When one makes decisions that isn't the "usual accepted" decision based on social norms and pressures, such as deciding to quite your stable job to start your own business, or embarking on a different way of eating, there's a tendency of others to easily slap a label on you that you're rebellious, wilful, or just different.
Others may label you as such, such that you might even think that way of yourself.
I think that you have to be careful of thinking this way of yourself, that you start thinking that you're "rebellious", "wilful" and whatever labels others put on you.
See it this way - if you're wilful, does that mean that you cannot ever work with others? That you'll never be able to work with others?
If you're rebellious, does that mean that you're not very disciplined? Or a slacker that cannot hold a job? Or that you're irresponsible?
So am I rebellious because I started my own businesses? Because I explored fat-loving paleo diet? Because I prefer open and real two-way conversations?
I can easily frame any of my decisions as acts of rebellion and wilfulness, and yes, sometimes it's fun to do that, but the problem about that is it seems that I'm behaving or feel like a social outcast.
Thinking of myself as a rebel doesn't reflect the truth of why those decisions are made (which is why labels are irresponsible and lazy way of non-thinking)
I choose to see those decisions as being more responsible and taking charge of my life. I'm consciously choosing values that are important to me. To be frank, when I started my business, I wasn't looking to "rebel against employeeism", in fact, far from it - I thought, felt and researched enough that I believed that I would have a better life pursuing the path of entrepreneurship.
And after hustling for 5 years, I'm right. I'm way financially well off. I'm happier. I've much more control in my life. Looking back, if I stayed where I was...nothing much would have changed, financially, socially, personally.
I could say that I don't hold a regular job because I rebel against employeeism and bosses...but really, it's more accurate to say that I want to be more responsible for choosing the type of work I do and how I do it. Looking back to 2008 to today, we've built up a moderately-sized business that I'm very proud of, and it's been a wonderful journey. I cannot have rebelled into such a business - I was very, very responsible and hardworking. I listened to my therapists problems and looked for ways to contribute to them, to make their lives and work better. I've helped therapists earn their six figure years. I keep thinking about how I can serve and do things better. All these is hardly rebellion, but actual value creating rather than being rebellious.
I learnt a lot about businesses, healthcare, marketing, patience, selling, finance, budgeting. All hands on experience that I can never learn by picking up a business book.
I'm choosing to consciously make decisions that leads me to growth and experiences in life, whilst trying my best to not succumb to the usual pressures of social norms.
Going paleo doesn't feel or fit into acts of rebellion either. For me, it's another approach that I'm experimenting with with regards to health, nutrition and fitness. I've shared before with many individuals how I struggled being overweight for years "eating the healthy stuff of multigrains, yogurt, grains etc" and yet I steadily gained weight. 2 months of paleo and I lost 7 kilograms - to me, this was real and actual results, not some figures I pulled out of thin air. Going paleo doesn't feel rebellious, it's just a method of nutrition.
Yes, I did feel rebellious when I decided to stay on my own, and build my own lifestyle around my own sanctuary of a room. Today, that's normal.
Some people still label my exploration of paleo diet as "terrible and I'll die of heart attack soon" and my entrepreneurship as "just wanted more money" and I still get such messages and conversations today, but I am seeing those labels more of people's self projections.
They're not as important or meaningful to me. My old work wasn't meaningful, it was senseless to stay there. My diet is not my life, and I'm open to experimenting. Moving from them was more of graduation rather than rebellion.
What about being honest and communicating openly. I've been slammed again and again interestingly only by family who are "well wishers" for me to not be so honest and to participate in dishonest conversations and events. I feel responsible as a conscious and sane human being to be congruent and honest and to align my actions with the values I see as good.
I cannot just pretend that their lies and deceitful actions that are incongruent "are okay". I love truth, so how can I pretend that dishonesty is okay?
Am I a rebel because I am upset and disappointed in those who deny their own deceit? Of course, this is a catch-22, deceitful people will be deceitful, no? No, I am not honest just to rebel against the status quo, it's about doing my best to make and enjoy honest conversations and life within a deeply conflicted society.
As we progress more and more forward into the future, it's more and more vital that we learn how to accept and be more responsible and make more and more conscious and intelligent decisions as human beings.
It's hardly surprising if once in a while you get labelled as a rebel or something along those lines when you've taken the decision to take on more responsibility, more self disciplined, more focused on important matters such as growth, compassion, courage and intelligence.
Yes, you can label yourself a label once in a while to have fun, but don't let the world convince you that you're a social outcast for making more responsible, intelligent, compassionate, courageous growth-focused decisions.
If you're seeing more and more positive changes in your life, then consciously become more and more responsible and mature, not just trying to be different for the sake of it. I find it better to increase the consciousness of my own decisions, and gradually ignoring what others say about me or label me - after all, it's often the projection based on their own insecurity and them forcing their values on you.
I don't think that we should let things go so easy for them - think about it, if others can easily and lazily slap a label on me that I'm a label for making reasoned, intelligent and growth-related decisions, then won't the act of labelling be interpreted opposite, that such people who likes to label others as such are poorly-reasoning, unintelligent and non-growing individuals?
Those who try to label me as rebellious are at the same time trying to label themselves as normal and me as abnormal, is it not? If they can "qualify" as normal, that they don't have to keep learning and growing because "they're there already" - they can settle.
Isn't that purely laziness and cowardly?
I refuse to bow down to such weak-mindedness from individuals or groups. These labels don't define me. Likewise, don't let it define you.
You're more than conquerors in Christ, you're capable of making good decisions, taking actions and following up on them. You're able to build momentum. Life doesn't demand perfection from you, but life isn't going to be good to you if you choose to be lazy or stagnate.
Let's make acceptance of greater responsibility a common thing, not an abnormal event. Let's grow.
Let's deny laziness and cowardly living.