How To Honor Your Unique Self As A ‘Nonconformist’ While Still Fitting In

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There are eight characteristics that make a person attractive, according to a Psych2Go article, and being unique is third on the list.

There's a balance between being unique and fitting in that must be maintained to uphold this healthy identity and be seen as attractive.

There are many influences in your environment that guide you in discovering who you really are — friends, family, teachers, horoscopes, personality tests, and experts. However, they're not all accurate.

Many who help define your identity base this on generalizations, or it's derived from their experience and fears.

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Only you can define yourself as "unique" — and only you can nurture a connection with others. 

You're the only ones who can define your true uniqueness.

And you need to be clear on your identity in order to make yourself feel unique — to be an individual who's independent and special — and to feel like an important speck on this massive planet.

But, then there's this pull to be part of a group, a collective, or a community. You must have this connection with others to satisfy your need to feel important and to feed your desire for social connection.

After all, the perceptions of others are one of the barometers for measuring how unique you are.

Balancing uniqueness and conformity.

You want to be seen as unique, but in order to fit in with a group, you need to share common characteristics or interests with others.

To maintain this healthy balance, you must be confident in who you are. Then you won't be concerned with losing that uniqueness or conforming to the group.

"Conformity happens when people give in to real or imagined social pressure. They relied on the group to give them more accurate information about what they were seeing," said Professor Blake McKimmie from Queensland University.

This informational influence can cause you to question your own beliefs.

Within a group, you want to contribute. Yet, you also have that need to be accepted and valued.

You're told not to shine too brightly or show off so that you'll be seen as one of them. Then, you're encouraged to be unique and strive to be the best.

But when, where, and how much?

It seems the only gauge you have is when you're put in our place or left out.

Somehow, you've overstepped your bounds with your lively personality, and instead of acknowledging your value and worth, they tell you what you're worth.

Socially connective groups come in many forms.

It's not just about gangs or clubs. There's also this element in volunteer groups and at work.

Some focus so much on their agendas that they lose track of their true purpose. Why they formed this group in the first place takes a backseat to fulfilling personal needs and quests.

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What are you willing to give up to be accepted?

If you fear not being accepted, then you're more inclined to give up much of your ideas and personality to fit in.

This is a compromise many are willing to make in order to be a part of something bigger.

At times, you'll bend your rules or lower your standards far more than you want just to be accepted. Right and wrong become blurred, and you begin to lose your identity.

You become a nickname, a number, or some other generic title, like so-and-so's daughter or husband.

If your values are compromised and your standards are lowered too far, then you have to consider if you're committing time to the wrong group, employed at the wrong company, or hanging out with the wrong friends.

How do you maintain your uniqueness in a group?

To keep yourself from falling into this situation, you need to know who you are. Understanding your wants and desires and what that gives you helps to define your values.

When you remain true to your values, you begin to use that standard as a reliable testing ground for all of your decisions.

Saying "no" becomes easier and expressing your uniqueness feels more natural and authentic, no matter what environment you're in.

You're no longer that doormat. Instead, you've created this aura that tells others you know what you have to offer that's different from everyone else.

This exudes strength and stability, and that's massively attractive!

Learning how to stand in your uniqueness amid a crowd is an essential skill.

I would love for this to be something taught in elementary schools.

A course that has students explore what they want instead of what their parents, peers, or the system dictates. To have their own identity and not fall into the trap of giving up their values for the benefit of others.

We're all unique. We just have to define how and own it.

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Christine Hourd is the founder and CEO of The Success Model. She helps entrepreneurs and professionals like you to build your resiliency along with your success.

This article was originally published at The Success Model Blog. Reprinted with permission from the author.