1. You spend less time doubting yourself, and more time actually making stuff happen.
Questioning your life choices is natural. It happens. It’s good, even — it forces you to check in with yourself and make sure you’re heading down the path you want to go. But if you’re questioning yourself based on what you think other people think is cool, you’re going to spend a lot of time stressing out about hypotheticals that have nothing to do with the task at hand. Apologizing to someone or looking over your shoulder at every turn is a recipe for disaster, and a lot of wasted energy. That energy is better spent actually driving your dream forward, not on making sure that everyone else is on board with the plan (because, spoiler: not everyone will be).
2. You begin to realize that everyone is weird.
And yes, I mean e v e r y o n e. Everyone has their quirks and preferences. And for every unique quirk, there is another person who is bound to find it weird. But for everyone who thinks that you’re a little bit much, there’s somebody else who has that same loud laugh, that same excitement over a hobby or a piece of pop culture — and makes you feel a little less alone in a world that can be very cold and scary to everyone from time to time.
3. The people who actually appreciate you for who you are stay in your life.
Slowly, you begin to weed out the people who reject you; they’ll actually leave on their own, and it’s like you’ve gotten a whole weight lifted from your shoulders without actually having done anything. The people who love you for who you are, however — the ones who don’t only laugh at your jokes, but actually find them funny; and who appreciate your insight and the way you view the world — will make even more of an effort to stay around, and this is the basis for any strong relationship.
4. You’ll feel less pressure and expectations.
The trick about embracing your inner weirdness is that for it to really stick, it has to come from a place that’s genuine. Sure, there are people who act like they’re weird from an disingenuous place, and that’s the kind of weirdness we have the strongest inclination to reject. (Our bullshit-o-meters are generally pretty strong, which would explain why no boy in middle school ever gave me points for acting out and being overtly weird for attention.) But when you’re just doing you, people will stop looking to you to perform and be anything but yourself, and that is one of the most freeing things in the world.
5. You get the opportunity to really chase what you love.
Why? Primarily because you’re finally being honest with yourself about what it is that you truly love in the first place, without worrying about any judgment from anyone.
6. … and you begin to understand how you can go after it.
We are all given talents and gifts, and while you might know somebody else who can do what you do, they won’t be able to do it exactly in the way you will. You won’t be able to do things exactly the way they will, either. Why? Because nobody else has your specific combination of skills. When you mix your creativity with your people skills and your outlook on life, amazing things can happen. You’ll begin to identify ways in which you can really chase your dream with every friend you make and everything you do and see and experience. (But this isn’t a matter of using people or being opportunistic, because when you’re genuine about where you want to go and do, people are often really very happy to help you.)
7. You start finding real love, not the love designed for the person you’re pretending to be.
It’s the kind of love where you don’t feel like you’re constantly coming up short. There’s no expectation, no set way to act, no judgment or punishment for saying or doing the wrong thing, and no doubting whether or not you’re good enough. Because you know you are, and that they know you are, too. It’s rare to find this kind of love, but the closer you get to embracing your genuine self, the more likely you are to find someone who appreciates every last inch of your wonderful weirdness.
8. You become a little weirder (and that much more amazing) every day.
Growing into yourself is a process. It’s a rewarding process, and one that a lot of people sadly don’t ever really embrace fully. But the more you push the boundaries of yourself, the more you express yourself and remind yourself that who you are — who you genuinely, truly, 100% are at heart — deserves love and acceptance, the more love and acceptance you’ll find in this world for you and people like you. Besides, it’s okay – it’s vital, even — to love yourself, and laugh at your jokes and remind yourself that you’re worth something great and are capable of great things. After all, if you don’t believe it, who will?
9. And you overall get cooler, because genuineness is what makes ANYTHING work.
I’m of the opinion that the truly cool people in this world are not actually cool in any conventional sense. They don’t ascribe to a certain set of rules, they don’t fit in any one mold, and they don’t listen to rules that don’t feel true to their best selves. The coolest people I have ever known are people who were told they were weird, and then went ahead and were even weirder anyway. Just because they could be. Just because they were. Just because that was their absolute most truthful self, and the world needs both more truth and more weird.