How colorful and bright this whole wide world is. And we live right in it. But what we, all too often, don’t see is that we – each of us – are contributing to the wonderful mix of colors on this planet. This is because of our individual personalities and different gifts. Each of us is unique not just in how we look, obviously, but who we are as a person.

No two people are the same, not even identical twins. And deep down inside, whether we already embrace it or have yet to find the courage to bring it to the surface, we are self-reliant, independent beings who desire to live life to the fullest by doing and being what our hearts desire – but within the collective.

Individuality Within the Collective

Individual
Individual – finding that space within the collective where we can truly be ourselves – Hong Kong, China

Individualism means doing what we want without caring what others might think. It’s embarking on the journey towards our rawest, most honest underlying character. Creating a place for this pure self-expression in this pre-framed society is a challenge. Yet, finding this space is perfectly doable.

What is unique about humans is their individuality – Leroy Hood

People tend to forget this, it seems. Everyone is striving for similar lives, similar things, similar identities. This is because the idea of a successful life has been pre-defined, and many of us think that this is the idea to strive for so that we might become the person we should be. However, this is an approach that is not encouraged. Simply because there are too many “should’s” and “need to’s “and “have to’s”. How can this be encouraging individualism? We are being pushed into a certain direction, but do we really want to head that way? We are led to believe that this is the only right way to go, when, in fact, there are so many more paths to choose from. No two of them are the same. And that is the beauty.

Finding your true personality and being able to live out your individuality is by no means easy in today’s society, as you are making yourself vulnerable and the target for judgement. Why live a life against the flow, people might wonder – until they understand that, they, too, can embark on the journey into their inner selves and live a life creating themselves. This, in return, brings so much more fulfillment. Being unique is a gift. Hence, we have all been given this gift the day we were born.  

Celebrating Uniqueness

Houseboat
Houseboat – having the courage to live life uniquely within the pre-framed norms of a society – Rome, Italy

Mostly, throughout life, we are being told what to do, where to go, how to live, what to strive for. It’s within a set pattern of societal norms that we have to find a way to define who we really are. Because that’s what individuality is in a nutshell: Knowing what your true personality is and living it out. This existing frame of “ideals” makes it difficult for us to break out and really invent ourselves. Or rather: listen to our inner voices, telling us who we are.

We are raised in a society where stigmas exist, along with ideals about how things should be. Ultimately, this entails a specific view on what we should do and even who we should ideally become.

But is that really us – you? How can we all be and do what everyone else is and does if no two humans are the same? Quite frankly, it’s a contradiction in itself.

Our uniqueness, our individuality, and our life experience molds us into fascinating beings. I hope we can embrace that – Linda Thompson

Being an individual in a world where there are still a lot of people trying to be like their neighbors is not an easy mission to accomplish. The pressure of needing to go a certain path in life, living a particular lifestyle (and: what are you doing for a living, anyway?) is immense.

The Gift of Being You

But, the matter of the fact is, that individualism is a gift. We are all unique in our very own ways, with specific gifts that we can use to, ultimately, contribute to society. Living an “individual” life within the collective means that, by being your true, honest self, this world becomes a more colorful place. And even though we might not know it sometimes, this uniqueness brings us all back together, yet again. Why? Because those supposed differences form the common ground for a society of acceptance and tolerance. More so, we can all learn and draw inspiration from one another, if only we respected the way someone chooses to live out their life.

No one should part with their individuality and become that of another – William Ellery Channing

Embracing individuality means also accepting your flaws. We are humans. We are not perfect. But especially in this imperfectly perfect lies the raw beauty.

Let’s shake off the pressure of having to be a certain someone. Instead, let’s celebrate our individualism. Our own happiness, as well as a benefit for society, depends on it.