants a workplace full of the same type of people. No one wants a brainstorming session with all the same kind of ideas coming from every direction. No one wants a writer writing books exactly like previous best sellers and no one (except a very accomplished art thief probably) would make an artist who can simply replicate old paintings successful. Every successful idea in this world- be it a theory, a formula, a blueprint, an idea- has always been original, individual and new.
- You have the power to say no when you want
Fear of ostracism, unwillingness to be disliked and unwillingness to be considered different and thereby undesirable and strange often lead to people making decisions they ordinarily wouldn’t want to. Peer pressure pushing teenagers everywhere to try drugs is perhaps one of the greatest examples of this. When you are fearlessly yourself, these fears gradually melt away (refer to points 2 and 3) and you have the power to say no to what you don’t want to do and live life on your own terms.
9.You will have fewer regrets
Perhaps in an obvious follow up to the previous point, when you make decisions based on what you want and feel will be best for you, chances are that they will be the ones you least regret. This is because when you look back, even at an attempt that failed miserably or a venture that went wrong, you will know that you did all you could and will never be faced with the nagging question of ‘what if?’ gnawing away at your soul. Knowing that you have lived life the way you wanted to, being true to your heart is the best antidote to any possible self pity or regret that might rear its ugly head at some point.
- You are a much needed inspiration to others-to all of us.
This one is self explanatory. I need say no more.