How do you respond if someone calls you weird? Do you cringe in shame, get defensive and fire off an insult, ignore the comment or do you own it and say – yea I’m weird, so what? What do you do? More importantly – do you think you are weird? Google will tell you, a weirdo is strange or eccentric. The search engine offers synonyms such as: individualist, free spirit, maverick, nonconformist, unorthodox person. These all sound like good things, right? Who wouldn’t want to be a maverick or nonconformist?
We go through life and at each new phase we embrace or discard a label. There is a theory called the Labelling Theory which is “the theory of how the self-identity and behavior of individuals may be determined or influenced by the terms used to describe or classify them”. Just think about it, we love labels! If you don’t believe me, just answer this have you ever been asked “so what are we now? Are we dating?” or have you asked “so what are we now? Are we dating?” I won’t delve into these uncomfortable questions, that is another topic for another day.
We’re so quick to cut away pieces of ourselves to suit a particular relationship, a job, a circle of friends, incessantly editing who we are until we fit incharles de lint
Think about how you introduce yourself. If someone asks you the dreaded “interview” question “so tell me about yourself” how would you respond? Would you rattle off a series of titles, accolades, accomplishments – labels? Are they important to you? Would you ever include “weirdo”? Do these labels accurately reflect who you are at your core? Do they match what who you are on the inside? If we are honest, the labels we assign ourselves are no different from what we encounter on consumer-packaged goods. I have had the displeasure of meeting a “respectable” doctor who was rotten to the core and met a janitor who was so noble and distinguished in his very essence.
Be weird. Be random. Be who you are. Because you never know who would love the person you hidec.s. lewis
I can’t remember when, but I decided labels are insignificant and what matters to me is who I am at the core. I also made a conscious decision to own my weirdness. It is what makes me special! “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment!” – Ralph Waldo Emerson. You don’t have to look far to see the priming and messaging that encourages sameness; cue all social media and mainstream culture. Being different is what makes you stand out. Don’t be ashamed of it, own it, embrace and be the best you! Nobody can do you better than you! Whatever makes you weird is probably your best asset. In this dynamic world, you want to be an asset!
Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash Photo by Naveen Prajapat on Unsplash *Labelling Theory was created by Howard Becker