Why Individuality and Acceptance Matters
Everything we are, every atom and cell, originated from stardust and elements captured from our surroundings. Our bodies are rebuilt from these natural building blocks over and over again, across lifetimes and generations. Because no one re-generation is identical to the other, every single one of us is, by merely existing and by definition, unique.
Despite this simple and awe-inspiring fact, contemporary society often labels a unique individual as one that has accomplished extraordinary things. The media regularly touts everyone from successful start-up entrepreneurs to so-called influencers as the latest in unique, stirring feelings of unworthiness and low self-esteem in some who believe that holding a particularly exceptional talent is the prerequisite for being one-of-a-kind.
Realizing that we are all de facto individually significant is fundamental, for it is the foundation and cornerstone of a healthy existence both singularly and collectively. For this to occur, we must also learn to accept the traits and qualities that define our uniqueness – both the positive and the negative – because acceptance of these attributes ultimately translates into acceptance of our individual worth, leading to a greater sense of wellbeing and internal balance.
How do we learn to positively accept our individuality?
Realize that ultimately, everything ends
Tiziano Terzi – an accomplished writer and one of the few reporters who witnessed first-hand the fall of Saigon and Phnom Penh to the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s – was once asked what he thought was the meaning of life. He responded by simply taking a stick and drawing a circle in the soil.
Ultimately, life is just that – one large circle. We complete circles in our every day, going through routines, schedules, and accomplishments that draw small circles, which ripple into larger circles and onto the largest, all-encompassing circle of all. Death.
When we accept that everything, without fail, has a beginning and an end, we place our uniqueness into a finite context, a context that should both spur us to evolve our weaker traits and celebrate our stronger ones. Together, these make us distinctly who we are.
Realize that what works for others may not work for you
Today we have more access into each others’ lives than ever before. Constant social media updates and photographs inevitably tempt us to compare what is happening in our lives with what’s happening in everybody else’s, which can lead us to feel under-accomplished or that we have not gone as far and as fast as everyone else around us.
Because we are so unique and distinct from each other, it is unrealistic to expect that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ formula for a balanced life exists for all 7 billion humans on our planet. With such differing backgrounds and make-up, for us to try and fit into a specific ‘life-box’ because everyone we know is in that box, or because we think that’s what is expected of us, is just going to set us up for disaster.
Positively accepting your uniqueness means understanding that we each have our personal timing for things to unfold in our lives and in ways that are congruent with our distinct traits.
Realize that we all have the potential to complement each other
We each carry an innate set of traits, skills and personality characteristics that we discover, develop and use over the course of life. No matter how much we may try to emulate someone whom we consider to be more distinct than us, such forced emulation, regardless of how effective it may be, is never going to be as natural as our positive expression of these innate qualities.
Rather than trying to be the copy of someone else whose unique traits we admire (and which will inevitably lead us to feel frustrated, for we can never truly be the replica of another human being), tap into those elements of your personality which come naturally to you and which make you feel good. Rather than smudging these traits to try and be someone that you are not, learn to make your individuality glow by learning to bring these traits to the table in your relationships. When you are able to embrace and accept your unique traits by approaching interactions with others with a complementary – and not competitive – mindset, this will but heighten your sense of wellbeing. Why? Because what is done naturally with a positive mindset is always done well.
Realise that we all matter
When we observe the non-human, natural world, we are skillfully able to identify and observe complex networks and relationships between different animals and plants and the balance that exists between them. Careful research is painstakingly made in our attempts to identify the exact role and importance of an animal or plant in this vast natural web in a bid to help us better understand both our environment as well as ourselves as a human race.
The paradox is that whilst we are able to clearly perceive the importance of each element of this web that makes up the non-human world, we seem to find it harder to grasp that as humans, we too exist as part of a complex ‘human kingdom’.
This vast, global web is one which we are all singularly a part of, and, just like in the animal and plant kingdoms, every single one of us is important in helping maintain this network whole.
When we realize that we each have a valuable place in this global network of humans, which is as important and fundamental as everyone else’s, we take the first step towards cultivating that role and the individual, personal characteristics which define it.
Formerly one of Dame Vivienne Westwood’s legal advisors and co-founder of luxury accessories brand Sofia Capri, Rossella is currently based in Malta where she is the co-hotelier of her family’s boutique hospitality concept, Locanda La Gelsomina. A strong believer in positive, genuine collaboration, she has co-founded the Malta Creative Collective, runs One Blue Dot and is on the board of the United World College Malta National Committee.