The courageous Emma Watson once said, “Don’t feel stupid if you don’t like what everyone else pretends to love”, which sums up a dilemma that we constantly find ourselves struggling with. You are not a puppet and there is no puppet master moving your fingers. Your brain is your own and you have the right to like or to hate whatever you choose to. There is always a stream, a current that somehow you’ll be expected to flow with. But what if you don’t want to? What if deep down you have some reservations about it? This is when you decide to go against the flow and change the paradigm of your thinking.

1- Color Outside the Lines

Is what you want to do so radical? So uncomfortable? Is what society asking you to do doesn’t match your personality? You are not obliged to color between the lines. As kids, we would color a lot and rarely colored between the lines as we weren’t too concerned with presenting a drawing that is flawless. We were just eager and excited to use as many colors as we can. Now when we see a kid coloring, we think “wow, that’s bad” because they color all over the place, usually use colors that don’t match and color in opposite directions. This is exactly what we should do. We should be all over the place, splash around, sway, be nonconformists and choose our own direction in life.

2- Articulate Your Thoughts & Opinions

In psychology, there is a term called the “Other” that refers to that which is other than the concept being considered. It often means a person different than oneself. And difference makes people uneasy. Human beings usually try to look for similarities between themselves and others because we perceive what’s different as unsafe. So stop. Stop trying to make sure that you are not the “Other” and just be yourself. The only way you’ll be able to do that is by taking pride in and articulating your thoughts and opinions.

3- Know Who You Are

Examine your reactions, feelings, thoughts, words, actions and everything that you do. It’s the only way to understand who you are. For instance, your reactions are driven by people’s actions so when you find yourself acting in an unnatural way, try to understand why this particular action made you react that way. The same way goes with everything else! Pretend that you are meeting yourself for the first time every day and analyze what you do/wear/say like you do strangers.

4- Be Outstanding

As in stand out when you don’t feel like being part of the crowd. While going with the flow can sometimes bring comfort because you just want to feel like you blend in, sometimes it can be pretty lonely. Maybe you’ll agree to partake in activities or be forced to like things just to feel like you belong. When that happens, I advise you to either go against the flow or be the flow. Because you don’t need to pretend that you like something for the sake of acceptance or for the sake of comfort. Choose to be uncomfortable any day rather than taking solace in fake comfort.