The struggle for individuality is real. It’s a sad irony that it persists only because we judge others and wage war against those we don’t understand. When we become threatened by the individual whose expressions run counter to anything we like or comprehend, it is easy for some of us to condemn them for it. In turn, we are paid back by having to struggle with a desire to express our own nature, one that has become repressed and buried so as to avoid a backlash that we know exists. We know it exists because we’ve taken part in it.
Individuality is an essence that most of us want to think that we possess and express openly to others. But we often confuse individuality with our outward expressions of how we visually represent ourselves. Sometimes our expressions of dress, hairstyle or even the way we speak are small proofs of our unique language of personal style, but more often than not, these external expressions are only illusions of individuality. Individuality is not something we can shop for or go to the salon for. And it’s not something that can be sought for outside of ourselves.
I believe that our unique individuality is expressed by looking within. It is not about changing our appearance or dressing in a way that will make people turn their heads. Individuality comes not by comparing and grasping, but from accepting who we are, where we came from and how our unique situations can create one unique individual who thinks and reasons for himself.
It is a delusion to assume that by consciously changing our appearance it will make us unique. This is born out of insecurity and a painful need for acceptance. Yes, we can find our ‘tribes’ and know that when we are around others who dress and speak like us, we can probably rest easier knowing that they will not be offended by our choices and interests–they will accept us because of the stuff we like. That’s called conformity.
When we conform to the ideology or visual trappings of group mentality, we run the risk of sacrificing our own identities in order to be labeled or identified as being part of a larger body which rarely considers the value of the individual.
Individuality is expressed through your energy and thought. It is the power within each of us that should be tapped to better express our true selves. It is an inner strength of believing in ourselves and knowing that we don’t need the approval or acceptance of others to feel complete. It is the strength in knowing that we are perfectly fine and good enough the way that we are. Everything else is vanity and distraction.
I’m not saying that we don’t need to or shouldn’t try to look our best and express ourselves in ways that make us happy, it’s that we should only do it for ourselves, not for the approval of others. When we start to approach life in a manner designed to please ourselves instead of considering the likes, feelings or programming of others, people may resent us, but at this stage it won’t matter because we know the reasons for their resentment and why they resist accepting others as they are. We can see that if there’s a problem, it does not lie with us.
When we welcome the idea that individuality is not about material choices or how we are perceived by others, we can then start doing the work required to awaken to our true nature and start contributing in ways that a conformist simply cannot.
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