A while back, I came across a quote that really hit home — “Don’t be so busy trying to fit in that you forget to stand out.”
It’s the sad truth that what many people fear most in today’s world isn’t death, heights, public speaking, or venomous snakes. The thing that people fear the most is being themselves.
We’re afraid to say what’s really on our mind. We’re afraid of being judged by other people for pursuing our passions. We’re afraid of showing our true emotions because we don’t want to give off the slightest whiff of vulnerability.
And yet, the fact remains that one of the keys to happiness is embracing your uniqueness by doing each of these things consistently.
So if you’re struggling to live an authentic life where you have the courage to be yourself, then you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll talk about seven different ways that you can begin to embrace your uniqueness and get more comfortable in your own skin.
What Does It Mean To Embrace Your Uniqueness?
Embrace your uniqueness is one of those terms that you read and the first thought that pops into your head is, “Okay great, what the hell does that really mean?”
Well, here’s it defined a little more simply:
Embracing your uniqueness is just a fancy way of saying that you should trust your gut. It’s about doing what you want to do on a daily basis while being content with the judgment and criticism that you’ll get for doing so.
It goes deeper than simply choosing to be different. When you commit to living a unique life, you’re committing to letting your intuition guide your decisions instead of being driven by social norms.
When you embrace your uniqueness:
- You’re comfortable doing what you want to do even if other people don’t approve
- You’re comfortable telling other people about your dreams and goals
- You’re comfortable being labeled “weird” for engaging in behaviors that you enjoy
- You receive validation from within, and don’t need to constantly seek it from others
- You don’t feel the incessant desire to compare yourself to other people
Those are just some of the many traits that define what it means to live a unique life.
Why Is It Important To Embrace Your Uniqueness?
Why is it important to be unique? Is fitting in really all that bad?
Well, to answer the second question, no. Fitting in isn’t that bad, it’s actually an essential component of our survival.
10,000 years ago, the world was a dangerous place for us. Humans lived in small tribes and surviving on your own was essentially impossible due to lack of resources and powerful apex predators.
Fitting in was the best thing you could do to survive. Because if you were looked upon as an outcast, you’d likely be ostracized from the tribe which meant certain death.
Now you may think that our brains have changed with the times, but it hasn’t. For the most part, we possess the same hardware as our hunter-gatherer ancestors, which means we still have that primal urge to fit in.
Now in many scenarios, this instinct is quite important. But when it comes to the important stuff, like following your passions, saying what’s on your mind, and overcoming fear, it’s incredibly important to embrace your uniqueness in these moments.
It’s important because the 5% of people who get the life they want do so by being different. Just think about the people that you look up to:
- Do they always follow rules and social norms?
- Do they let fear of judgment stop them forging their own path?
- Do they let criticism from other people impede their vision?
Of course not, hence why we admire them. We look up to people who have the courage to be who they really are in a world where it’s natural to do the opposite.
The bad news is that replicating their decisions isn’t easy. It takes a certain kind of self-assurance to live a life that 95% of people don’t have the confidence to live.
The good news is that you’re perfectly capable of living it if you’re willing to get out of your comfort zone.
8 Tips To Help You Embrace Your Uniqueness
Unfortunately, you can’t achieve a unique life by reading a few comfort zone quotes and getting inspired.
We’ve already covered what it means to live a unique life and why it’s crucial for your personal development. Now let’s talk about seven different ways you can actually embrace your uniqueness in your day to day life.
#1: Embrace Your Shortcomings
If you want to live an authentic life, you have to embrace every part of who you are. That means being content with both your strengths and your weaknesses.
Now being content with your weaknesses doesn’t mean that you don’t address them. If you don’t have great social skills, you don’t have to go through life embracing the fact that you’re not charismatic around others.
Think of it more like an attitude of acceptance — you accept where you are right now without judging yourself for your past.
Embracing your uniqueness means embracing your unique story. That story includes a collection of past decisions that have led to the character flaws you currently have.
So don’t beat yourself up or judge yourself. Simply recognize that appreciating your shortcomings informs you of exactly where you need to focus your efforts to change your life.
#2: Pursue Your Passions
One key trait that most unique people share is the willingness to pursue their passions, both personally and professionally.
We all have a unique reason for being here. At some point in your life, you realized that you were interested in certain topics without really knowing why.
Jordan Peterson refers to that invisible force as meaning — the unique force within us that steers us towards activities that we find intrinsically rewarding.
Some people let that invisible force mold them into world class chefs, actors, and professional athletes. Others use that same force to pursue less glamorous but equally fulfilling careers like teaching, volunteer work, or sales.
Your intuition is always pushing you towards the passions that make it possible to leave your unique imprint on the world.
So in order to start embracing your uniqueness, sit down one day and ask yourself what you’re naturally curious about. What are the subjects that you’re always digging deep into? What kind of work can you do for hours without feeling burnt out?
The path to living a unique life begins with tapping into your intuition and asking yourself these self reflection questions, and then trusting yourself to act on those insights.
- Related Article: 11 Eye Opening Books On Finding Your Passion
#3: Avoid The Urge To Judge Others
You’ll never be able to embrace your uniqueness if you constantly judge others for doing the same.
When you put other people down for being different, you’re not acting in alignment with who you really are. You’re not being unique, you’re simply avoiding coming to terms with your own feelings of inferiority and shame.
If you’re going to go through life judging others, you’re going to constantly betray your own values. You’re not going to feel authentic or unique, you’ll just have a false sense of security that prevents you from finding happiness.
Obviously, you can’t control judgmental thoughts popping up in your mind. However, what you can do is minimize the influence of these thoughts. Each time you catch yourself judging someone simply ask yourself, “Would it be fair if someone was having these same thoughts about me?”
The bottom line is that life is too short to judge others for living theirs. Instead, get so busy improving yourself that you don’t have any time to judge others for doing the same.
#4: Take More Risks
The act of taking risks makes you a unique person in today’s world. Most people retreat to safety because they don’t possess the self-assurance to step into the unknown.
When you take risks, you give yourself permission to fail and grow. You’re showing the courage that’s required to live a unique life.
Here’s a good question to ask yourself if you want to start doing what you want to do with your life in spite of fear:
What are the everyday situations where I’m betraying my intuition because I’m afraid?
When you take 5-10 minutes to answer this question, you’ll understand exactly how and when you’re betraying your deepest values. Once you’ve done that, pick one of these situations and set yourself a goal to take action the next time you encounter it.
If you find that fear is still stopping you from taking action, identify a small step in the right direction. Take enough of these small steps daily and you’ll eventually get comfortable taking risks and facing your fears.
#5: Find Other People Who Embrace Your Uniqueness
Life is too short to judge others, but it’s also too short to spend time with people who judge you.
You need to protect your energy. People who judge you for embracing your uniqueness in life don’t deserve a place in it.
If the people you hang around can’t handle or don’t appreciate you being who you really are, then it’s probably time to cut back on the energy you invest into those relationships.
In addition to letting go of people who don’t appreciate the real you, you should also consider spending more time with people who display the self-assurance you want to develop.
Chances are, this quality will start to rub off on you and you’ll begin to feel more comfortable in your own skin.
#6: Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
With the technology available today, it’s easier than ever to create the illusion of a happy life.
When you look at social media, you’re only seeing people’s highlights. You’re only seeing the positive aspects of their life, but you have no idea what kind of battles they’re fighting internally.
So stop comparing your happiness, success, and fulfillment to the fake standards that other people make you think you need to reach.
Embrace your uniqueness by trying to be better than the person you were yesterday. If you do that every day for a long period of time, you’ll eventually become the person you want to be.
#7: Avoid Seeking Validation From Others
Unique people don’t need validation from anyone except themselves. Most people crave validation from other people like a smoker craves a pack of cigarettes. As a result, they end up driving themselves crazy trying to get everyone to like them.
So instead of molding your personality to get validation from whoever you’re spending time with, just be yourself and get that same validation internally.
Now obviously, don’t be an asshole just to be an asshole. I’m not saying you should do everything you can to avoid praise and validation, but what I am saying is that validation needs to come from being true to your own values.
- Don’t agree with people just to gain goodwill.
- Don’t say things that aren’t in alignment with your values just to fit in.
- Don’t judge others because it’s what all of your friends are doing.
- Don’t engage in behaviors for the sole purpose of raising your status within a group.
- Agree with people only if you actually agree with what they’re saying. If someone says something you disagree with, have the courage to speak up.
- Be the person who says what they really believe.
- Avoid judging others and call people out for doing the same
- Do things because you want to, not because you think they’ll make you look cool and raise your social status
These simple rules will allow you to embrace your uniqueness by setting yourself free from the cycle of chasing external validation.
Embracing your uniqueness certainly isn’t the norm in today’s world, as most people are content to settle for a life that isn’t really their own.
Being unique is the way that you leave your stamp on the world. The world doesn’t need more people who fit in, don’t take risks, and constantly seek external validation — there’s plenty of people who fill that role already.
But my guess is that if you’re reading this post, you don’t want to be one of those people. Well, the only person stopping you from embracing your uniqueness is you.
Happiness is a choice. If you can alter your decisions slightly over a long period of time by facing your fears, avoiding the comparison trap, and spending more time with people who fit in, you’ll start to discover who you really are and begin to live a unique life.