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Master Your Individuality

Updated: Jun 23, 2018

The most important relationship that you are seeking is the relationship with yourself. When you master yourself, every other relationship in your life will eventually fall into place.

From the moment human beings are born, they are groomed to be group thinkers. They are educated to fit into a category and take orders. At times, they become the projection of their parents' failed dreams and expectations. People rarely are trained to be individuals. In order to achieve the best and most fulfilling version of yourself, your consciousness must remain connected to your individual concept.

One of the reasons for the decline in the quality of human relationships is people's inability to be alone. The attachment, co-dependency, anxiety, and lack of self-esteem that many people experience are mostly founded on an erroneous belief that other people can give them a sense of purpose and make them happy.

Advocates for individuality believe that the interests of the individual and individual initiative are more important than the interests of the group because in the group the individual blends and dilutes her true self. Even when excessive individualism has the potential to dilute our sense of collective responsibility, learning to be an individual has many benefits.

Some of the greatest thinkers and philosophers in history are fierce proponents of individuality — they believe that any price is worth paying in order to preserve it. These unique thinkers provide valuable guidance that can help you preserve your true self.

Friedrich Nietzsche: no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.

"The individual has always struggled to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often and sometimes frightened, but no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

When you try to be yourself in a society that pushes for conformity, you will encounter harsh criticism and opposition. You may find yourself alone, but according to the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, it is totally worth it.

If you want to reclaim your individuality, you will have to pay the price of being alone for some time, at some point in your life; perhaps for a long time at many points in your life. You may have to end past relationships and let go of persons who do not bring something to the table. The only person who can cure loneliness is yourself through the nurturing of your spirituality.

David Frawley: never give up your independence of judgment.

"Never give up your independence of judgment. Cultivate your inner voice and see the actual qualities behind all things."

Cultivating your inner-voice, or thinking for yourself, should be one of your most important goals. Independence of judgment sets you apart and illuminates the path that you were meant to walk in this life. Seeking input and advice from trusted people and mentors can be beneficial, but in any case you will almost always save mental, emotional, and physical energy if you learn to nurture and trust your own judgment.

When you don't exercise your own judgment for fear of being alone, you put yourself at risk of compromising your values and dreams. You forget to exercise your ability to think independently. You may settle for the wrong person or may spend time with the wrong group of people in order to belong or fit in. You put yourself in a vulnerable position where others can easily manipulate you.

Henry Thoreau: march at the bit of your own drummer.

"Some of us hear a different drummer and we must march to the music that we hear."

American philosopher Henry David Thoreau referred to the importance of believing in yourself and listening to your inner voice. In other words, doing your own thing. Believing in yourself is one of the most powerful mindsets that you can have. You can only believe in yourself when you appreciate the value of your individuality.

When you lack individuality, you subscribe to collective beliefs about dating, romantic love, marriage, and the so called sense of "completeness" that another person can give you. Making decisions based on false collective beliefs will push you to pursue goals that are not yours or partner with somebody that may not be right for you. You will come up with excuses to remain in unfulfilling relationships because that is what everyone else does. You will seek connections coming from a sense of emptiness.

A need for connection for the wrong reasons doesn't come from a healthy intention to develop meaningful relationships; it comes from an inability to be alone because you are not content by yourself. If you don't like alone time, you are in trouble — you will go from one relationship to another without taking time to be with yourself and learning from past experiences.

Make your inner voice louder, take time to be with yourself, and don't rush into relationships. If you don't feel complete as an individual, you are not prepared to be in a relationship anyway.

Alan Watts: never let others define who you are.

"It is very difficult to find out who you are when you are with other people because other people are busy all the time telling you who you are."

British philosopher Alan Wilson Watts is regarded as one of the best interpreters of Eastern philosophy in the Western world. If you listen to any of his outstanding public speeches, you will notice that he bluntly supports individuality, independence, and freedom from external influences or opinions.

When you don't know who you are, you let others tell you what to do, how to think, and even define your value. Your self-concept can never be arbitrarily dictated by the superficial opinions of others. The concept that you have of yourself is an ever-changing, evolving perception of who you are and who you are becoming. It's a work in progress that is part of your own individual journey. Only you can define your worth and value.

When you lack individuality, you spend too much time trying to connect with other people and seeking their approval, even when they don't add value. People bring value to your life when they love you for who you are and they make you a better person.

Your circle of friends and relatives should provide a nurturing and safe environment where you are inspired to follow your dreams. If your relationships are not helping you get closer to your life purpose, it may be time to lovingly let them go.

Ralph Waldo Emerson: always be yourself and follow your own path.

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

American philosopher and poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He may be worth listening to when trying to reclaim your individuality. Emerson encouraged people to be themselves despite external pressure to conform.

Have the courage to go off the bitten path if you believe that will take you somewhere. The world will try to tell you that you are wrong. It may even make you feel like an outsider, but when you learn to own your individuality, there is no place for these thoughts in your mind. You will be too busy pursuing your life mission and goals. Quiet your mind and listen to your inner-self, which is the person you were intended to be. This is where all life force resides.

Mohandas Gandhi: it is beneath human dignity to lose one's individuality.

"It is beneath human dignity to lose one's individuality and become a mere bog in the machine." "I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet."

For India's strongest political activist and leader of the independence movement against British rule, individuality was an essential part of being human and the building block of any form of personal and social progress. Gandhi warned against the dangers of any government interfering with people's individuality and capacity to think for themselves.

According to Gandhi, when you lack individuality you erode your ability to grow and become a better person. You are more vulnerable to authority influence and institutional dogma. You may also feel threatened by other people's individuality or independence.

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