How to Embrace Your Weirdness

by Stacey Curnow on · 15 comments

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Back in 2002, when I took my job with Doc­tors With­out Bor­ders in Mex­ico I had to pack up my com­fort­able life in the United States and move to a part of the world that had no run­ning water or electricity.

To an area where there was centuries-long, deep-seated con­flict between the indige­nous peo­ple and the Mex­i­can gov­ern­ment. To do a job for which I had no experience.

It was def­i­nitely the weird­est thing I had ever done. I had no real idea what I was doing. But I believed I would fig­ure out a way to do it.

I’ve learned that what looks “weird” to other peo­ple, feels like excite­ment to me. I’ve learned that it’s the wis­dom of the world speak­ing through me. And trust­ing the wis­dom feels like a huge leap of faith.

So I’ve learned to leap. Before the voices of self-doubt keep me stuck. Once a leap has been taken, or a path has been selected, momen­tum takes over and there is lit­tle time to indulge self-doubt or fear because there’s work to be done. So you get on with it.

But here’s the really cool thing. You take the leap and do the work, but you’re not doing it alone. The Uni­verse also starts to con­spire on your behalf. You don’t have to take my word for it. Lis­ten to what WH Mur­ray, a Scot­tish moun­taineer and author of The Scot­tish Himalayan Expe­ri­ence:

This may sound too sim­ple, but is great in con­se­quence: Until one is com­mit­ted, there is hes­i­tancy, the chance to draw back, always inef­fec­tive­ness. Con­cern­ing all acts of ini­tia­tive (and cre­ation), there is one ele­men­tary truth the igno­rance of which kills count­less ideas and splen­did plans: that the moment one def­i­nitely com­mits one­self, then prov­i­dence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the deci­sion, rais­ing in one’s favor all man­ner of unfore­seen inci­dents, meet­ings and mate­r­ial assis­tance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.

It wasn’t until I was sit­ting in the air­port in Ams­ter­dam (where the Doc­tors With­out Bor­ders head­quar­ters of my project was located), about to board my flight to Mex­ico City that I sud­denly won­dered whether I would actu­ally be able to adjust to life in such a for­eign envi­ron­ment. (Did I men­tion there would be no elec­tric­ity or run­ning water?)

Would I really be able to do the job I’d signed on to do? But even in that weird and wob­bly moment, I knew that I would find a way to manage.

Why?

Why was I so certain?

There are lots of rea­sons. And none of them are because I’m braver, more tal­ented, or smarter than you. Because I’m not. I promise.

I’m scared of pub­lic speak­ing, and par­ties of peo­ple I don’t know, and dif­fi­cult con­ver­sa­tions or phone calls.

But despite my very ordi­nary fears, over the years enough peo­ple have asked me where I find the courage to make my bold choices, that I’ve come to see that although we are all inher­ently brave, some of us for­get how brave we can be.

I’ve come to see that my path through life has equipped me with cer­tain tools that help me make the daily deci­sions that add up to a coura­geous life.

I can see how my expe­ri­ences have taught me to have faith that every­thing will be okay, and most impor­tantly that even when every­thing is not okay, every­thing is actu­ally okay.

I’ve been get­ting really curi­ous lately about how I came to acquire those tools, because I want to share them with you. Because I want to offer them to any­one whose self-doubt is get­ting in the way of their good work in the world.

One of the things I’ve learned about courage is that we can “pos­i­tively rein­force” our own coura­geous choices by tak­ing time to notice them, rec­og­nize them and actu­ally give our­selves some credit for them.

So today — please take five min­utes to give your­self the credit for how weird and coura­geous you are.

And then make a habit of stop­ping to notice the small (and large) ways you are embrac­ing your weird­ness and choos­ing courage every day, and of giv­ing your­self credit for it. If it helps, you can imag­ine you are talk­ing to a good friend: How would you tell or show her how proud you are of her weird­ness and courage?

Now, tell or show your­self how proud you are of your own will­ing­ness to be weird.


by Stacey Curnow

Stacey is a pur­pose and suc­cess coach who helps you give birth to your BIG dreams. To find your pur­pose and pas­sion, check out her FREE eBook, The Pur­pose and Pas­sion Guide­book.
Stacey Curnow
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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Allan July 10, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Whoops! Embracing your weirdness! I can tell you that this could not have come at a better time. I find even my closest pals complaining of my weird character and quirky way of doing things. To be frank, there are times these comments become so cynical and intense that I can no longer ignore them.

Well, I now guess that with this article (which is what I have been looking for all along), I will be able to really and sincerely embrace the weirdest of my being. Even though, I still find it a bit weird that one has to embrace one’s weird character. Yeah, I know that’s weird…lol!

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Stacey July 12, 2013 at 7:42 am

Hi Allan!

I’m so glad that my post was what you were looking for to let go of any residual bad feelings you had about being weird. Yes, one of the hardest parts is dealing with other people’s reactions to your weirdness.

I’ll never forget lamenting to a friend that I was getting so little support from so many people about my imminent trip to Mexico. I said, “You do something a little unconventional and you get a lot of flack.” He looked at me and said, “What you’re doing is not just a little unconventional and any time you do anything outside of the norm, you’re going to make other people uncomfortable.”

So now when I feel any criticism for being unconventional/weird, I remember that it’s coming from the other feeling uncomfortable and I can accept that.

Again, my weirdness also creates some discomfort for me, and I can try to give them some of the compassion that I want for myself too, right?

Thanks again for sharing (and celebrating!) your weirdness!
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Lori Gosselin July 11, 2013 at 7:26 am

Hi Stacey!
I was drawn to this post because I wrote along similar lines today. My post, “Are You Normal” came out today! ;-)
I guess my answer is over there. I could have called it “Are Your Weird” too.
:-)
Lori
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Stacey July 12, 2013 at 7:48 am

Hi Lori!

Thanks so much for your kind comment! I followed you to your blog — how could I not with your great title? I love the discussion there — and all the encouragement for embracing our differences/weirdness!
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Tim July 11, 2013 at 9:47 am

Hi Stacey:

Wow, I really enjoyed this…starting in school, most of us do everything we can to just fit in. Anybody different or “weird” gets picked on or ridiculed. Learning about your experience, however, I realize different is good. Really good. Your post is a nice example that it is most rewarding to embrace our own unique “weird-ness.” Thanks for sharing here!
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Stacey July 12, 2013 at 7:56 am

Hi Tim!

Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment!

Yes! I really have found that my weirdness, and specifically my willingness to embrace it, in a way that’s more vulnerable than assertive (I’m no Lady Gaga!), has led to so many wonderful opportunities and connections.

I’m so glad that you get it, too!
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Sue | London Life Coach July 12, 2013 at 6:38 am

Wow, it’s so brave of you to give up your comfort zone to embrace your weirdness. Thanks for sharing this great experience of ours. Continue to sail on. :)

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Stacey July 12, 2013 at 8:09 am

Hey Sue!

Thanks so much for your comment!

Thomas Jefferson once said, “I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”

I completely agree with him — and I’ve found that I can amend his statement and replace luck with any other qualities I want more of — bravery, weirdness, you name it. :-)
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Emily Rose July 12, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Could not agree more! Embracing our individuality is the best!

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Stacey July 13, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Thanks so much for sharing, Emily! xxoo
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Rakesh Narang July 14, 2013 at 4:33 am

Everybody is a little weird in some way, but that’s what makes us different. I do want to change certain things about my personality, but if it will take some time, it’s fine. Meanwhile, I am gonna enjoy as much as I can.

Cheers. :)
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Stacey July 20, 2013 at 8:28 am

Hi Rakesh!

Yes! Life can be so much fun, and I’m so glad you’re making enjoying yourself a priority. Embracing what makes us different, while always reaching for improvement (I always love a challenge!), is a sure recipe for happiness!

Cheers to you! :-)
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Jerry July 19, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Hi Stacy!

I’m not scared of pub­lic speak­ing anymore, however par­ties of peo­ple I don’t know is dif­fi­cult for me. I guess I need to go to more parties! :)

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Stacey July 20, 2013 at 8:26 am

Hi Jerry!

That’s awesome that you’re not scared of public speaking anymore!

Public speaking rates as one of the biggest fears of most people, so there’s no doubt you could enjoy yourself more at parties, if you set your intention to it.

I find I have an easier time if I commit to having meaningful conversations with one person, rather than “small talk” with many.

In any event, it could be fun homework to try. :-)
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Jerry July 24, 2013 at 7:09 pm

Thanks Stacey, I’ll do my homework!
Jerry

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