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“I’m willing to be unpopular,” writes Rhina Ju, as she recounts the first year of her life changing experiment. When I read that sentence, something exploded inside of me. Her words gave voice to a thing that has been lodged inside of me for months. I am willing to be unpopular.

I have learned that:

  • We can choose to be popular, or we can choose to honor our spirits.
  • We can choose to make other people happy, or we can choose to make ourselves happy.
  • We can choose to say what people want to hear, or we can choose to speak our truths.

Honoring your spirit; making yourself happy; and speaking your truth is not always the popular choice. You risk offending people. You risk losing relationships. You risk criticism. I have learned all of these things the hard way.

Not everyone likes what I have to say. I have lost friendships and been criticized. I’ve heard cruel words spoken under breath as I walk away. Yet, my decision is firm. I am willing to be unpopular. There were times in my life that unpopularity was my worst nightmare. I wanted nothing more than to fit in. I would rather disappear than stand out, be different, be judged. We have all been there.

Now, the opposite is true. It is important to me that I am different. But I do not want to be different just for the sake of being different. I am not interested in shock value, recognition, or acclaim. Rather, my aim is to be utterly true to myself and to my beliefs. I aim to lead my life so that every night I can put my head down on the pillow and feel good about the decisions that I have made.

I want to lead my best life, and in doing so, I want to inspire people to do the same. It is a lofty goal. It is not an easy feat. But I walk the path each day as best I can.

“She was beautiful, but she was beautiful in the way a forest fire was beautiful.” —Neil Gaiman

In willing to be unpopular, in embracing my own uniqueness, I find the purest form of freedom that I’ve ever known. That this is me—good & bad; terrible & beautiful—that I am constantly evolving, open to change, yearning to learn—that I accept myself and the rest of the world is welcome to do the same or to walk away. This is my pure freedom. It’s what gets me high these days.

Today I invite you to join me. Let your freak flag fly. It’s time.

In love & light,
Dena

17 thoughts on “Willing to Be Unpopular”

  1. I love these three lines so much that I put them on my desktop:
    We can choose to be popular, or we can choose to honor our spirits.We can choose to make other people happy, or we can choose to make ourselves happy.We can choose to say what people want to hear, or we can choose to speak our truths.

    Great post. 🙂

  2. Dena, that’s a tough one. One of the automatic behaviors of people is to be loved and to be recognised. It’s one of our basic needs. So speaking our truths and being unpopular is against our nature (at least to a certain extent). Having said that, I do believe that it makes you stronger as a person if you are consciously unpopular. You are not one of the sheeps in the hurd, life’s too short for that. Your post reminded me to speak my truth more often, that will indeed make me a more happy person. 
    Thanks! 

    1. To love and be loved–oh yes! I think that a part of what makes all of this so easy for me is being surrounded by unconditional love. My family & my fiance are huge sources of bounding love in my life. That love acts as a cushion that enables me to be brave in the face of the rest of the world.

  3. Thanks for your words this morning girl…it’s not the easy way to go but it’s being true, and damn friends/family/loved ones—they sure don’t like hearing the truth.  “She was beautiful, but she was beautiful in the way a fire forest is beautiful…”  just awesome!

  4. Serendipity at work again here. Last week I created an art journal page “Let your freak flag fly”
    Can you tell me what book that Neil Gaiman quote is from?thanks

    snailgrrl.blogspot.com

  5. That is a supremely powerful statement… I’ve struggled with this as well because I’ve always been the kind of person who wants to be liked by everyone! But I’ve realized that I can’t do that and expect to be completely true to who I am.

    There will ALWAYS be people who don’t like us, for whatever reason. Sometimes their dislike is not even rational. We have to be able to accept this, or we’ll drive ourselves insane! Thanks for reminding me.

    Also, it’s so crazy that you shared a quote by Neil Gaiman. I literally just discovered a quote of his that I love (unrelated to this topic, but figured I’d share it in case you hadn’t heard it):

    ❝Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the
    world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the
    outside, inside them they’ve all got unimaginable, magnificent,
    wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them.
    Thousands maybe.❞

    Hope you have a wonderful day, Dena J! :]

  6. I love what you’ve shared here. I resonate so much with that last paragraph: “In willing to be unpopular, in embracing my own uniqueness, I find the
    purest form of freedom that I’ve ever known. That this is me—good &
    bad; terrible & beautiful—that I am constantly evolving, open to
    change, yearning to learn—that I accept myself and the rest of the world
    is welcome to do the same or to walk away. This is my pure freedom.
    It’s what gets me high these days.”

    I don’t make sense in the way that typical bloggers do, and I’m okay with that. Those are not my people. I revealed my heart and soul in my new about page, and I feel so *liberated*, so much *more whole* and filled with *love* for myself, for those who resonate with my core, and for the Universe for allowing this to take place.

    I truly believe each and every person has an amazing story to share, if only they were given the time, space, and compassion to tell it.

  7. This reminds me of our discussion of your career in the choir / chorus!!! And how our friendship has evolved, where we have come from. A huge part of that has been our honesty with one another… a willingness to endure temporary discomfort for the sake of lifelong respect. Or so I hope!

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