“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Recently, I had the opportunity to converse with a close friend of mine. Sitting together at a local fast food establishment, we watched as people came and went, commenting on what was possibly going through these peoples’ minds. Why? Because a majority of them dressed similar, acted the same, and even ordered their food in an analogous, somewhat condescending manner. We came to the conclusion that this selection of customers lost or never had a true sense of individuality.
And why would they? The plea by society to be, as through various forms of media constantly bombard not only our eyes, but also our senses. These bemoans grow until one of two things happens: we give in or we continue to press on as we are. The prior becomes just another cog in the machine; a voiceless face consumed by a sea of likewise others in search for that “perfect” image and mindset. The latter break barriers and molds. Great leaders, revolutionist, people who shaped and changed the world refused to be just like the rest.
Now that’s not to say to be an individual means you have to disagree with everyone, dress differently than you do now, make yourself an outcast and/or dislike “popular” mediums. It’s only human nature that we agree with the majority at times. To lose your individuality is to forget your ability to disagree with the majority when that time comes. It’s when you turn to face the proverbial raging waters below a bridge everyone else is jumping off of and you don’t think for a second whether or not you should follow.
It’s not easy to stay true to oneself when there is so much pressure to live up to an image not befitting of you. But if you can, you’ll find that the truest path is the one less traveled.