Holding onto uniqueness in the age of manufactured individuality is a challenge many of us are all faced with. Having standards shoved in our faces every time we pick up our phones makes it easy to get swept up in the matrix. Maintaining who you are is important to your truest self, despite the world’s attempts to “program” us. As if seeking perfection isn’t oppressive enough, we are also expected to conform to societal pressures as well. Our decisions around how we live our lives and what we believe in are under scrutiny by the masses via social media.
Go Beyond Society’s Definition of Unique.
Growing up, we are exposed to what we know as a family unit. We perceive the world as we learn more about it. In our innocence we adapt to the family style we are presented with and see our caretaker’s beliefs as “life’s laws”. Often times, we grow out of our families’ views in early adulthood and begin to form our own opinions. Before we can commit to our vision, here comes the world with its societal pressures in tow. Being “unique” goes far beyond looks, but also into our minds and lifestyles. If you are someone who is non-traditional and likes to live life on your own terms, this is for you. In life, much guilt can be connected to deviating from the status quo. Knowing who you want to be and following that path takes wisdom and strength some of us are still searching for.
Carve Your Own Path: Away From Societal Pressures
Many people are surprised to find out I was more interested in motherhood than marriage. The expectation for women is to want this big beautiful wedding and to find the man of her dreams during your mid twenties. After finding said man, we are sometimes expected to have a baby and then find the perfect house to raise our child in – with our dog and backyard with rose bushes. While that is a beautiful manifestation, that’s not how everyone’s story unfolds. Trying to follow the same path as everyone else can lead you to internal destruction and make you feel like a failure. There is no guide to being a human being because we are all made with distinctive qualities.
Some of us are made for college, some are not. Some of us will have difficulties carrying children, and experience a multitude of events along the way. These events can be looked at as losses when comparing it to the timeline and expectations forced upon us. Sometimes, following the crowd of general belief will lead you somewhere you were never meant to go.
Embrace Authenticity Mindfully.
A lot of the decisions I’ve made, people in my life don’t understand. I learned early on however, that we aren’t here to appease our loved ones, but to satisfy ourselves. This is your life to live out, because in the end, all you will have is the memories and decisions you produced. I am here to tell you it’s okay if you are a woman and wish to not marry. It is okay if you are a woman and you don’t want children. It is okay if you don’t want to go to college and have a traditional home – representing the American Dream.
Remember that you can always change your mind about what you want, because you change everyday with new experiences. There is nothing wrong with living outside of the constrictions of popular opinion. Hiding who you really are stunts your growth in ways that can’t always be recovered.
Here are some ways I embrace my authentic self mindfully:
- Give yourself permission to wear things that make you feel good.
- Regularly write down characteristics of your future self, to promote clarity in your life.
- Accept other people for who they are, even when you don’t understand or agree with their choices.
- Gently reinforce boundaries to those who try to confuse or invalidate you .
- Live out loud. Do not deny who you are to make others more comfortable.
- Have confidence in your beliefs and abilities.
When it comes to making major life decisions about your career, family and anything else of importance check in with you. You have to maintain yourself. There should be zero guilt with living the life of your dreams. As long as you aren’t hurting anyone and you can take care of yourself: you are your own boss. Sometimes, we feel like we owe it to those who raised us to be who they want us to be. Other times we feel that we have to fulfill a certain role to be accepted into society, but there is no peace in either.
I encourage you to seek who you truly are and then run after that person everyday. Allow yourself to arrive at home, which will encourage others to do the same. One thing that intrigues me about joy, is that it is easy to obtain. However, joy is right on the other side of decisions that we are often too fearful to make. I am here to remind you to live by your own rules, because after all, it’s your life Pretty Birds! Don’t be afraid. Lean in.
(Leading Image via @eboneedavis)