If you're repulsed by the inauthenticity of our culture, you're in the minority.
While most of us are trying to stay busy, move up in our careers, and buy nicer homes and fancier cars, you might think that this “keeping-up-with-the-Joneses” way of living is maddening.
If you have no interest in climbing the social or financial ladder, spending your life paying off a mortgage, or being an active part of the rat race, this is for you.
There is nothing wrong with you. If your spirit is shining brightly and your soul is focused on your inner pursuits, don’t march to someone else's tune. Live life your own way.
Here are some reminders for how to keep doing that when you're going against the crowd:
1. Listen to that still, small voice.
Follow your intuition. Do not let the actions or lifestyles of others influence you, even when it feels impossible. You do you, no matter what anyone else does. You will be so much happier in the long run.
2. Stay in touch with your innermost wants and needs.
Ask yourself regularly what you want. Individuate these things from what your parents and/or the culture thinks is right for you. Check in with yourself anytime you make a decision. Does it align with your values? If not, reassess.
3. Stay far, far away from the comparison zone.
Try to avoid situations in which you might be tempted to compare yourself to others. Don’t take part in activities or hang out with people who might trivialize your integrity or minimize your value.
4. When you can't avoid it, tap into the intrinsic peace that comes from being true to yourself.
If you’re feeling bad about yourself in comparison to others, practice an inner meditation. Take out your journal and write down your feelings. Talk to another friend who lives their truth. Remind yourself that what others think about you has no relevance to your life. You are living your truth. That's the only assurance you need.
5. Know that you are inspiring authenticity in others.
While people may belittle you in front of a crowd, they will admire you and be inspired by you. When you’re living your truth, you’ll be inspiring other people to live their truth (even if they don’t say it). You may spark change in someone else by simply being you.
6. Accept your imperfections.
Once you can accept that you’re not perfect and that you don’t have to live up to anyone else’s standards, you will breathe a big sigh of relief. You are your own person. You are enough regardless of what you do or achieve. You are enough with flaws, shortcomings, and all. All you can do is embrace who you are and strive to become a better version of you.
7. Be patient.
Do the inner work necessary to become more attuned to your truth, and you will get what you want more quickly. Many people live a copycat life because they crave approval. It’s not about anyone’s approval but your own. Be patient with yourself, work on your inner game, and be ready to meet life's opportunities and challenges when they come.
8. Let go of expectations and timelines.
Strive to find peace and happiness in the present moment even if you’re not where you want to be. You have to do certain things by a certain age. If you’re not educated or if you’re not married or if you don’t have a child by whatever age—guess what?—it doesn't matter. Let go of these arbitrary rules and designations. Live according to what feels right to you. Do things on your own terms, in your own time.
9. Surround yourself with people who are, like you, different.
Have your own circle of friends who are going against the grain and living their own truth. Rely on your circle of truth-seekers and soul-seekers to support and uplift you. They will keep you on the right path when you start to feel lost.
Vishnu Subramaniam is a writer, coach, and author of nine self published books, including The Sacred Art of Letting Go: Walk 12 Steps with Spiritual Masters to Let Go of Past Relationships and Find Peace Today. He attended UCLA and worked as an immigration lawyer, but left the legal professional to help people overcome breakups, get out of a rut and build a life they've always wanted.