By J. B. Cowling...
What makes you, you? Most of us generally feel as though we have a sense of who we are, yet struggle to be able to define the specifics, the elements that exclusively form our identity. Is it our personality, our physical appearance or our minds? Or is it something else all together, something beyond our current understanding? Let’s explore this.
Your uniqueness is your ‘centre’, your point of calibration that you can return to, fall back on and use to redirect and guide yourself moving forward.
All life forms are comprised of the same entity, energy. However, there must be a quality that allows all manipulations of energy to become different and unique, otherwise how do we tell each other a part? In order to understand this concept of uniqueness, whilst accepting that all life forms are, at their core, constituted by the same element, one must look inside oneself and consider their existence. Think for a moment - at this point in time, there is no one else positioned on the same piece of Earth in exactly the same spot as you, experiencing and thinking as you are (right down to the finest detail). Therefore, there must be something unique to each of us that allows one to define oneself as an individual rather than ‘just energy'. This point of definition may be conceptualised as ‘the essence of life’, the uniqueness.
In identifying the uniqueness of something, we develop understanding around it, see how it fits into our world (how it interacts with the other elements, the role it plays and the contribution it has). We identify it’s meaning. Take an eraser for example, if we were to be seeing it for the first time and had no knowledge of what it was (the benefits, uses and purpose for example), it would likely be of no use to us, it wouldn’t hold merit in relationship to the other things in our world. But if we were to see that it could erase pencil markings (whether we found this through experimentation or through the experience of others before us), we would see purpose, reason for it’s existence and it’s individual importance. We would see how it contributes and responds to the world, we would acknowledge its place. The same goes for us and understanding our uniqueness.
This uniqueness is not necessarily a physical property, such as an atom, yet a spiritual presence that defines one being as different from another. Whilst it can be acknowledged that there is therefore something that identifies the uniqueness and individualism between life forms, there is not necessarily a definitive answer as to what this is. We can however, identify the qualities that are manifested from this place. These are the things that highlight and express the uniqueness of something, generally in the most tangible way. They are our ‘Qualities of Uniqueness’ and are the things that represent who we are at any given time.
So why is this important? Because your uniqueness is your ‘centre’, your point of calibration that you can return to, fall back on and use to redirect and guide yourself moving forward. It becomes an overall awareness that allows you to ensure that you are being your authentic self.
Embracing ‘the essence of life' within yourself is pretty simple - become aware of how it is expressed (by developing a genuine ‘Sense of Self’), get out of your own way and allow you uniqueness to show through in the things you do.
* Caveat - unique doesn’t mean special, or more particularly more worthy than another.
Sense of Self
Your ‘Sense of Self’ is simply your understanding of who you believe you are. It is the picture that you build, your perceived identity. This image is developed over time, often subconsciously, through things such as your experiences, the opinions of others, your accomplishments and failures. These internal interpretations become 'beliefs of self’, identifiers all working together to complete the big picture, your identity.
We often believe that our identity is fixed, as though once we have the picture of who we are, it will remain the same. Your ‘Qualities of Uniqueness’ are constantly changing, you are constantly changing, yet you still always, in any moment, remain you.
Take for example a person who has had a life changing event, such as something that has caused brain damage. Everything that has identified this person in the past may have changed, the way in which they conduct themselves, their interests, strengths and issues. Whilst all these factors may have been drastically altered, the person is still the person, the representations of them have just changed.
Through genuine ‘Self-Awareness’, you are able to develop a more authentic and fluid ‘Sense of Self’. This self-awareness is about listening to what your uniqueness is manifesting, about being aware of your ‘Qualities of Uniqueness’ as they change. In remaining aware of these changes at any given time, you are able to adopt congruency between yourself and your actions.
Qualities of Uniqueness
These are the things that highlight and express your uniqueness, such as (but not limited to) your strengths, struggles, interests, values and needs. In embracing the true nature of these manifestations rather than amending them or hiding them, you are able to ensure you are being your authentic self.