Love Yourself: Be The Underdog

by Tess

Creative Commons License photo credit: John Gray

Our guest today is John Anyasor from HiLife2B. I find John and his blog refreshing. One of his goals is to help start an endless chain of helping people. (I think he already has!) We get back what we give in life and I'm happy to introduce John and help him with his other goal of becoming a professional blogger! 

To be labeled as one who is different, weird, not normal: in my eyes, it is a gift. To be underestimated, to be thought of as slow or dimwitted, foolish or ignorant, pathetic or even worthless: that is your greatest weapon.

When you're underestimated, you're forced to look within yourself to assess your true value and self worth.

Many a time, I've been labeled as the underdog – the one nobody should worry about. Berated for my weirdness, not because I had some sort of disease or mental illness… I just thought on another plane of consciousness.

Believe me, I tried to fit in with them. I would listen to their music, talk like them, walk like them. In a nutshell, I tried to BE them. But that wasn't me.

They'd say I wasn't cool enough. Cool? What does that even mean? When I'd ask them that, they'd just make fun of me even more. I was singled out as an outcast. I thought something was wrong with me. It never crossed my mind that something was wrong with them.

There are a lot more of them than there are of me, I thought. They must be right. What am I doing wrong. After a while, I resented them, all of them, for not accepting me. Even if I had come across someone I never knew before, I'd assume that they were just like my enemies. Popular and "normal".

With my hatred of them in full force, I closed myself off. I ate by myself. Worked by myself. I did everything by myself. Who are they? I thought. Why should I rack my brain to emulate them? All I need is myself. 

Many years I felt this way. I had this "me against the world" mindset. I began to believe that the rest of the world was like this. That if you were different, you'd be instantly alienated. A freak of society who'd no one would want to accept.

My eyes and mind were closed off to the light that would soon shine in my favor. I hadn't realized that I was the underdog. Nothing was expected from me; that would become my greatest weapon.

It should be understood that I didn't find this out on my own. You could say books had an influence. Teachers, mentors, family, they all had a part to play. They were the ones that opened my eyes. They showed me that I was not alone.

All this time I tried to reject who I was to fit in, when "who I was" was something that couldn't be changed. I should have embraced what made me different, what made me unique. Life is short; why waste it hating those who dislike me?

It was then that I decided to take pride in who I was. I soon discovered that I wasn't the only outcast. There were others, just like me. They were unique. The  popular kids looked all the same. These people looked completely different. I had to know who they were!

We talked. It's like we knew each other all along. For the first time, I felt happy. "You should have sat next to us in the first place", one of them said. "Why didn't you?"

"I don't know", I lied. "I haven't the faintest idea." Be bold enough to accept yourself. Because in the end, not everyone is.

John Anyasor is the creator of HiLife2B. There he gives advice on personal development, inspiration, and motivation. A second year undergrad, he seeks to one day break the cycle of entering the dreaded 9-5 to achieve the life he wants. Follow John on Twitter or sign up for his RSS feed.

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    { 28 comments… read them below or add one }

    Lori December 30, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Hi John and Tess,

    I really enjoyed this, John! (And great guest, Tess!).

    Living almost a decade in So Cal, I often thought exactly what you said, “The popular kids looked all the same.” But, more in the context of the bleach blonde hair, surfer clothing, and not-quite-real body parts. It’s so crazy, by acting in a way they often thought was ‘rouge’ just made them all look the same. I’m sure I played a part in there somewhere, too, though.

    Very interesting indeed…

    I laughed when you said, “Cool? What does that even mean?”


    I’m proud to be a dorky chick. I’m proud that I might say goofy things sometimes, but, hey, why be normal??? ;)

    I enjoyed this, John. Best to you and Tess for the New Year’s flip to 2010!
    .-= Lori´s last post…Shedding =-.


    John December 30, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Hey Lori! So happy you’re here :)

    ha ha, it’s just like the people who go against the norm just for the sake of being “nonconformist”. Accept you are and embrace it. If you like being a bleach blonde, go for it, but don’t do it because “the i’s have it”.

    Who cares what the “cool” kids think. Dorks rule! I’m glad you’re so goofy, because it makes you who you are. You’re not a pretender; you’re YOU and that’s how people truly connect. We connect with our real selves.

    I can’t wait for the New Year. Not into the “resolutions” gimmick, but a new year is upon us. Time to be happy! :)

    And Tess, I can’t thank you enough for giving me a chance to guest post. It’s been a pleasure.
    .-= John´s last post…What Life Feels Like at Almost Two Decades Old =-.


    Joy December 30, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Thank you for introducing us to an insightful writer:)
    “Labeled, berated, underestimated”….powerful adjectives to describe that part of your journey… “With my hatred in full force I closed myself off…” I want to say I’m truly sorry for this. You absorbed negative from others and began to feel that about yourself–huge lesson to us all. You then did the hard work to accept and love yourself; its takes courage to embrace yourself exactly as you are, and then to step out and find your “fit”. And now you encourage helping others; which is absolutely excellent. I think when you follow your heart, it soars higher than you can imagine, and in order to let your heart lead you have to “be bold enough to accept yourself.” Thank you for a heartfelt message:)
    .-= Joy´s last post…My Letter……. =-.


    Quinn December 30, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    Great article, this is a topic i have dealt with a lot in my life. We need to be true to who we are and accept our selves before we can expect any one else to accept us. I would never trade my individuality and personality for a chance to be one of the cool kids, my only regrets it took me so long to accept who I was and to start tying to live the life I wanted.
    .-= Quinn´s last post…The gift of value =-.


    Lance December 30, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    You have another great guest here today!

    One of my very favorite quotes, is one I think you will very much enjoy:
    “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” ~ Steve Jobs

    John, being that “round peg in a square hole”…it’s a very good thing. You are doing great things in this world, and that is because you are living true to your heart. Keep doing that. Keep following that path that is right for you…
    .-= Lance´s last post…Sunday Thought For The Day =-.


    John December 31, 2009 at 12:32 am

    @Joy Thank you for understanding me :) . Yes, I have to admit, I did hate who I was. I became this bitter person who didn’t see the joy in life. I truly believe loneliness is the worst pain. When no one is there to listen, to see you grow up, or even to see you leave this world, it hurts. When you find others, like you, who you can share the burdens of the past and the aspirations of the future – that is when you know true happiness :)

    Glad to have meet you, Joy.

    @Quinn It matters not how long it took, but only that you are who you are right now. You accept who you are, just as I do. We’re better people for that. We’ve grown from our mistakes. Even though we’ve had to learn it the hard way, we’re much happier because of it.

    Thanks for your insights, Quinn :)

    @Lance I absolutely love that quote by Steve! It encompasses my entire being. Thank you so much for sharing it.

    I can’t thank you enough for all you’ve done for me. It’s been quite a pleasure learning from you. I look forward to your thoughts every Sunday. They make me want to attack the next day (even though that next day happens to be Monday : ) ).

    I won’t ever stray from the path I see before me. A light stands at the end, and I will not stop until it is reached.

    Thank you, Lance.
    .-= John´s last post…Not Another New Year’s Post?! =-.


    Hayden Tompkins December 31, 2009 at 12:54 am

    John, I love how you have come to find the strength of self-knowledge. Some people go their whole lives without really understanding who they are.

    You’re right, it’s not enough to know what you aren’t you have to know and accept who you are. Thank you for sharing your story and for being bold!!!
    .-= Hayden Tompkins´s last post…How to Rock 2010! =-.


    Jannie Funster December 31, 2009 at 1:09 am

    We are all freaks, we come to find out eventually, which to me means there are no freaks at all. No such thing. Just “beings of light with corporeal trends,” born of and to love, each of us on our combined journey towards complete trancendance.
    .-= Jannie Funster´s last post…I Stenciled A Doll Trunk! =-.


    Peggy December 31, 2009 at 5:22 am

    Nice to meet you John!

    Tess – thanks so much for introducing us to him!!

    John – if more younger people could get what you got earlier on in life, perhaps life through your 20′s and 30′s wouldn’t be so much of a struggle to find acceptance. Not that I didn’t like myself, it just took me a long while to figure out that acceptance starts at home…with my own Self first.

    Happy New Year!
    .-= Peggy´s last post…Looking Back on a Decade =-.


    Positively Present December 31, 2009 at 8:35 am

    Excellent post, John! I’ve always been one to cheer for the underdog so I really loved this one!
    .-= Positively Present´s last post…a year of amazing: how to make this one the best yet =-.


    Tess Bold Life December 31, 2009 at 10:47 am

    Lori and John,
    I’m going to sound old but I don’t even want to know what Cool means today!
    I want my grandkids to be uncool! Lori, I’m a dork as well. One of my daughters and I will greet each other with, “Hey dork!”

    I like that, 2010-the time to be happy! Your welcome John, you make a great guest and the world needs to know there are brilliant young people changing the world.

    Again you have such a loving way with words. Good insight on absorbing negative energy. We can leave that all behind with 2009!

    When the student is ready the teacher appears. Time is an illusion. You got it when you were ready…or at the correct time for you!

    One of our friends retired from school counseling a few years ago. I had that quote on a large sign for everyone to sign. I love that as well. Yeah to Steve Jobs and all the gifts he brought us.

    Thanks for stopping by…I’m going to rock 2010 with you!

    You’re getting way to profound! No, really I love it…especially the line about trancendance.

    You hit the nail on the head. Acceptance begins at home with our own Self. Let’s teach it with the ABC’s.

    Yes me too on the underdog thing. I wonder why. LOL
    .-= Tess Bold Life´s last post…Love Yourself: Be The Underdog =-.


    Hilary December 31, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Hi Tess – really interesting to meet John and to hear his story – and how he’s managed to overcome that so called inadequateness and realise he has unique strengths.

    John – well done .. and good on your friends, your family and you for finding out your strengths and realising that you are you. Excellent to know that you’ll be continuing on this path .. and want to help others learn and grow themselves .. good on you.

    Makes us all sit up and think this last day of 2009 ..
    Enjoy the year ahead – it sounds as though we will joining together .. every little smile, please, thank you and learning all helps bring others with us ..
    Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Positive Letters Inspirational Stories
    .-= Hilary´s last post…Blue Moons …. Last day of 2009 =-.


    Patricia December 31, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    Wow a great find Tess and thank you for sharing all the connectors too…I just love being the different one…I think I learned that early in my family, and I was always seeking others who might be questioning and finding themselves. I thought everyone wanted to be their own best – wow was it surprising to me to discover that not everyone is seeking and that so many are following…so many, now that is even more scary to me.

    Good luck on this blogging adventure and I wish you well.


    Hulbert December 31, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Hi John, thanks for writing this inspiring post on being an underdog. I think most people find flaws in themselves that make it hard to accept, thus they have that me against the world mentality. But like you say, most people at one time another feel this way and opening up helps us be able to relate to each other on this level. Great post, and thanks Tess for sharing this. Hope everybody here has a happy new year!
    .-= Hulbert´s last post…My 100th Post =-.


    suzen January 1, 2010 at 8:31 am

    Well hi, you two! Fun combo! Tess, excellent choice! You’re right, John is refreshing! I’ve been reading his blog for quite a while (hint hint John) and I adore his enthusiasm!

    That quote Lance gave here absolutely says it all!!! I was born different, became more different, and today I love every spec of the “stuff” that makes me, me. If I could have loved me earlier, I wouldn’t have been sitting alone (I really resonated with that scene you wrote about) but I would have joined in IF and when I wanted to without being the least concerned about what anyone else thought of me. I think there is a wonderful self-confidence born of loving/accepting who we are and I credit that with making me fearless, able to go with the flow, and spread joy and love around. I could care less if anyone is annoyed by that – and some crabby pants people are – well too bad! Maybe the joy will rub off on them when they least expect it! I send it out, and let the Universe work its magic.

    Happy Joyous New Year to you both!!!
    .-= suzen´s last post…Carrots, Eggs & Coffee Beans – A Recipe for Thought =-.


    Dawn January 1, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    I understand being underestimated. That has been the story of my life…so much so, that I believed it for a very long time.

    I am in a major life change. those same people how one had me believing that I could not succeed, again rear their ugly words. This time, I don’t believe it…I have faith in myself, and know that I will come out of this stronger, and on my own two feet, because I can do it…not because anyone else thinks I can or not.

    Embracing yourself, and all your ‘features’ is essential. As soon as I learned to love myself, accept myself, even when I know I’m being flaky, I became empowered like never before.

    Rock on…embrace your place…and let the magic of YOU begin!
    .-= Dawn´s last post…My Resolution~Learn to Let Love In =-.


    John January 1, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    @Hayden – Hey Hayden, glad that you resonated with my story. The pain of the past can sometimes be a wonderful teacher. Looking back now, I’m no longer bitter towards the past. I see now that, because that pain, I am a better person. I love and accept who I am. I know the same holds true for you.

    @Jannie – Nice! Your response is fluid and awesome. I feel like all I can say is, “Exactly.” We cannot hide behind masks and play parts that we pretend to play. Sooner or later, we will all become transparent.

    @Peggy – Nice to meet you too, Peggy! It’s been an honor guest posting here on Tess’s blog. Once you find acceptance – once you finally see that “you are who you are” – everything you strive for becomes that much more important. You’re not striving for something simply because you’re supposed to or seem like you have to. You strive because you WANT to.

    Happy New Year!

    @Dani (Positively Present) – Thrilled that you enjoyed it so much. I too pull for the underdog. I’m always at the edge of my seat, waiting for him/her to make a move.
    .-= John´s last post…Not Another New Year’s Post?! =-.


    John January 2, 2010 at 12:07 am

    @Hilary – Nice to meet you Hilary! When I felt that I had nothing to lose, it was then that I saw my true strength. I finally saw my potential. I couldn’t reject who I am, so the only solution was to accept and embrace.

    I feel as we continue this new year, things are only going to get better – for all of us indeed :)

    @Patricia – Thank you very much and what you’ve said really encompasses how I felt when I was young. I used to think that everyone is on the same path as me, trying to find themselves and look for the truth in their lives. Instead, there are A LOT of people who’ve given up on that and find it easier to follow the crowd rather than search for their own answers.

    I wish you the same wellness you wish me :)

    @Hulbert – Ha, I know what you mean. That “me against the world” mentality really doesn’t work. It sounds amazing on paper, but really you need someone to rely on when times get hard. If you merely rely on yourself, you begin to blame yourself for the world’s opposition against you. Even it’s just a faith or a friend/family member you can count on, you can’t go at it alone.

    Happy New Year, Hulbert :)

    @Suzen – You really hit hard with your response. Some people are just negative people – who want to only see the wrongs instead of at least acknowledging the right in this world. Like I’ve said, it is through pain that we realize our strength, but that pain should not conquer our hearts (like so many of us let it do). Learn from the pain and give back joy. Find those with whom you resonate and give joy to them – that is how you spread joy in the world.

    Happy New Years! :)

    @Dawn – I know you just by your words and thoughts. You are not alone. As you know all to well, I’ve felt the sting of rejection as people made fun of who I was. But shun their words and actions – look for those who love you for who you are. If your accusers have come, let them come. Their negative thoughts cannot touch you. Your friends and family will always be near you – you are not alone.

    All of us here are with you.
    .-= John´s last post…Not Another New Year’s Post?! =-.


    Zeenat{Positive Provocations} January 2, 2010 at 5:20 am

    Tess.Awesome choice for a guest post :)

    You know how much i love your writing :) You’re like a breath of fresh air..and sometimes i wonder about your age…you cant be so young and know so much….:) Thats a compliment. Imagine by the time you reach your thirties youre going to be guru of sorts :)
    But, thats what this is all about the totally UNIQUE and absolutely and ONLY YOU! The sooner we can embrace our own uniqueness…the sooner we can shine! And my dear little bro..YOU SHINE!
    Keep shining….your light helps us all :)
    Lots of love
    .-= Zeenat{Positive Provocations}´s last post…Love, Kindness and Happiness =-.


    Tess Bold Life January 2, 2010 at 7:06 am

    I think there are more people like us being their unique selves than copycats. I’m so happy you honor your special traits that make you…you. Without that we wouldn’t have! Thanks for being you!

    I’m so happy I got rid of that me and you against the world mentality a long time ago. The odds just weren’t very good;)

    Yes Lance’s quote is a real winner. One of my favorites as well. I need a sign like that in my office… a great reminder.

    “Embracing yourself, and all your ‘features’ is essential. As soon as I learned to love myself, accept myself, even when I know I’m being flaky, I became empowered like never before.”
    This is great wisdom…empowered like never before. How’s that sound for the New Year?

    Yes doesn’t John shine? Think of where he and his blog will be in 4 years!
    And we get to enjoy, help and view along the way. Lucky us!

    Thanks so much for being my guest here at the bold life. What a great way to end the year and bring in the new! Rock 2010 like Hayden says.
    .-= Tess Bold Life´s last post…Love Yourself: Be The Underdog =-.


    Sara B. Healy January 2, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Tess — Thank you for sharing John with us. I really enjoyed his post.

    John — I think you are wise beyond your years to come to this realization about how very unique and special you are. It’s interesting that as you acknowledged this about yourself, you began to see the others who are also like you.

    Perhaps it’s not that YOU are different, but more like what Clarissa Pinkola Estes says in her book “Women Who Run with Wolves, ” you just have to find your own tribe:~)
    .-= Sara B. Healy´s last post…New Year’s Day and an Old Roman God =-.


    suzen January 2, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    Hi John – reading your comment on my comment and have no clue what you are referring to when you say I really “hit hard”??? You sure you were commenting on my comment? I don’t hit. I hug. Color me confused.
    .-= suzen´s last post…Step it Up, Suck it Up – GET UP =-.


    John January 2, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    @Zeenat Hey, Zeenat, thanks for being here! I appreciate your compliments wholeheartedly. I don’t know if I’ll be some sort of guru, but I hope to someday become an authority everyone can trust.

    I will definitely shine through my uniqueness – thanks big sis :)

    Happy New Year!

    @Sara – Nice to meet you Sara! Your last statement speaks volumes. I just had to find a tribe that I could call my own. And in the end, I did. They accepted me, before I even thought of considering them. If only I didn’t wait so long to grasp the opportunity.

    Happy New Years! I hope one day I can live up to all of your compliments :)

    @suzen – sorry, I was up late last night responding to these comments so I must have missed some words. I meant “hit hard” in the manner of hitting a home run out of the park. It was an expression. Sorry I confused you :P
    .-= John´s last post…Not Another New Year’s Post?! =-.


    Karl Staib - Work Happy Now January 3, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    I know that I’ve been put in the “weird” category by a lot of people. It’s people’s way of dealing with their own issues.

    I think that’s what it comes down to people project what they see in themselves on to others. When it scares them they attack it.

    I love your attitude. By embracing your differences that’s when you can help the most people. I wish you all the luck in the world.
    .-= Karl Staib – Work Happy Now´s last post…Hard, Fun and Beautiful – Backyard Sledding Edition =-.


    Wilma Ham January 3, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Hi John and Tess.
    The whole world uses the word uniqueness without really understanding the meaning of it.
    Because if we did, a whole lot of people would NOT talk about uniqueness as they would know uniqueness is NOT fun right now.
    Uniqueness currently still means strange and weird and NOT fitting in indeed.
    John, you though got what it takes to be unique and of course you did not go for DO-ing the so called popular uniqueness but you went for BE-ing the authentic one.
    That takes courage and I congratulate you on BE-ing unique.
    May many more of us follow your lead and start understanding and accepting uniqueness as that is where our authentic self will show up and that will free us from being a clone who is easily manipulated in a unsane world.

    People like you will bring peace, so thank you for being you John and thank you Tess for having this unique guest, Wilma.
    And Tess, what about changing “dork” to “unique one”, it is more to what is reality.
    .-= Wilma Ham´s last post…Only acceptance has you do things differently. =-.


    Tess January 3, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    You’re correct about your choice of words…you gotta know my daughter and me…once a dork always a dork. I guess it’s a private joke. It’s something we enjoy being! Yes dorks are unique ones:)

    Thanks to everyone for visiting and commenting. I hope you all take the time to visit John’s blog. It’s a great way to give back in honor of those who helped us along!


    Wilma Ham January 3, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Okay, I accept that dork it is and I accept you as an unique dork.
    I think I am projecting my dork view on you and that is not accepting, is it?
    Arrgghh, but now I am really curious to meet you.
    .-= Wilma Ham´s last post…Only acceptance has you do things differently. =-.


    Tess January 4, 2010 at 5:54 am

    Hey Wilma,
    All is well!


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