Rebel with a cause

Sometimes, conforming to what's expected of you gets to be a little tiresome. That's when it's time to reconnect with your inner rebel

My life is full of ‘shoulds’ – I should drink more water, eat less cake, go to bed earlier and work harder. But it’s hard work trying to live up to that ‘should’ version of yourself. It takes me back to my old school reports where I wasn’t quite good enough and ‘should make more effort’.

Even when I add positive things to my to-do list, they become a challenge: I should meditate every day; I should set up the sewing machine and make a skirt with that fabric; I should go for a walk after lunch. Something that could be life[1]affirming and pleasant suddenly loses its appeal. That’s when I start to beat myself up. But you know what? Sometimes it’s tough to measure up to those standards. And it often feels a bit mundane.

At these times, I like to call upon an old friend of mine who’s usually around and always ensures I cut myself some slack and seek out the fun in life. She pushes me to do things that make me smile and to try fresh activities. With her encouragement, I might sign up to a belly[1]dancing class (much to the amazement of friends and family) or book a long weekend away. She might just say: ‘Forget the to-do list – let’s enjoy some colouring,’ or ‘that shade of red lipstick looks great on you, wear it today and smile at everyone you meet.’

This wonderful woman is my inner rebel. She’s like an old friend you loved to hang out with – the one who’d always say yes to a night on the town or an unplanned road trip. You like her and enjoyed her company, but somewhere along the way to becoming an adult, you lost her number.

Rule-breaker or innovator?

It can be easy to think negatively about the word rebel (whether used as a noun or a verb). It might take you back to the heated arguments and slammed doors of your teenage years when you were desperately trying to escape parental constraints and become independent.

In the wider sense, rebels are often regarded as reckless rule-breakers, people who swim against the tide for the sake of it. Yet where would we be without the non-conformists who demand change and refuse to accept the status quo? Where would we be without the disruptors and innovators who follow their own path and those who choose to write, paint or act, even though they might have been told to ‘knuckle down and get a proper job’?

Brave step

Being a rebel can boost your confidence. Putting on that bold red lipstick (rebellious for me) takes some courage, but it’s worth it as I throw my shoulders back and walk with a touch more swagger. I might be wearing the same clothes, but that lipstick brings confidence.

I’ve taken a step outside my comfort zone and perhaps tomorrow I’ll take another.

If you admire the free-spirited, if you’d love to add more adventure to your life, if you’re itching to surprise people, now could be the time to get in touch with your inner rebel. Your act of rebellion can be small or large, visible or invisible. My only caveats would be to ensure that it’s legal and it won’t hurt anyone else (but you might have already guessed that anyway – red lipstick isn’t high on most people’s list of rebellious activities, after all).

Your rebel might well be ready to splurge on some long-coveted shoes; to channel your inner rock star and dance wildly around your living room; to stay out late on a work night; to book a spontaneous girls weekend away. Whatever the act, your inner rebel is ready and waiting.

Words by Angela Watt

This article was originally published in Breathe Issue 19, Global Heart-Warming - View Magazine

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