How I Learned to Embrace My Rebellious Nature

How I Learned to Embrace My Rebellious Nature

I don’t believe that rebellion is something that you grow out of, get-over or rise above. I think that if you’re born with a rebellious spirit then it will always be a part of you, channeling forth from you in one way or another. I used to think that one day I would cure my inner rebellion but now I’ve learnt to love it as a valid and worthy part of who I am.

Let’s get something clear I’m not talking about breaking the law when I talk about rebelling. I’m talking about forging your own path and choosing what’s right for you based on your own beliefs rather than someone else’s. There’s no doubt about it, rebels question rules. We don’t just accept them because they are there. We ask why. We prove rules wrong and we write our own.

My rebellion used to be tainted with judgement, hatred and negativity. I looked at people who followed fashion, who got good grades, who were popular, who ‘conformed’ and I detested everything about them. I made it my duty to be everything they were not.

This decision dictated everything about me, from my taste in music to my ambitions in life. Anything that I was envious of, I rebelled against and anything I disagreed with, I fought with. And when I say I fought, I mean I started my own internal war, taking ‘pleasure’ in pointing out how stupid, ugly or conformist people were. My rebellion cause to suffer unnecessarily, feel angry, treat people badly and make choices for the wrong reasons.

It probably doesn’t surprise you that I developed an anxiety disorder. I was a hate-fueled-stress-bomb! In an attempt to deal with my anxiety, one day I dragged myself along to a meditation class.

I found it so difficult not to judge the entire experience, including the other people there and the facilitator, but as it came around to my turn to talk about how my week was, this wave of vulnerability swept over me. I shared about my struggle with anxiety and I knew that I couldn’t judge these people. They listened to my story and offered me their support. Before this I didn’t even know what it felt like to be supported. Everything changed for me from this point on.

As I meditated I let go of all the hatred. I let go of harsh judgements and criticisms. I even let go of the disappointment that I felt towards myself. The facilitator taught me about non-judgement, acceptance and unconditional love.

I started to understand what peace felt like and all of a sudden, I realized that I didn’t need to worry myself with what anyone else thought of me. In fact I didn’t even have to care what anyone else did at all!

I realized that my rebellion up until that point had been fueled by other people.

As I went thought this spiritual awakening I expect my rebellious spirit to leave me as well but something unexpected happened. The more spiritual I became, the more rebellious I became, but I wasn’t fueled by hate any more. I was fueled by a strong sense of self.

Instead of actively bad-mouthing a TV show that I thought was ridiculous, I asked people what they liked about it. Instead of eating unhealthy food all the time, I channeled my indulgence into special moments that I allowed myself to fully enjoy. Instead of smoking all the time, I just had one whenever I felt like it (which led to me quitting soon afterwards). And instead of pointing out what everyone else was doing wrong, I just aligned myself with what was truly right for me.

Do I still consider myself a rebel? Absolutely! I still question things, let myself be “bad” and I forge my own path, but now I do it with love.

Photo by Renata Alves dos Anjos

Naomi Goodlet

Naomi Goodlet is a Mindfulness Crusader, Spiritual Rebel and Anxiety Hacker. Check out her free Mindfulness E-book “Be Here Now” with 14 free mindfulness audios at her website.

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9 Comments

  1. Great article! You made a really helpful point about how it is important for us to discern what is the strongest “Motivation” behind our Actions. I began discovering through meditation that a lot of my actions were not always because of what I truly believed in my heart but sometimes because I wasn’t fully considering all of my options or giving in to the unrealistic expectations of others.

    Earl Nightingale has a quote on this too:

    “The opposite of Courage is Conformity.”

    One of my largest challenges is dealing with a teaching of Buddha’s & Einstein’s:

    ” Thoughts = Environment ” ( E = MC² )

    In my opinion, a Thought is usually an “Observation of your Environment” (or our Ideas of how our Environment can be changed). For myself, this means that I either have to:

    1) “Accept Differences And Practice Techniques” (“Adapt” Acronym).

    -or-

    2) Prioritize my needs & persevere as far as my inspiration & my dreams take me.

    Persevere for your dreams to your greatest destination or your greatest destiny!

    Reply
    • I really enjoy this, thank you! At 50 years, I am still rebelling but with love. 😉

      Reply
  2. Naomi, I as I read your article I could have been reading my own story. I too turned my rebel around and use it in a much more productive way these days. At 50+ I still don’t do what others do, if fact my great-nephew (10) said, “I was the most fun cause I didn’t do what the other adults in his life did” – play like a kid!

    Life is such a joy!

    Reply
  3. HI,

    Enjoyed the post. I think we need to be rebels with a cause!

    Reply
  4. I can definitely relate to this! My inner rebel has definitely evolved from hating and judging to pushing myself forward as an entrepreneur. Love your story :).

    Reply
  5. There’s nothing wrong with rebellion if it suits you. Some people want to make best with what they have, some conform to others and some rebel and demand change in society. No path is bad because we aren’t all meant to be the crème de la crème.

    But, whatever you choose, you have to make sure you’re not just being a douche. It’s like when people say they’re “rebels against conformity” but simply get drunk/high and talk about what’s wrong instead of actually trying to fix or create something. Ugh.

    I like how you moved away from the extreme towards a more proactive approach. All people who changed the course of history were rebels in their time – you just have to find the right approach. :)

    Reply
  6. This is an amazing read, I can directly apply this to my stubborn fiery nature and calm it down to where it really does need to be. I hate having others temper my personality even when I know I need it. It’s just a matter of channeling the best parts of being a firecracker into something worth lighting up the sky isn’t it? I actually feel great about the future suddenly.

    Reply
  7. I really love what you wrote about when you found a TV show ridiculous you instead asked people what they liked about it. I often find myself judging things that other people like (although I’m always careful to distinguish that from judging the people themselves). By asking people what they like about it, you create an opportunity to be humble and open yourself up to other people’s ideas. I’ll try to keep that one in mind, thank you!

    Reply
  8. Great post. Well done to the inspiring writer and others who have posted on here. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in my ‘irrational’ thinking.

    I’m learning not to give people dirty looks now when they say they like reality TV. By thinking for a few seconds before I speak, I realize that it just doesn’t matter.

    I think meditation may help me so I’ll give it a go. I’d like to get to a place where all this negativity can be turned around into positive energy.

    Reply

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