How To Live For Yourself: Embracing Your Uniqueness For A Unique Life11 min read

Share With Friends On:

As social beings, we often desire to connect with others, even when we don’t have much in common. We like it when people like us; even those little hearts, shares, and comments on a social media post give us an immense feeling of joy – a feeling of belonging. 

Sometimes we don’t even know why we want to connect or belong. It is so deeply ingrained in us that we feel compelled to speak and act just like the people around us.

We often value things because others value them. For example, we may support a particular musical artist, try out a new fashion, or go to parties even though we don’t really care much about the music, trends or lifestyle. 

But no matter how much you try to live by other’s expectations or fit in,  you’ll always feel out of place. And that is why you must learn to live for yourself – to align your actions and choices with your interests and goals.

What It Means To Live For Yourself: Embracing Your Uniqueness

When you live for yourself, you focus on what matters to you. Rather than trying to fit in, you embrace your uniqueness – you accept the things that make you different from others, be it your looks and abilities, or your values and goals. 

While trying to fit in robs you of your uniqueness, living for yourself helps you embrace it. The result? You are able to harness your full potential, hit targets that matter to you, and draw more joy and fulfilment from the struggles you will inevitably face. 

When you embrace your uniqueness and start living for yourself, your (true) values and (personal) goals become the foundation of your actions. This helps you develop rock-solid confidence, self-respect, and well-being. This not only makes you happy but also benefits those around you in the long run.

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

What Happens When You Ignore Your Uniqueness and Chase Others’ Expectations?

Growing up, I was that awkward loner kid struggling to read, write and do basic maths. My mom hired tutors, desperately trying to help me catch up. But no matter how hard I tried, improvement felt impossible. I felt I was not good enough.

In a world that prizes reading and writing skills as proof of intelligence, a 15-year-old who couldn’t do those things got labelled as just plain dumb and unwanted. I stuck out like a sore thumb, unstylish, and talentless to roll with the popular kids.

I knew being myself meant risking their rejection, so I suppressed my true self to fit in as their errand lapdog. They had me do their biology drawings and buy them snacks during breaks. My dignity and self-respect were sacrificed. 

Ignoring what makes you unique and trying too hard to be like others often leads to a place of unhappiness and internal conflicts. By betraying yourself and pretending to be someone you’re not, you could lose confidence in yourself. Furthermore, you may miss out on opportunities that fit your real interests and talents, not recognizing or valuing your unique qualities. 

“The reward for conformity was that everyone liked you except yourself.”

– Rita Mae Brown

Get our free eBook on how to live a happy and meaningful life when you input your email now.

Ten People, Ten Colours: Why You Must Accept Your Uniqueness 

The Japanese proverb “Juunin Toiro,” which roughly translates to “Ten people, Ten Colours,” reminds us of a profound wisdom – that we’re all beautifully unique, each with our own mix of strengths and weaknesses. It encourages us not to try to fit in, but to embrace what makes us special and different. 

For me, this meant coming to terms with my struggles, which had caused my Mom so much pain. Upon research, I discovered my struggle had a name, Dyslexia. Instead of rejecting it, I accepted it as part of my individuality and found ways to work with it, rather than being limited by it. 

The wisdom of “Juunin Toiro” taught me that “I AM THE AUTHOR” against my limitations. Sure, words and numbers might not be my talent, but that doesn’t cancel out my creative/analytical brilliance.

This  world needs all the colours to make it vibrant:

  • The number-crunching analyst and the daydreaming artist.
  • The introverted poet and life-of-the-party extrovert.
  • The team player vs. the single player.
  • The spiritual seeker vs. the rationalist.
  • The itinerant and the homebody.

…and every other radiating human variation.

What you call flaws or weaknesses is your soul’s unique way of expressing itself as divinely different. Once you make peace with the messy beauty of your perfectly imperfect self and unapologetically start living for yourself, the metamorphosis begins.

Once you accept yourself for the unique individual you are, you will shine and your vibe will start drawing in your tribe – the people who’ll naturally vibe with you without you having to pretend. There’s no such thing as “normal people” or “abnormal people” – It’s just different people; different tribes.

With your tribe, that constant feeling of being misunderstood or inadequate fades away. They’ll get you on a level deeper than words and numbers, appreciating the fresh viewpoint you bring to the world just by being your authentic self

And who cares if you don’t find them right away? You can be that tough little weed growing through the cracks in their dull concrete world. Being different isn’t less, it’s bravely creating something unique, especially when there is room for improvement.

How To Discover and Embrace Your Unique Self 

We don’t get to choose the cards we’re dealt in life: The place you were born, the family you were born into, and the privileges you enjoy were all out of your control.

While we can’t control the initial cards life dealt us, we can control how skillfully we play that hand moving forward. 

There are many real-life examples of people who have played and succeeded despite the odds. For example, Tunde Onakoya went from playing chess in Lagos slums to setting a world record. Chris Gardner, a homeless single father who slept in subway bathrooms, launched a finance career, and his memoir inspired the hit movie “The Pursuit of Happiness”. And even my own father embodied the self-made spirit. He lost his dad as a child, but moved to a foreign land and built something for himself.

These people didn’t give in to their circumstances, try to fit in just to get by, or attempt something grandiose like building rockets or deciphering alien languages. They simply pursued their passions and talents with everything they had – playing chess, working in finance, and honing their skills.

Using their difficult experiences as motivation, they rewrote the stories society had laid out for them.  

And it all begins with…

Questioning Everything

Question every assumption that is FORCED on YOU. 

Just because something’s “true” doesn’t mean it applies to everyone, everything, or every circumstance. Even laws and norms get outdated and require reviews.

Be fearless in questioning and stay curious like a beginner. Seek to expand your understanding 


Try different things: Try out designing, writing, photography, dancing, singing, etcetera

Try out even your weird interests, even if society labels them “impractical”. Going to the Moon and climbing Everest without supplemental oxygen, seemed impractical and even impossible until they were done.

The best way to discover who you really are and what you’re meant to do or what career to pursue is to try out lots of different activities and roles, especially in your teens and 20s.

This radical self-search process may seem littered with failed attempts at first. Mixtures may combust, and formulas may prove inaccurate. But stick with it – your distinct, authentic essence will gradually crystallise from the repeated refinement and experience. This is the essence of Dan Koe’s wisdom: “You’re the niche.” 

Persist in your alchemical work, for within the crucible of self-experimentation lies the philosopher’s stone – the realisation of your true, quintessential self. 

Adopt The Immigrant or TCK Mindset 

Embody that healthy resistance to staying stuck and rigid. 

Reality constantly shifts, so build the resilience and flexibility to adapt by immersing yourself in different cultures. The resonant wisdom rises as everything else gets filtered out.

Thinking like an immigrant or Third Culture Kid (TCK) means moving with new developments and trends;

For example,  instead of worrying that AI will replace jobs, use AI tools to make your work quicker and easier. Instead of resisting the rise of remote work, learn digital collaboration skills so you can work easily with people from different places and time zones. Instead of dismissing new gender pronouns as confusing or unnecessary, try to learn about them to understand how they help include everyone. 

Exploring new ideas helps you understand yourself better and become more empathetic. With these new ideas, your ability to communicate and work with people from different cultures will grow while staying true to who you are.

Follow the Crowd Strategically

There’s value in strategically following the crowd, and absorbing guidance from those ahead of you. But you must be sensitive to know when you’re ready to branch off with your own unique perspectives.  

Mastery emerges from this delicate balance: Learning from the path-pavers, and your own pioneering trail when you’ve fully absorbed their teachings.

Blindly following the crowd means staying trapped in someone else’s limitations versus unleashing your unique potential. But leaving too soon, before learning the important lessons, leads to confusion and unsharpened talent.

Adopt The MAYA Principle.

MAYA stands for “Most Advanced, Yet Acceptable”. It is a principle the world’s greatest innovators and inventors adopt. The smartest people balance being themselves and fitting in. They mix old wisdom with new ideas, creating something special but that is still understood by everyone.

If you go too far from what’s widely accepted, people might not accept you. But if you always play it safe, you can’t grow or be true to yourself. So, it’s wise to express your uniqueness in small ways over time, to gradually shift what society expects. 

Respect old traditions but look at them in new ways. Use the past as a springboard, not a cage. Act bravery and care. 

By doing this, you help make positive changes, moving forward while staying connected to your roots. 

Conclusion: Embrace Your Uniqueness and Live Your Own Life.

For someone who struggles with reading and writing, taking up writing as a career may not seem like a smart choice. However, being dyslexic doesn’t have to hold me back. Many successful writers like Agatha Christie, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and John Irving were dyslexic. They took it as a chance to think differently and bring new ideas to their writing.

Agatha Christie drew maps and pictures to plan her mystery stories. F. Scott Fitzgerald used his own experiences with money and feeling lost for story ideas. John Irving put sketches and drawings into his books and his wife helped fix up his writing. 

Ask yourself – who do you want to BECOME? What LEGACY do you want to leave on this world? Are your HABITS aligned with the goals you’ve set for yourself?

Life may have handed you the raw stone, but it’s up to you to shape it into something beautiful. 

Books Recommendations: Books on Discovering, Embracing And Developing Your Uniqueness 

Here are 5 best books on how to live for yourself and embrace your uniqueness.

  • Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Héctor García and Francesc Miralles.
  • The Four-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  • The Mastery by Robert Greene
  • Atomic Habit by James Clear 


If you found this content helpful, please let us know in the comments section. Feel free to ask questions and share this content with your friends.

Here are some other articles you might like:

David Ifeanyi is a mindful SEO content writer, photographer, and photo retoucher with over 3 years of experience. 

His works help people value themselves and their experiences more. Over the years he has inspired countless people to embrace their uniqueness and become better versions of themselves.

David has worked with several brands, including Tobi Digitals, ReelCliq, and Black Aperture. And has been a huge player in the growth of Pawns Digital Agency.

Get our free eBook on how to live a happy and meaningful life when you input your email now.

Leave a ReplyCancel reply