“Our individuality is all, all, that we have. There are those who barter it for security, those who repress it for what they believe is the betterment of the whole society, but blessed in the twinkle of the morning star is the one who nurtures and rides it, in grace and love and wit, from peculiar station to peculiar station along life’s bittersweet route.” ~ Tom Robbins
One of the core values of The Evolution Group is Honoring Individuality. This we try to do for one another as well as for our clients. To honor can be defined as: To treat someone with admiration and respect. Individuality can be defined as: The qualities and characteristics of a person that distinguishes them from others.
Much of the work of personal growth, identifying goals, and self-actualization is rooted in this ability, and yet so many people are unable to honor individuality in their lives. Some people struggle to honor their own individuality. Perhaps based on fears of rejection or disapproval, or as a result of lifelong messaging (from others and self) that their truest selves were “bad” or “not good enough.” These ideas, of course, are lies. We all do the best we can with what we have been given and what we have.
Accepting ourselves as we are is a part of honoring your individuality – the first part, actually. From there we can become authentic to our true selves and begin to honor those traits we find honorable and discard those that we find objectionable. And then there is space to begin to move closer to our authentic ideals.
People also have difficulty honoring the individuality of other people. When we are critical of someone else’s behaviors and/or their personhood, in effect we are taking away their human experience. The issue becomes how it affects us (i.e., taking things personally), rather than it being about the other person and their choices. When I am offended by someone’s behavior, it is my issue, and I can choose to recognize this as energy I invest in judging others.
Og Mandino said, “Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.”
This is where we have a choice as individuals. If we knew that someone we were interacting with was going to be dead soon, would we focus on what’s “wrong” with them or their behaviors? Or would we be able to identify and honor their individual selves as they are, with all their thoughts and imperfections. After all, we all have these “imperfections” and they are, most often, what make us individuals.
So, then, is honoring individuality actually another way of saying we honor one another’s imperfections? Imagine what a compassionate world we could live in if this were the case! But we can start small. Local. With loved ones. Just so we start . . .