Are you a little different from the crowd? If you’re nodding yes, you might just be eccentric, and you should embrace that with pride! In this post, we’ll explore the signs you are eccentric and why that’s not really a bad thing.
- Eccentric people tend to be original thinkers with a strong sense of self and less social anxiety.
- Eccentric people stand out because they’re more authentic and less interested in conforming to social norms.
- Signs you are eccentric include shrugging off expectations, defying peer pressure, and attracting haters.
Recently, I ran into an old friend on the street near my group psychotherapy office in Manhattan. She looked me over, raised her eyebrows, and declared: “My goodness, Sean. Look at you! You’ve become so eccentric!”
Insecurity washed over me. Was that a compliment? An insult? What exactly does “eccentric” mean?
My quest for clarity led me down a twisted lane of confounding and sometimes disparaging definitions. According to the Oxford Dictionary, an eccentric is a “person of unconventional and slightly strange views or behaviour.” Unconventional, OK. But strange views or behaviour? That didn’t sound good.
So I looked up the definition of “strange,” and found it far more comforting: “Departing from what is ordinary, usual, or to be expected.” Departing from the ordinary— I’m cool with that. And here’s why.
Who Wants To Be Conventional?
You will stand out and be noticed if you’re authentic because you’re less likely to conform to social norms and expectations. You’re also free from the fears and anxieties that accompany worrying about other’s perceptions of you.
While some people seem born with eccentric vibes, others grow into it with age. As my mentor Louis Ormont, the “father of American group therapy,” once said, “Aging well means becoming more yourself and less concerned about the opinions of others.”
In other words, aging well brings greater emotional and psychological freedom. You’re less likely to judge others and more likely to approach life with the openness, curiosity, and energy of youth.
3 Signs You Are Eccentric
Whether you know you’re eccentric or you’re considering it while reading this post, here are some signs that you’re on the path to eccentricity:
1. You’re not interested in following the crowd.
The latest fashions, music trends, or entertainment norms don’t interest you. You follow your passions, indifferent to peer pressure.
2. You’re not afraid to stand out.
Being yourself is fun because you don’t care what others think. You walk through the world unfettered and independent.
3. You attract haters.
Sad but true. Some people disdain eccentrics. Deep down, they may feel threatened by someone who challenges their views and shrugs off social norms. Rather than search their hearts for the true cause of their hate, they’d rather target and blame you.
Eccentric And Loving It
As your true self grows stronger and you follow your own unique path in life, consider these three significant benefits of being eccentric:
1. Less social anxiety.
The less you’re concerned with social norms, the less anxious you feel about being judged or rejected.
2. Higher comfort levels.
You’re at ease in your skin, not worried about other’s perceptions or criticisms.
3. An original thinker.
History is full of eccentric people who were outstanding leaders, inventors, and artists. In fact, It’s nearly a requirement.
So, the next time someone calls you eccentric, be sure to thank them.
David Joseph Weeks. Eccentrics : a study of sanity and strangeness. (Villard, 1995)
Written By Sean Grover L.C.S.W. Originally Appeared On Psychology Today