I used to care about what people think about me. So I change the way I am for others. It drives me nuts.
In order to appear “normal” to people and be able to talk at half my normal rate, I started taking prescription medication that will make me talk slower in 2007. Although people like the new “normal pace” me, I have also ceased to win any important international design awards because I have also lost my creativity as a result. These days I minimize taking any. (Edit 2023: I no longer take meds for them)
In order to appeal to the body conscious community, I used to go to the gym 3x/week and had a professional personal trainer for several years. Did I feel good? Yes. Did he get me into shape? Yes. Did it increase the chance for me to be in love? No. Did I get happier? Yes and no. I did feel better but it is taking so much of my time that I ended up getting stressed out from not having the time to do my work—which is the most important thing in my life. I have thus decided that it is unimportant to me. I exercise these days from carrying all that photography equipment around town and in remote location. That works well. (Edit 2023: I do go to the gym for personal health reasons but definitely not a gym rat by any definition)
Overtime I have stopped doing things just to please the crowd. I have principals. I make it my mission to talk about important issues which no one talks about. I make it my mission to blog about things which mainstream media will not cover. I have learned over time that being popular is unimportant to me. I am happy being on my own. If others don’t like me it’s ok. By being who I am, I am able to do what I love. By being who I am, I no longer waste time with people who are unimportant to me.
Self identity is something which defines who you are. Embrace it.