If they laugh because you're different, do THIS

If people laugh at you because you're different, laugh right back at them for being all the same.

I've written several posts on the importance of embracing one's uniqueness -- and disregarding what people say we should and shouldn't do -- because I think far too many of us fall victim to the herd mentality that has become so pervasive in society.

On Thanksgiving night, my brother-in-law put me on the spot for not drinking. He still can't wrap his head around the fact that I don't drink.

Then, two days later at my niece's afternoon birthday party, I returned the favor by asking him, "No alcohol for lunch today?" That made him a little defensive -- he pointed out how he only drinks two or three times a week -- and hopefully it conveyed that it's time to put the issue to rest.

Peer pressure is even less effective on me when it comes from someone I hardly come into contact with throughout the year, like him.

Here's another example: I got a lot of flak for deciding to buy a condo rather than a house. But I knew that, at least for the time being, a condo made more sense for my wife and I. Not only did I not want to deal with maintenance, but a swimming pool and balcony were on my wishlist.

Since people generally prefer houses to condos, they found my choice rather odd. To this day, many of them assume I merely bought it as an investment and that I plan to buy a house soon. They're wrong.

When someone pressures you into doing something you don't want to do, double down on your intransigence. Let them know that more prodding will only make you less likely to budge.

I take pride in being different from my peers in many ways. Aside from not drinking, I'm a bigger bookworm than anyone I know; you're more likely to see me pick up a book than a nail and hammer any day of the week. Boisterous parties and get-togethers don't do it for me like they do so many people I know.

Most people would probably find me dull, but I couldn't care less. As long as I love myself, that's all that really matters. If my interests and habits bother them that much, no one says we have to remain friends.

Changing for another person or even a job is one of the worst mistakes you can make. That relationship or job can end at any moment. Then what?

Embrace what makes you unique, whether others find it weird or endearing. There's only one you in this world, so why change to be more like someone else? What works for you may not work for others and vice-versa. People need to respect other's wishes and disparate lifestyles, no matter how peculiar they may seem.

I stopped subscribing to the herd mentality long ago, and I've never looked back.

If you find yourself doing things to please others all the time rather than yourself, remember one thing: Your life is yours and yours only to live.

Do you think following trends will keep you fulfilled in the long run?

In reality, we're happiest when we're allowed to express ourselves freely. Being true to yourself and embracing what makes you stand out is the ticket to a more fulfilling life.

Being the same as everyone else means one caves easily into social pressure. Not caring about what others think means you refuse to allow others to dictate how you should live your life.

Always stand your ground. Never let anyone make you feel as though you aren't good enough just because your opinions or interests diverge in some way.

Love the real you and I guarantee you'll cherish life a whole lot more!

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