Ever since the beginning of time, people who have strayed from the norm have always been frowned upon by superiors. They were tagged as rebels and stereotyped as ones who had a certain disregard for society’s rules. Fortunately, times have changed. Although some old-fashioned folks still walk this world, there has been a tremendous transformation in how human beings view others who are not similar to them. Being different may be a choice for some, but for others who are stricken by a disease or a deformity, is it not easy being stared at by passers-by. There are also those who are just different by nature. They don’t put any effort into it. They don’t really want all that attention, but even so, they stand out in a crowd either because of the way they look or how they behave.


The whole point of the matter being uniqueness, does it concern us how we are being labeled by society? Few of us don’t care, but for most, the answer is yes. We want our friends to look up to us as trendsetters or fashionable, at the very least. Human as we are, we can’t help wanting to get noticed for our creativity and getting the admiration and attention we crave from our peers is a validation of the stylish sense we know we possess. On the other hand, the more confident ones feel it is none of their business what others think of them. They are the real deal. They set trends without even intending to. Even their devil-may-care attitude endears them to everyone they meet. They are spontaneous and charming, automatically making everybody their adoring fan. What is their secret?


In reality, there is no clear-cut method to appearing chic. Whatever one’s personal preference is, works. There are no hard and fast rules to follow. Just letting our true selves be expressed in the way we look is enough. The hairstyle we choose, the clothes we don, the books we read — they all tell a story about us. It is okay to be different. It is not necessary to jump on the bandwagon of fads just to blend in with everyone. If we stick to our own taste, we will develop a style that is all our own. If other people don’t like it, it doesn’t matter because we are not born to please them. It is absolutely necessary though that we like what we end up choosing.  If we accidentally start a craze, well, that is an extra reward. Let us enjoy the novelty of leadership. If we don’t, continuing down the same road is the only option since we are satisfied with our selection.


On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with pursuing the rage of the season. If the current fashion suits our taste, there is no harm in going with the flow. The only essential issue to consider is if we are comfortable imitating the rest of the community. When we are in a quandary, an option is to mix and match. We can observe the present trend and combine an outfit perhaps, with our own preferred pair of shoes to go with it. The only thing to remember is we must be free – free to pick a color even if it doesn’t match, to join any organization despite not knowing anyone there, to start a hobby which we are not even good at, or even to quit our job if we really need a respite from colleagues who are bereft of sincerity. There are no rules. Getting a nod of approval from peers means we have the same taste. Receiving a thumbs-down indicates we are unique!


In a nutshell, being different from or the same as other people should not be a cause for concern. Making a difference in this world is all that matters. Our strange habit of bringing our own utensils in restaurants in order to avoid using more plastic, the weird annual birthday celebration eating with the homeless on the sidewalks, or the compulsion to pick up trash strewn on the streets by inconsiderate citizens — nobody can fault us for that.


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