Take a Risk, Choose to be Different; Be Your Authentic Self
Contributor

Do you want to belong?  Of course, we all want to feel like we belong to a group of people who love and support us in all that we do.  But do we conform to what the group wants in order for us to belong or are we daring and choose to be our authentic selves? 

Be yourself.  Everyone else is already taken. ~ Oscar Wilde

As children we get mixed messages about our uniqueness.  We are told by loved ones that it’s okay to be different and then they are the same people who try to get us to conform.  We are praised for our drawing talents until we start drawing negative imagery as others get concerned about us.  As young people we get tattoos or piercings to show our individuality but then are told in a job interview that we must cover them up while working.   Society does not normally praise individuality.  But innovators and creative people take a risk to be different and in doing so are praised for their bravery. 

We are Born to be Different

 

You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You have the capacity for anything. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Besides identical twins, we are all born as unique individuals.  Even twins can have very different personalities besides sharing the same DNA.  We were not created to be like everyone else.  We were meant to be completely unique and our authentic selves.  The Universe did not want exactly the same people to roam the earth.  We are not robots who are programed the same as the robot down the street. 

As individuals we are meant to take a journey on this Earth for our own growth and purposes.  We are meant to use our distinctive talents to help others in a way that we enjoy.  By choosing to be different we allow who we are to be graces with our unique perspective.  We are not like anything that has been here before or ever will be.  Don’t deprive humanity of your uniqueness by trying to blend in.  What make you different are the same things that make you who you are.  Share them with the world. 

The Crowd has a Fixed Mindset

The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before. ~ Albert Einstein

The fixed mindset is based on the desire to conform to the group.  Whether or not we agree or even like the group.  Our desire to belong is ingrained into our biology.  It made sense to live with a group of people for safety and the shared resources during our time as hunters and gatherers.  In doing so our need to conform was part of our very survival.  Standing out or being different could cost us our lives. 

But in modern times this is not necessary, we can do that on our own.  Don’t get me wrong, it is great to have the support of family and friends to encourage us and give us a hand if we need it but it is not necessary for our survival.  We can take a risk and be our authentic selves. 

Today the group mindset is only concerned about the conformity of the individuals to whatever the group has determined.  Everyone in the group is to agree and do what the others in the group have agreed to whether it is right or wrong.  You can see this during mob scenes where normally nice people encourage others to deface and destroy property.  Yes, it can be exhilarating to be a part of a group but it takes away your distinctiveness. 

Conformity Hampers Growth

Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.  ~ John F. Kennedy

With a fixed mindset from the group your growth is hampered.  This stagnation occurs because the group discourages change and growing means changing.  Think about it, when we learn something new or understand a different perspective we are changing.  All learning is a transformational process.  The group doesn’t want nor encourage difference.  As one develops we become different. 

Being different is part of our uniqueness.  Yielding to group pressure stifles our creativity and our imagination. The group does not grow.  The group does not change.  Even if there are new people introduced to the group the dynamics are rarely altered as the new person tends to already be like the group. 

For example, I was a leader in a volunteer organization where I was much younger than the average person.  When I would suggest a different way to do something, they didn’t want to do it the way I suggested because they had always done another way. Even though they acknowledged my way was a better, the solution I offered was not welcomed or accepted.  “We’ve always done it this way,” is a progress killer.  Conforming to the group makes you an impersonator, not authentically you.

Being Authentic is Brave

Being different isn’t a bad thing. It means you’re brave enough to be yourself.  ~ Luna Lovegood

Yes, taking a risk to truly be your authentic self can be scary.  You may be ridiculed for being different.  The group may exclude you for not conforming.  Therefore, your desire to be genuine and true to who you really are needs to be unwavering; which requires bravery on your part. 

If you are grounded in knowing that you are worthy, bravery isn’t actually needed.  Being genuine supports you to get to where you want to go in life.  As you try on new ideas and concepts as you grow, you will find what fits you and what fades away are those things that no longer belong in your life.  This may include friends or material things that were only present for a season of life.  Be fearless to let go of those things that you no longer serve your authentic self.  Choosing to be different may require bravery but only for a season. 

Authenticity is True Beauty

Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.  ~ Coco Chanel

I turned 50 years old last November and before the big party my son gave me I decided I was no longer going to dye my hair which I had been doing for about fifteen years.  When my sister, a former hair dresser, arrived she wanted to spray my hair to cover the gray hair and was disappointed when I wouldn’t let her.  I told her my authentic self has gray hair and I was letting it grow out.

Over the past several months I have had so many compliments on my hair it has been overwhelming.  Perfect strangers have come up to me to admire my hair.  Several members of book club have discussed how brave I am for going natural.  Just last week at a dinner event a man I had never met before went out of his way to tell me how stunning my hair was.  Being true to who you are is beautiful and other people notice it. 

I was making my own choice and risked scorn from co-workers but only heard that my hair seemed healthier and that I was becoming more myself.  I did this for me, it didn’t hurt that I was saving almost $1000.00 year on getting my hair colored at the salon.  In choosing to be my genuine self I became more beautiful, to myself and others.  I even became a trendsetter!

Being Authentic Creates Greatness

I am different.  Not less.  ~Temple Grandin

Our uniqueness and our talents allow us to create a fabulous life if we risk being different.  Have you noticed that no one in the group is doing anything really wonderful with their lives?  Isn’t everyone doing what needs to be done and living a mundane life.  Being normal means you don’t find out how amazing you are.  Ordinary people do not become great, authentic people do.

All the truly great people of the word were different.  They used their uniqueness to their advantage to cause them to rise to prominence for whatever contribution they made to the world.  Oscar Wilde, Henry David Thoreau, Albert Einstein, John F. Kennedy, Coco Chanel, and Mother Teresa are all examples of genuine people aspiring to greatness for their different talents.  They each choose to grow in their own ways.  Each was brave, went against the crowd, and was beautiful for their authenticity. 

Greatness is in all of us when we allow our authentic selves to emerge and grow in the light.  As we show the world our uniqueness we encourage others to be brave and show their true selves to the world.  We need one another.  Our differences are needed to improve the world we live in.  If sameness worked wouldn’t we have solutions by now?

Be the Contradiction

 “We must never be afraid to be a sign of contradiction for the world.” – Mother Teresa

That is my goal, to be a contradiction in the world I live in.  To be at peace when there is turmoil all around me.  I want my reaction to all things to be a loving response not one of fear.  I am choosing to be different and encourage others to be their unique selves. 

As you become more mindful of the crowd mindset of the groups you spend time with and become conscious about your true self you can alter the course of your life.  If you would like to receive more informative and thought provoking articles right into your mailbox fill this out now.

Do you need help becoming aware of your own uniqueness?  Do you need support in becoming a person of greatness?  If so please contact me and we can put together an action plan for you to be authentically you.

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