'The moment we want to be something we are no longer free.'
I won't be pulling any punches in this post.
Farmer writes in her book, “Once the finger of suspicion is pointed at an individual, the stigma remains. Any unusual act or reckless behavior triggers a consequent doubt as to that person's sanity." She also writes, "[I]t is a fine legal distinction to judge whether an individual is eccentric or insane. None is safe from this danger despite constitutional protection." I agree.
These people must have the same things as others, especially material things and houses (the latter often taking the form of tasteless but pretentious "McMansions" ... those in Australia generally being made with tacky fibre cement cladding). They commit themselves to dressing like others (designer clothing and sunglasses), eating the same trendy looking food as others, working long hours like others (the Lucille Ball "I have to work or I am nothing" [her exact words] mentality), believing the same things about life as others ("Life's for living!" ... Really? How profound!), and generally keeping up with others. They have a fear, indeed almost a phobia, of being different ... and, worse still, of being perceived by others to be different.
I do not suffer any longer at the hands of these people. I choose to be different. I choose to be myself. I am free, and there are no chains that bind me.
What, you may ask, has all this to do with Mindfulness? Well, a fair bit. You see, Mindfulness is all about gaining self-knowledge and insight into ourselves. We come to see ourselves as we really are. We learn, over time, to accept ourselves as we are.
Naturally, if we are on any path of self-improvement, we will seek to change for the better those things in us that need changing and that we are capable of changing. However, we no longer seek to be like others, because we are comfortable with ourselves. We no longer judge or condemn ourselves for being different. Indeed, we are proud to be different.
Finally, be yourself. Be the very best person you can be, and in truth are.