In today’s world, we’re constantly bombarded with messages about what we should look like, how we should act, and what we should wear, own or do.

And as humans, we’re attracted to groups where we believe we’ll thrive, so it’s understandable that we would be inclined to conform. We’re practically programed to want to fit in.  It can be a challenge, then, to really connect with who you are and feel empowered to be different and unique. But being different—and more importantly, being yourself—is crucial. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Freedom. If you’re not being yourself, then you’re limiting the joy you could be experiencing in life. Think of the pleasure, fun and satisfaction you miss out on if you’re not pursuing what you love, what you’re passionate about. Once you let go of needing to be just like everyone else, you’re free to do the things that make you sincerely happy.
  2. Creativity. The most innovative ideas come from those individuals who aren’t afraid to “think outside of the box”. Being comfortable with the fact that you’re an original person with your own thoughts, desires and opinions is the first step in realizing the kind of brilliance that you’re capable of. Accepting that you don’t have to think like everyone else could lead you to contribute impactful ideas to the world. You never know until you try!
  3. Inspiration. Once you break out of your shell and feel confident in being yourself, you may find that you inspire others to do the same. People are often hesitant to stand out, but if they see others experiencing the freedom that comes with being comfortable in your own uniqueness, they may be encouraged to leave their pretenses behind.

Now the tough part – how do you be unique? The good news is that each person is already completely unique, even if you don’t realize it. Your life experiences, mindset and personality all make you who you are, and no two people are exactly the same. Recognizing that you’re already a special individual is the first step. Now all you have to do is celebrate the things that make you original. Recognize your gifts and then share them with others without fear.