I’m reading a book at the moment, which is basically about belonging. The gist of the book is that you don’t belong just by agreeing with and adhering to everything your group says. You belong by being your authentic self, by belonging to yourself first, even if that self does not agree with the group. It can be a tough path but one that is worth it in the end, and it is one that resonates with me.
I have spent most of my life having to comply. As a child of course we have to comply with family, and with school rules etc. As a teenager, you have a certain street cred to keep up, so again, you tend to comply with your peers on whatever is current fashion or in vogue. I then spent 26 years working for a bank, on a career path, and having to comply with certain dress codes and ways of being, wearing a suit, having short and neat hair, working long hours and so on. After taking early retirement, I had a second career where similar things applied. It seems like most of my life I have had to ‘toe the party line’ rather than go against the trend and risk all that that might bring.
But it is not me!
I guess being older is very liberating – I no longer have an employer to ‘please’, I no longer give a fig about street cred, in fact with my mop of grey hair, I can get away with a lot more than I used to when I was younger. When I finally retired completely, I had a mini rebellion, grew my hair long……and grew a beard as well. I know its not that radical but I did say it was a MINI rebellion 🙂 ! As a photographer, if I see a picture, I will now go for it, even if it means laying down on a wet pavement in the middle of a bustling city or doing something equally stupid – I would never have done that when I was younger! ‘What will people think of me?’ would echo around my head. As a funny aside, I have been asked several times by passers by if I was ok as people had thought I’d collapsed with a heart attack, especially if I happened to be wearing a heavy rucksack at the time!
Now I should say here that I am a man of integrity and mini rebellion or no rebellion, I would never do anything that was morally wrong. I mean simply that I no longer feel the need to comply and if I have a view that is contrary to others, I will happily put it out there……in a considerate way of course. And I am happy to do things that may be viewed by others as ‘silly’, and actually it is quite fun 🙂 ! In short, I am more happy to be ME…….although I reckon I still have further to go with this!
Those of you who have been following this blog will know that I am a Christian which means, I guess, that I am in a minority, but that does not bother me other than that I wish everyone could experience what being a Christian does for your life. Of course, Jesus himself said not to hide our light under a bushel but to be prepared to stand out.
There is an adage that says, no one can be you as well as you, so be yourself. Never be afraid to stand out, not in a bad way, but to hold firm to your beliefs and for what is right, even if others don’t agree with you. Don’t just follow the masses. There is a good chance that others will respect you more for it!
So, as my title says, ‘Never be afraid to stand out’! And of course to stand up for what you believe is right.
Thanks for visiting Time to Reflect and for reflecting with me.
(All words and pictures on this blog are copyright of Terry Yarrow and must not be reproduced without permission)