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HomeTop NewsREFLECTION: Maintain your own identity; refuse to be another’s copy

REFLECTION: Maintain your own identity; refuse to be another’s copy

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By Oludare Mayowa

The good book, which I loved to read and meditate on, stated clearly that we are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made.’

This description depicts the fact that every human is unique in his/her own way and the fact that the tomb print is unique to each person is a clear attestation to the fact that no two people are alike.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the meaning of unique is “being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else.”

“Being without a like or equal and able to be distinguished from all others of its class or type” is the definition in the Merriam Webster Dictionary.

The uniqueness of individuals can be found in their features; even the so-called identical twins have certain features that distinguish one from the other.

Aside from the physique, there are differences in their perspective, way of life and other things that easily separate one from another.

It’s the individual differences that make us unique and make the world a great place to live and make people look forward to achieving their goals without being disadvantaged because every other person is doing the same thing in a similar manner making no room to differentiate one from the other.

Without personal identity and uniqueness, those who invented great things wouldn’t have dared to because they would have found millions of other people doing similar things and got discouraged along the way.

The quest to dare is driven by our desire to establish our personal identity and uniqueness and stamp it on our pathway as we journey through life. Humans are usually driven by self-actualisation and the desire to project their personal goals and aspiration which are often time accentuated by their identity.

Also, innovation comes out of the desire of individuals to demonstrate their uniqueness through their creativities; their ability to bring something out of nothing that would make the difference from what have been in existence or become the improved version of things in existence.

The beauty of colours often come out when they are put side by side to form the rainbow; the multiplicity and the distinction of the colours which come together to form rainbow and amplify the beauty of colours.

The same thing is applicable to humans, especially to those who have been able to demonstrate their personal ability to evolve in a unique way they handle life issues.

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Growing up as a child, I had always wanted to be different from my siblings and other relatives; I tried to wear my tie in a unique way different from the way others in my circle do, eat my food in a different formats and position myself to be the favourite.

Why being so? I realised early in life that despite the resemblance between me, my father and my siblings; my thought process, and my lifestyle is a wide apart from theirs.

I came to the awareness that my interest in terms of study, the kind of people I want to hang out with and my choice of clothing are way different from what others desire.

I have also seen and met people who the world called weird because they believed that such people acted contrary to what is regarded as the norm in society. But the question I often asked is, who designs the norm, who decrees what the norm should and should not be?

I believed that most of the so-called norms evolved from certain belief and actions which have become part of our daily living after it has been adapted to suit specific circumstance.

Today, what used to be sacrosanct in society is now regarded as anachronistic, rejected and disdained by people of this generation.

This shows that humans cannot be limited by space, circumstance and other inhibition that hold down other creations such as animals and inanimate objects.

However, despite the unique way we are created by our maker, there are many today who still struggle with the discovery of their real identity because they have chosen to subsume their identity in others who serve as their human heroes.

I have seen many followers of religious leaders who have chosen to take up the identity of their leader, dress like them, talk like them and even adopted their mannerisms in a bid to show loyalty and commitment.

In my quest to understand what the reasons are for such, I discovered that while leadership influence is real, it should not take away individual identity and uniqueness.

I have come to also realise that those who tried to be like others are usually not able to measure up, rather they turn out to be either inferior versions of the person they are trying to look like or messed up their own identity in the process of taking on someone else identity.

While we are influenced by what we see, hear, perceive and our exposure in life, there are more to us as individuals than the collective similarity we share with others.

Though there are peculiar behavioural patterns ascribed to particular ethnic groups, races, colours and tribes; even within such groups, there are people who are always standing out by the demonstration of their uniqueness in outlook, thinking and perspective.

The extent of technological advancement today is a clear demonstration of human uniqueness and individual identity, without which many breakthroughs in technology would not have been.

From the innovative use of technology for social interaction and relationships; FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram and many other social media platforms are all demonstrations of the personal identity and uniqueness of the individuals who created those platforms.

The platforms are created to achieve similar purposes in a unique manner, which does not conflict with our peculiarity as humans.

History is replete with people who along the line lost their personal identity and take on others in their bid to impress their leaders. Such people are not able to step out of the shadow of their leaders and never come to prominence on their own until they are able to find their uniqueness.

What makes and defines you as human is your identity; first your name and then the peculiarity of your being; the manner you do things, your aspirations and your desires.

For every human, you must focus on finding yourself, and understanding who you are and what makes you different from others without losing your identity in the crowd or becoming a mere appendage to others.

Knowing who we are and maintaining our identity will single us out among the lots and ensure that we utilise maximally our potential without any inhibition.

Envy comes from wanting to be like someone else and human striving to have what other have or wishing to have what other have. Lack of contentment is the inability of individuals to discover their real selves and being driven by desires to get all that others have without even understanding the purpose of those things and what they are meant to achieve.

Aspiration is good, but must not be confused with becoming the personality of someone we admired without understanding our own unique purpose. We are created for a purpose and that is our uniqueness that we must discover and pursue without wanting to be like others.

If you are called to be a pastor, you should rather aspire to be one with a difference, and manage your ministry in such a way that will achieve the purpose for which you have been called. Not envious of those who are ahead of you or your peers who seem to be running ahead of you.

Discover a niche and work on your weakness and amplify your strength to enable you to impact lives like no other in your own unique way and style. Stop trying to speak, dress and walk like Enoch Adeboye, Williams Kumuyi or Sam Aboyeji. Learn to translate your purpose to achievable goals and establish your own identity as expected by your maker.

If you are called to a public office, define your purpose and what you desire to become and achieve through the office you have been called. Never join the bandwagon to mismanage your position, rather create your own peculiar way to meet the need of the people you have been saddled to serve.

If you are a teacher, be one that the student will find interesting and different from the norm; be outstanding and impactful than the ordinary call of duty.

To be unique in your own way, you must find yourself, reinvent your way and ensure that you reach into your inner recess to enable you to tap into that power beyond yourself.

It’s time to rise up, if you must aspire, then your aspiration must be to become a unique person, distinct by your identity, your ability to make an enduring change and a frame of mind to be outstanding from the pack.

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