TOTW: Just Be Yourself

” To avoid criticism; do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.”

I haven’t usually been one to let other people dictate my opinions or my behavior in life. I have been well known as self-assured; I have a big personality but I have always taken pride of that and embraced who I am as a person. However, especially as I get older, I have welcomed constructive criticism as I understand the importance of developing and growing yourself as an individual.

Recently, I have found myself receive criticism directly relating to this blog. ‘Why are you writing on that for? People don’t want to read that’. It isn’t constructive criticism, but instead criticism without depth. I am the first to admit I struggled with English lessons at school; I was always better at the logical and science-based subjects. But I love writing, and why should my lack of academic achievement in English stop me from doing just that? Not everyone will enjoy reading my posts, I mean this post is a ramble in itself. But if I’m enjoying writing them, and as long as I’m not harming anyone, what’s the issue?

This got me to thinking; yes, it is great for constructive criticism, but what dictates the ‘best’ way in life? Is the social norm the ‘to do’ and everything else wrong? Why would this be the case? Surely, we must break the social norm in order to innovate new and exciting ideas and social ways.

When you are younger you idolize your parents; they are grown-ups, they know everything. But when you become a ‘grown-up’ yourself, you realise more and more that everyone is just sort of, well, winging it. I’m not sure whether it is down to studying at university or if it is just growing older, but I realise even those we call ‘experts’ do not know everything. In my second year of university the lecturer told me I was wrong to suggest that in an operations department the employees will have contact with customers. I have worked in various roles in operations of which I have had direct contact with the customer. This person was supposed to be teaching me but yet I could disprove her ‘expertise’. For years GPs have suggested I use E45 cream for my Eczema – it always makes my skin worse! Again, an ‘expert’ who does not seem to have all the answers you would expect.

Thinking outside of the box should be encouraged. I feel society is focusing too much on staying within the ‘social norm’ – too scared to venture out and find new ways to live and thrive. When someone says to you ‘that isn’t the way of doing things’, is it that your way is not better or is it that they are simply fearful of the unknown?

Differences are what makes us all unique. Doing something differently to someone else, or thinking something different isn’t a crime. Providing you are not harming anyone and you enjoy it then what is the problem? And yes, people should be encouraged to provide advice but this should also be taken with a pinch of salt so-to-speak. No one has the answers to everything, and reaching outside of social norms allows us to find better ways to do things. If it isn’t better than the normal, then at least we can say we are learning from our mistakes.

At the end of the day, do what makes you happy. Be the best person you can be, live the best life to your own definition. No one is perfect, and being different is something to embrace.

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