• Tanner Kern

Don't be Afraid to be Different

Updated: Apr 13

Different...I don't know if you feel the same way, but to me the word seems to have a big stigma surrounding it. A good chunk of society seems to fear being different or veering off the path of what is considered normal. Most people want to 'fit in' and they're willing to attempt to totally change themselves to relate to a group of people or something they really can't resonate with at all. This usually stems from the fear of judgement from our peers and I believe it gets the best of all of us at one time or another in our lives. Despite this reality, the sooner people realize that it's okay to be different is when true personal growth begins.


In high school, I would define myself as different. I wasn't an outcast, but I didn't fit into the norm. I was really focused on my goal which was to get good grades and earn a football scholarship. There were obviously kids that could relate to this level of achievement, but the drive it takes to attain such a large goal is not present in the typical high school student. I wasn't worried about what others thought of me and my complete desire to be the best I could both academically and athletically. Quite frankly, I could give a sh**, but this mentality faded as I moved into the next step of my life when I got to college.


My early years in college were defined by insecurity in every possible way. I had some people in my life who are no longer a part of it that really cared about doing what college kids were supposed to do and this wore off on me. I call it, "The Best Years of Your Life” mentality and this is a fine way to go about your college experience, but it just wasn't truly me. If you don't know what I'm talking about here's an example. Just think of the spring breakers reeking havoc on the Florida beaches during a Coronavirus pandemic...yeah you get the picture. Despite this, I was torn because this was not me in any way whatsoever. I stopped caring about my grades and I just thought about football and fitting in to what I perceived as the norm. Caring about what others thought put me in a really bad spot and things didn't get better until I got over my insecurity. I didn't want to disappoint the people in my life and I feared their rejection so I tried to change who I really was deep down.


We all are different. We have different personalities, goals, hobbies, and interests. Because of this, nothing good comes when we try and suppress who we really are to please someone else. It's okay to go against the grain of normalcy because that is when we really start to blossom into who we are truly meant to be in our lives. I didn't begin to grow until I returned to not caring about the opinion of others. This process of unshackling my insecure thoughts wasn't easy, but it was worth the struggle. I am my own person and if you don't like who I am that's totally fine with me. Once I accepted that fact I became free.

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Tanner Kern is a 22 year old coach, runner, and blogger from Connecticut. He is the host of The Tanner Kern Podcast and creator of "It's a Process: A Blog About Life, Running, and Everything in Between."

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© 2023 by Tanner Kern.