We know that we’re all different, but the joy of knowing that doesn’t make us want to be too different from the rest of the crowd so that we never fit in ... anywhere. Our uniqueness is important to our identity. It doesn’t matter that we buy the same clothes, listen to the same records, or eat the same food as anyone else. Because when we do it, when I do it, it’s still a different experience for me, as it is for you: an individual experience.
Being individual is a wonderful thing. As is being part of a group, part of a community. We can do both together – they are not mutually exclusive. Our chosen community is also part of our identity.
Willie Nelson said there was a time when he was trying to look and sound like a predefined idea of a type of country musician and he realised that it was a problem, because he was trying to be somebody else. So, instead of doing that he decided to look and sound like himself – and it felt right to him.
“So it’s hard enough figuring out who you are – why mess that up trying to be someone else? Who you are is both unique and new, and it may be just what the world needs right now.” Willie Nelson.
“‘Be yourself, and find a way.’ Those are probably the most important lessons I’ve learned in my life.” Missy Elliot.
Whilst reflecting on her early life, Missy Elliot recalls seeing how her mother started a whole new life for them and Missy Elliot said, “You can’t sit around making excuses for why you can’t do this or that, you have to dig deep into yourself and find a way – or create one!” She says that you have to remember to find out what works for you, not what other people are doing or what works for them.
More advice: do your own thing – as long as it’s legal! J
Being different gets you attention. It’s not always easy but when you don’t compromise yourself to achieve your dream: there are always many ways to get something done, all you have to do is to find your way – and do it.
“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” Elbert Hubbard, One Thousand and One Epigrams, 1911
“It is often the failure who is the pioneer in new lands, new undertakings, and new forms of expression.” Eric Hoffer
“The great majority of men are not original, for they are not primary, have not assumed their own vows, but are secondaries – grow up and grow old in seeming and following: and when they die they occupy themselves to the last with what others will think, and whether Mr. A and Mr. B will go to their funeral.” Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1841
“There come a moment when we all have to face ourselves, when the value of who we are is invested in who we are not. How we are not. Not like the other. The courage of this moment may be tiny. It may come at the supermarket when you realise you just don’t need that thing anymore. It may be gentle and bold when you stand up for another and say, ‘No.’ I love myself, my dignity, and theirs, and you may not take another step against either. Or it may be brewing inside you that the world has come to a moment when we must all join, not as one but as individuals who know in their hearts that now is the end of unkindness, and your voice, your special, unique voice was always learning for today.” Sharon Stone