Do we talk about individuality in positive psychology? I know we all strive for it as we head to our professional lives that look just like what everyone else is buying and searching for. We have an ingrained need to belong to our culture.
We humans are social creatures. We here in the Western world seek individuality, while also perhaps unconsciously, strive to fit in.
Can positivity, or a positive mindset create individuals? Is it possible to be more ‘ourselves’ when we are also living in a positive mindset? The short answer is most likely, yes. When we are comfortable with who we are; in flow with what we’re doing; and busy being in our own lives, we are essentially practicing what it is to be a whole human.
When we are distracted with social comparison, we tend to lean toward what’s safe and what’s safe is needing to be like everyone else. This in turn can create even more of a social comparison that ends up causing us conflict within ourselves.
We lose our individuality. We can become afraid of not fitting in. This fear causes turmoil. The turmoil can turn toward war.
To become fully ourselves, we must brave the unchartered waters of
- Finding clarity for our own sense of self
- Finding our calling for our own sense of that which is beyond ourselves
Carl Jung said, “There is a fundamental difference or approach between the psychologist’s examination of a literary work, and that of the literary critic. What is of decisive importance and value for the latter may be quite irrelevant for the former.”
What is important to our culture may be of little interest to our individual values. The same is also true in reverse. As an art enthusiast (I wouldn’t be so bold to call myself an ‘artist), I feel the need to create. It’s a calling I have yet to fully understand, and yet, I continue to want to pursue it as part of my professional identity. It’s not fully understood by others in my culture because it doesn’t look exactly like the other sorts of arts or artists that reside here.
It is also true that I have little interest in what the critics of the art itself have to say. I don’t care if they praise the work or mock it. My satisfaction was in the making of the art. How that process made me feel. How, in flow I was, therefore, satisfied with each piece. I have no qualms about painting over a thing that I truly loved, in order to not become attached to any one thing.
It’s a psychological exercise in letting go, rather than the making of a thing for ego to be praised or judged.
Individuality is an expression of the boldness of feeling free. We need and want to belong to a group, but also believe that by breaking free of the ego’s need to belong, we also free ourselves to feel more whole. To me, that is more important than to be happy. Happy is the icing, but mental freedom to be is the cake itself.
Peace and Individuality!
About the Author: Karen Henry Daly , MA CRM owns Henry Healing as a holistic well-being practitioner and writer. She’s a former university professor and current scholar practicing the infusion of positive, existential and community psychology.
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