The Surprising Origin of Being Rebellious.

Via Sara Avery
on Jun 6, 2012
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I used to be in awe of and even intimidated by rebels.

They do everything “their way.” They blaze their own trail, make their own rules. They’re so quick-witted that they usually dominate conversations and win any argument. I thought that they were really powerful and completely self-reliant, but I have come to see it differently.

In fact, I think that rebels are as dependent upon others as people are who constantly need approval.

Most of the time when they say, “I’m doing this my way,” it’s actually just whatever is “not your way.” Give them a rule and they’ll break it. Their knee-jerk reaction is to do or say whatever is opposite the person around them in the moment.

You say it’s warm out, they say it’s cold. You like a restaurant, they can give you five reasons why it’s horrible. The thing is that they’re not operating in a vacuum. In order to oppose, they need something or someone to rebel against.

And, it is the entity against which they are rebelling who actually holds the power, not the rebel.

I actually have a soft place in my heart for these folks because this is just a way of coping with the feeling of not being good enough. They actually store a conglomeration of negative feelings that make the “rebel” survival mechanism necessary. These feelings include:

  1. In order to survive I have to be perfect and/or know everything.
  2. In order to survive, I have to win at everything.
  3. I am not capable of conforming to others’ rules or way of being.
  4. I am not capable of getting others’ approval.

Numbers one and two carry a lot of pressure with them. It’s stressful to feel that survival depends on always being perfect and always winning. Think of the kid who was always expected to have perfect grades or win first place in every race – always.

Most people’s response to numbers three and four is to say, “I don’t care about conforming or getting people to like me,” or, “I don’t have to do that” (often with the voice of someone who protests too much).

When someone starts a sentence with, “I don’t care about…,” I know that they actually do care deeply, but just feel that it’s impossible for them to fulfill whatever it is. So, they cope by pretending that they don’t care and then they demonstrate that by opposing those who won’t accept them.

The most interesting, and for me, the saddest thing is that the “I’m doing everything my own way,” mechanism actually cuts someone off from their truly unique way of being.

All of their energy is funneled into rebelling, so there’s no room for their real self to come through. While most of us look at people like this as strong voices or even as leaders, they’re just as scared and feel just as under as much pressure as the rest of us.

But buried beneath all of the pressure and feelings of inadequacy is uniqueness. It is the alternative to having to be perfect and to have to win all the time.

Uniqueness is one’s own place and purpose in the world, so there can be no competition around it, nor any such thing as perfection. Uniqueness is just someone’s natural way of being.

As my clients with this pattern start to change, who they really are starts to emerge. They’re more able to collaborate with others and listen to other points of view. The “volume gets turned down” on that intense need to react and oppose others.

And as they begin to feel safe to be who they really are, others feel that and respond with more openness—the former rebels find that they can “fit” exactly as they are.

Does any of this ring a bell for you personally or does it sound like someone you know? I hope you’ll share your experience and observations in the comments below.


Editor: Brianna Bemel

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About Sara Avery

Sara Avery’s passion is helping people uncover the energy that creates their story and the uniqueness of who they really are. In 2001, she transitioned from her first career as an orchestral violinist to guiding people through the deep transformation of Quanta Change. Quanta Change identifies Learned Distress (the feeling that “there is something wrong with me” absorbed in the womb and early in life) as the source of non-well-being. This unique process works with your brain during sleep to permanently remove layers of Learned Distress, allowing your natural well-being to become the source from which your life is generated. Sara’s clients discover a new ease and joy in life that they’ve never experienced—in emotional, spiritual, and physical realms. One client said, “I’ve been seeking for 40 years, and this is by far the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.” Learn more on her website or read more from Sara on her blog. Or, connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.


8 Responses to “The Surprising Origin of Being Rebellious.”

  1. Juan Grassman says:

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  2. […] disappointing people. Even when I act like a rebel and like I don’t care what people think of me, it’s more or less a facade (that’s right, calling my own bluff here). I’m aware of this in myself. I’m working on […]

  3. Chris Fici says:

    I have this kind of dualistic mentality myself-the intense need to stand apart, the intense need to be accepted and fit in. The conflict comes out me most of all against strong-willed and very particular people who I am working under. As I grow and understand my own integrity more and more, this conflict within me become more clear, although not necessarily less intense.

    Thanks Sara for this food for thought which I think will help me.

  4. Sara Avery says:

    Hi Chris, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You might find a bit more insight from this article, also: From what you’re saying, I think this might resonate, also. Wishing you all the best!

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