A Varied Topography:

Welcoming The Shades Of Yourself

“Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.” – Benjamin Spock

The preferences or value judgments of other people do not supersede your own. You must fully know yourself, so that you can trust yourself and in turn engage freely and confidently in those actions which are meaningful to you, which speak to your truth. There will always be tribal members who are more knowledgeable than you on certain topics, and those individuals should be acknowledged, their opinions and perspectives scrutinized and taken into account. However, when it comes to evaluations of meaning, these observations are entirely subjective and wholly dependent on each individual person. No human being is endowed with any innate authority to evaluate the substantive nature, or perceived lack thereof, of any other individual’s truth.

“Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.” – Bertrand Russell

You must not let the opinions of others dissuade you from exploring your own thoughts, feelings or beliefs. You must never let the truths you’ve personally discovered be diminished by people who are merely ignorant, incapable of understanding the perspective you inhabit as a result of their own inadequacies or lack of reasoning. Many of the most revelatory ideas that are now commonplace and widely adopted, were once ignored, ridiculed, relegated only to the purview of society’s outliers. This is, in fact, still an ongoing and pervasive facet of societal existence. It’s also to be expected, isn’t it?

Why would any idea that goes against accepted cultural beliefs, that requires growth, that challenges the perspectives of all those resolute in their stagnancy, be welcomed and easily adopted? Great ideas will always challenge the collective perspectives of the masses. If it were an easy task to better yourself, to create sweeping, enlightening positive change in the world for yourself and others, then the goal would likely cease to conjure the reverence it inherently instills in those who pursue it.

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” – Laurence J. Peter

Naturally, many people will ridicule or distrust anything out of the ordinary, anything new or dissimilar compared to what they currently believe or expect. As a result, conformity to an arbitrary set of cultural standards, beliefs or activities will always be regarded by the masses, by the whole of society, as a superior goal to that of the adoption or pursuit of any values or actions that are not widely understood, less common or even unique entirely unto you. This is why you must absolve yourself of the artificial value judgments of individuals exterior to yourself.

Embrace your interests, pursue your passions, be true to your values. It should not merely be acceptable to be an outlier, to be weird or different, to engage in actions others have yet to embrace, but should instead be praised. Don’t feel self conscious about those things you do or see differently, instead glorify them. Being normal, means being average. Are you trying to accomplish average things? Or maybe you’re more interested in greatness. Don’t squander the gifts that make you unique, instead acknowledge and celebrate them.

“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.” – May Sarton

Until you are content with who you are, until you can celebrate all of the pieces of your being that make you unique, that make you powerful, you will never truly be at peace. Being genuine with yourself and others will always impart better results than trying to maintain a disingenuous facade at the behest of your culture or peers. This certainly doesn’t mean you should reject every aspect of your society, as much of your success in life will depend on your ability to interface with the people that surround you. Instead, it simply means that you must know and understand your own values, that you must cultivate your own perspective separate from the external world. Otherwise, you’ll lose the ability to distinguish your core self, your desires and values, from the beliefs of those that inhabit the external construct surrounding you.

“You do not write your life with words… You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.” – Patrick Ness

No one can ever know your thoughts or see through your eyes. Your actions are the only things capable of telegraphing your desires, intent or perspective. Even if you harbor some mental misgivings about a certain task, you may choose to act in spite of your internal reservations. Ideally, you should seek to cultivate a positive, productive outlook on life so that your thoughts may spur the most competent and altruistic of actions. Just remember though, the history books will only tell the stories of your action or inaction, for they will never know the inside of your heart or mind.