This is the first in a series of brilliant guest posts that will be appearing on the blog while I’m in Italy. Let’s roll out the welcome mat for Jess – leave your thoughts/ experiences/ questions in the comments below. I’ll be checking back in, but in the meantime, enjoy!
What’s with this incessant need we have to want everyone in the world to like us? It’s obviously an impossible feat, and yet we feel icky whenever we’re faced with someone who is critical of us, who disagrees with us, or who speaks badly of us. Even if we don’t know the person slinging the negative remarks, criticism can leave us with knotted stomachs and self-doubt for days.
Smack bang in the middle of a particularly tough week on the blogosphere, one of my readers sent me a TEDx talk by someone named Erika Napoletano called Rethinking Unpopular. It was just the medicine I needed to soothe my bruised ego, and console me enough to see the beauty in the situation – both in the humility it was affording me, and also in the perspective it gave me.
This talk made me realise that being unpopular is not a bad thing – especially now that we’re no longer in high school. Being unpopular as an adult means that we’re being authentic. It means that we’re being so loyal to who we are that we’re not willing to morph into something else just to please other people. And this authenticity is what’s going to deliver us all of the goods life has to offer.
“There will always be naysayers. If everyone agrees with you, you’re doing it wrong. But then again, if everyone disagrees with you, you just might be doing it wrong, too.” ~ Erika Napoletano
Sure, being authentic and speaking out in the face of naysayers may rock the boat, but that’s good. Can you imagine what the world would be like if everyone just agreed with each other and no one had the audacity to challenge someone else’s ideas? We’d all be completely ignorant to the fact that the world is round and that perhaps it’s not such a great idea to smoke while pregnant.
As Erika says in her talk, being unpopular is all about honouring your two most important relationships – the relationship you have with those who love you for everything you are and everything you’re not, and the relationship with yourself. Nothing else matters. We can’t please everyone (this is a cliché for a reason), and there’s no way around that. We may all come from the same source, but we’re all made up of different cells and we’re all results of different conditioning.
“You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” ~ Dita Von Teese
Being a blogger, I have something to say. This is the case with every blogger. If it weren’t, our websites would simply be filled with pages and pages of cat videos. But even this would spark critical comments from those
weirdos who don’t like cats. Some days I’ll post something that’s met with a round of virtual applause from all directions, and then just when my ego starts to get ahead of itself I’ll be brought back down to earth with comments alluding to the idea that perhaps I have no idea what I’m talking about. It’s humbling. But without keeping a healthy perspective, it could also make me want to close my whole site down and hide away.
If you have something to say, please say it. It’s an incredible disservice to the world when you play it safe for the sake of pleasing the masses, and you have no idea of the potentially great impact you could have by being true to yourself and being your gorgeous, shining, authentic self. Be okay with being unpopular.
Jess Ainscough is a writer, speaker, health coach and cancer kickin’ Wellness Warrior. As the creator of The Wellness Warrior, Jess writes daily articles on courage, kindness, self-respect — as well as practical how-to’s for shopping, cooking, juicing and nourishing your body. She is also the creator of the revolutionary guide to mind-body reinvention, The Wellness Warrior Lifestyle Transformation Guide. This year, Jess will have her first book published with Hay House called Make Peace With Your Plate: How To End Your Tortured Relationship With Food.
OVER TO YOU…
Have you ever experienced a backlash when you’ve gone against popular opinion (whether that’s on your blog, at work, or in conversation?) Ever stayed quiet on an issue to “keep the peace?”
Share your stories below.