I have completed countless personality ‘quizzes’ and tests, only to be left feeling like I haven’t yet grasped my true identity. I have struggled with this concept for a long time, and I am just starting to understand what ’embracing individuality’ truly means. Can anyone fit into the various molds that society creates? What do we see plastered on television screens and magazine covers? Why try to break your theoretical bones and cut off parts of yourself to fit these molds? It is extremely painful to try.
Just Be Yourself
Makes it sound so simple, doesn’t it. Easier said than done? Yeah.
What is individuality?
We can conclude that embracing individuality also means embracing what makes us DIFFERENT or SEPARATE from others. I love how it uses the word peculiar to describe it. I’ve been told I am “weird” countless times. I have grown to view this as a compliment 🙂
So how do we start the journey to embracing our individuality?
Time and Lenience
Give yourself room to grow and space to make mistakes.
This part is pretty straightforward but feels a bit disappointing at times. It takes time to grow into your true self. I know for a fact that there are many things I have not realized about myself yet! This is why I try to have diverse experiences – in order to gain knowledge of my inner self. These take time and most of them will come without warning or premeditation.
Let your mind wander, and allow yourself to be unfocused at times. Try being alone in your thoughts. (It’s my favorite kind of meditation) No need to clear your mind, just notice each thought as it comes in and out of your ‘brain space’. (This is not a technical term, just one I made up, heh.)
Do new & uncomfortable things, get yourself out there (be safe though obvi)
Some of the best stories and memories I have come from experiences that I didn’t necessarily find desirable beforehand, like going on a spontaneous roadtrip, or meeting up with an acquaintance that I don’t know very well. I have learned so much about myself through conversations with a variety of people who unexpectedly popped into my life.
Those people have also taught me how to cook along the way, shoutout to Donna and Mom B. These southern ladies be out here cooking up masterpieces. Geez. They made some of the best meals I’ve ever had. Fried chicken, thanksgiving feasts, gumbo, lasagna, the list goes on. Thank God for good food.
Finding the right systems
What strategies for life work best for you?
Here are some systems that I have been working on:
- Arriving on time… I have to plan for this, I end up getting caught up in my thoughts while doing a task at home and losing track of time, so I have to budget more time for getting ready. I also set timers or measure time by how many songs have played etc.
- Accomplishing undesirable tasks… I like to make a list and spend a few minutes, eyes closed, imagining myself doing these tasks and what emotions I will feel during and after the tasks are done. This is a wonderful tactic. I find myself able to focus so much better while milling around the house getting things done. It leaves me feeling so accomplished.
Eeeeek. These are not so fun, yet they become beautiful ways to naturally become more productive without breaking yourself to fit the mold. This is one I am definitely still working on!
Don’t compare yourself to others
Another ‘easier said than done’ piece of advice. WHY is this so hard??? Even though it is tough, I become more convinced of its importance every year of my life.
Looking at others and comparing myself to them creates gaps or cramps in the mental space I live in, and I find myself trying to squeeze or break myself into those gaps. When I don’t compare myself, I fit right into my space … The obvious choice is to stop comparing yet the curation of this habit is so difficult. If you know how to make this easier please let me know in the comments! Maybe a social media fast is in my future.
It is important to celebrate other people’s accomplishments, and it is also important to celebrate your own. Each little win is important in the journey you are on. GOOD JOB getting out of bed today! Love you.
Forget about other people’s opinions of you
Receiving advice from others is one thing – another is allowing their opinions to make choices for you. Do your best to stay true to yourself. Also – try not to seek approval for everything 🙂 This is tough for me – it may not be for everyone but I know for a fact that there are others out there who also struggle with this.
There has got to be a balance between receiving and implementing helpful advice from trusted people and trusting yourself to know what is best for you.
Try to ENJOY the process.
Take a moment to feel grateful and soak in your current season of life. Lately, I have had a lot of moments where I think about life/death and how miraculous it is that I am still alive. It makes me feel mushy and grateful at the same time.
I catch myself dreaming of the future and longing for things that I don’t yet have. Whenever possible, I try to keep myself present and think about the positives of the current season that I am in.
Younger Anna would be thrilled at where I am now! There are things that I can do now that were not possible before, such as anxiety management, the ability to recognize my emotions, and the ability to live in harmony with another person. -I always thought I was better off alone!- It has been a beautiful progression.
Give yourself praise and focus on the positive aspects of yourself, and slowly learn to love your flaws. It is a long but worthy journey. Good Luck <3
Feeling down? Listen to this happy song. Maybe it will help 🙂
Feel free to reach out to me via the comments if you have any questions or concerns!
I hope you enjoyed the completely unrelated cat photos 🙂