The Uniqueness of You.

How do you answer this question? ‘Who are you?’  Do you answer it with a smile and confidently enthuse about your qualities and talents? Or do you hesitate to list your positive traits and feel more comfortable pointing out your shortcomings? How about ‘What do you like?’ Do you respond assertively with a list of your interests and passions? Or do you give a vague idea of generic activities?

The way you reply may well depend on your level of self-confidence and of being able to appreciate your uniqueness.

Everyone is unique. Your individuality goes beyond DNA, gender, heritage or upbringing. It’s the complete package from when you are conceived to the present day that makes you distinct from any other human being. And that’s amazing. Or it should be.

Whilst some people can acknowledge differences in themselves and others with ease, many are consumed with comparing themselves to others. Of course there’s nothing wrong with wanting to feel accepted or to wanting to be a valued as part of a larger group. In balance, that’s a healthy way to live. But comparison and pressure to conform can lead to unrealistic expectations of how you should be living your life and a rejection of your authentic self.

From childhood and then later on as an adolescent, my insecurities about being different led to a long battle with depression and alcoholism. Without a significant female presence in my life, it was the man I knew as my father who had been influential in shaping my self-worth. A psychiatrist once described him as having ‘an authoritarian personality with a Machiavellian personality, and a pure misogynist with sadistic tendencies.’ I represented everything he despised so not surprisingly I ended up hating myself to the point of suicidal self destruct.

As an adult there were no boundaries to how much I disliked myself. I could look at myself in a mirror but I was unable to make sense of the image. I looked like ‘nothing’. Similarly, I felt ‘nothing’.  Of course I drank and medicated myself numb, but even when I wasn’t intoxicated I could switch myself off like a light. For those around me, it looked like I was there. But I wasn’t.

One of my biggest challenges to healing was to learn to value myself. It was excruciatingly difficult to even begin to make sense of the person I was, let alone appreciate that being. Gradually though I started to respect my thoughts, my actions, my beliefs. With support and renewed faith I was able to confront my misconceptions of the person that I judged myself to be. The characteristics that had defined me, no longer had meaning or power over me.

The emergence of my unique self continues each day. All I seek is to be the person I was meant to be. For me that’s enough.

Is your uniqueness enough for you? 
Top image thanks to Georgia Visacri

69 thoughts on “The Uniqueness of You.

  1. Pingback: Unique and Talented? Yes, You Are! « Power of Positive Thoughts

  2. Isn’t it something that we have to spend a good part of our lives “un-doing” what was done to us by those we turned to for guidance as we were figuring out how the universe worked. And that’s with regular, run-of-the-mill parents who were “doing the best they could.” With a Machiavellian father, your road back was infinite longer and more tortuous. I’m so glad you traveled it, Carolyn!

    • You’re spot on Sharon that many of us spend much time ‘un-doing ‘ the damage of those were guiding us through childhood. The problem of extreme parenting like my dad’s is that it does indeed take longer to turn it around. But it is possible and the blessing for me is that I can make sure that things are different for my own children.

  3. Great post Carolyn! Loved the question of whether I am enough for me. Wow, never really thought about it, and not really sure how to answer it. Need to do some thinking… Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thank you – this entry struck such a chord in me. Our situations are not exactly the same, but I know that struggle to cherish my own uniqueness, and to forget that I was once mocked or scolded for it. It’s good to know we’re not alone in learning to love ourselves.

    • Thankyou for sharing so personally Barbara. You’re not alone in learning to love yourself, but you can become so much stronger when you realise that you are good enough. You are! 🙂

  5. I love this! Each one of us IS so unique, that when we start cookie-cutting everyone’s personalities and experiences into specific types, we compromise the blessings we could receive from each person’s uniqueness of personality, upbringing, etc. You point out so wonderfully that we are supposed to celebrate us, as we are, and accept those around us for who they are. Great article!

  6. Carolyn, once again your story touches my heart. You have the gift to express yourself in a heart-felt manner, with honesty, sincertity, pain and honor. Honoring yourself for the beautiful, loving person that you have evolved to be. We are all innocent children of God when we incarnate, here on a mission to learn our life’s lesson. The lessons aren’t easy, I know that all too well. What I do know though, and I invite you to recognize this within yourself, is that the experiences you’ve lived, the pain, the sorrows, the fears, the addictions and most of us have it, be it to food, alcohol, drugs, money, sex or something else, these are attachments to things that one hopes will mask our inner pain until that fails to work anymore; until one is ready to move through the pain, or as I call them … the fires of hell, and they are hot! Yet moving through them, processing the pain, releasing things that no longer serve one, learning to connect with your Inner Being, the core of you that is pure, light and love … when you live from this place of wholeness, you know that You Are Enough. You know that the exeriences you’ve come through have made you the very special person that you are today. You Are Enough. Blessings and Light Carolyn, you have much to share with the world.

    • Gosh Mary, your phrase ‘fires of hell, and they are hot!’ made me sit up straight! Because you are so right in describing having to go through the pain in this way. Living an addictive lifestyle is hell. But having to deal with the pain behind the behaviour is actually worse and that’s why so many give up. I could not have gone through the fire without the help of several unique and amazing individuals who actually kept me in the heat knowing that it was part of the process.
      Thank you for you other wonderful comments Mary, I really appreciate your support!

  7. Love this post Carolyn. “All I seek is to be the person I was meant to be. For me that’s enough.” This should be enough, when we find that person that we are meant to be… there are no thoughts of unworthiness left to deal with. Thank you! 🙂

  8. One of the things that has helped me when I don’t like myself all that much is to think of what God thinks of me. He thinks I’m awesome, and He made my uniqueness!

  9. Our hearts are the fountain of life, the source of our strength, and where our core identity is formed. If we can love ourselves, just the way we are, our hearts are made whole. And that’s where life really begins, I believe… in being comfortable with who we are!

    Carolyn, your story is very painful… I’m so glad you’re sharing your story. It helps all of us accept our broken selves and realize a broken life is able to be fixed!

    • Thank you Susan for your lovely comments. What a beautiful statement you make here: “If we can love ourselves, just the way we are, our hearts are made whole.” A perfect summing up!

    • Thank you for your touching comments Susan. Your beautiful statement here sums it up perfectly: “If we can love ourselves, just the way we are, our hearts are made whole.” 🙂

  10. I absolutely love this! One of the things that I teach my clients right from the start is that they are sooooooo worthy of having whatever it is that they desire and that they are more then Enough! Imagine if more parents help to instill these positive thoughts into their children on a consistent basis? Thanks 🙂

    • Thank you Susan! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all parents took the time to reinforce a sense of value in their children? The blessing for me is that I may not have had that experience in my own childhood but my own daughters both have a wonderful sense of identity and self-worth!

  11. You are so right. We need to learn to value ourselves. I think we also need to learn to open our eyes and hearts and look around to make sure we are also valuing others–and doing our part to make sure they know they are valued. How much of your pain might have been avoided had someone taken the time to make sure, as a young girl, you knew you were valued? Thank you for this reminder that I need to make sure those I interact with know how important they are to me and to the world.

    • Love your comments Marie! Valuing others is also important because that’s how people also feel their worth. We all need someone to tell us that we’re okay or that we do a good job or that they love us just for being us.
      And I do think I could have been saved a lot of heartache had there been someone to let me know that I was valued – but as long as my dad was in the way, there was no chance!

  12. It took me a long time to say it, but YES, my uniqueness is enough for me. I struggled with this for most of my life because I never quite measured up to everyone else’s expectations. Now I only worry about what I expect from myself, and I know that I am enough, no matter what. Great post Carolyn! (((big hugs for you)))

    • You’ve hit the nail on the head Helena by realising that it doesn’t matter what other people’s expectations are, it’s what you expect from yourself that matters. I’m glad you know that you are enough. You are more than enough!

  13. I remember when I finally said and believed that I was enough 🙂 It was a turning point for me and how I live my life now! Thanks Carolyn!

  14. Beautiful understanding for us to look deep within ourselves. It’s so funny as children we try our darnest to make sure we fit in, as teenagers we rebel and learn to become our own selves. In our twenties we find our career selves, and then for a lot of us dwelve into motherhood. We have a lot of journies in life of learning who we are, and balancing ourselves. It’s good to take a deep look within to showcase we are worth it, and we do have amazing qualities to offer others.

    • Your description of our the different types of journey we take through life are spot on Jamie. Whatever your upbringing, I think it takes a level of maturity to be able to accept who we are and as you say, showcase we are worth it! That’s a lovely way of putting it!

  15. Carolyn —
    Thanks for sharing your story. So many of us who feel inadequate turn to alcohol, drugs, or food to numb out, and, it is in recovery that we discover and embrace our unique self. My lack of self-worth was similar to yours, although our drugs of choice were different. I celebrate you and your recovery and your joy of being uniquely you.

    • Thank you Meryl for sharing your story too! Doesn’t matter that we both chose different ways to deal with pain, the result was just as destructive. I’m so glad you have been able to reclaim your life too. 🙂

  16. Wow! Another very powerful post, Carolyn. I still struggle with this sometimes. 40+ years of living with family members’ alcohol abuse and alcoholism – trying to make myself fit with whatever was necessary to keep the peace, coupled with being “fired” from the traditional roles of wife (through divorce), mom to kids at home (they are on their own – as it should be), and faced with that fact that my life is more than half over, took some work to overcome. Fortunately, therapy, research, wonderful daughters, terrific family and friends, faith and long, long hikes and lap swimming have made it possible for me to finally be able to answer, “I am _______, I like ________, I need ______ ….”

    • I love the insight and honesty you share in your replies Lisa! I relate so much to what you say and it does hit home that the time flies by. When we look at where we are and what we’ve been through it can seem like a tough call but then having been through the struggles we can enjoy the rest of our lives so much more fully. How great it is that you are able to answer those questions. And again, when I look at them it took me years to get to the stage of being able to say what I am, like, need. Sometimes it’s still hard but I’m getting there and so are you 🙂

  17. I love your Post Carolyn and can relate. I have to remind myself all the time that I am enough and I do not have to be prefect like my mother.

  18. Thanks for a wonderful post Carolyn – I can really relate with the feelings of not being good enough and using things like drinking to find “me”. Good for you for finding your way through and sharing your powerful message – I really appreciate it :).

    • Thank you Moira! So glad that you can relate to the post. It’s amazing how we can use things to find ourselves but we don’t need anything extra at all. We are all we need and that is enough!

    • Thank you Martha for such kind comments. Writing down my feelings has always been the best way for me to communicate what really is in my heart. It’s humbling to be able to share with so others who’ve had huge battles to overcome in their lives too!

  19. It amazes me, sometimes, the type of pain a parent will inflict on a child. I just finished reading the Dave Pelzer (“A Boy Called It”) trilogy, and I think about my own upbringing and so many other people who were raised by people who had no clue how to nurture, and it makes me sad. I can only imagine how hard you had to work to rise above the messages you received as a child.

    • It is very sad Nisha that there are parents who intentionally or not destroy their child’s self worth. It’s hard work to overcome all the negativity and for me it still is a work in progress but well worth the effort. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.

  20. I pretty much wasted the first half to two-thirds of my life saying “I’m just a….(insert job title)”.
    Now I get to walk this earth as a living energy and source of positivity. I get to speak, write and think positive evergy. I am light…and I am LOVING the difference! : )

  21. Yes, I know I am uique. I am a Christian and I know that I am formed and created by God in my mother’s womb with everything on me that is unique and that is what makes me valubale as well….I beleive that our own conscious tkaes us away from that value; we think on our own shortcomings and feel guilty somehow…but the truth is that God thinks we are valuable and we are unique!

  22. Thank you for sharing your story, Carolyn. I had issues as well when I was young. Thank God I am now able to accept and love myself just the way I am. I am glad that you also able to appreciate the person you were meant to be! It is more than enough!

  23. This strikes a chord with me as I always compare myself to other people. I want to be fit like her, or rich like him, or sing like them, etc. I need to embrace my own fabulous-ness and roll with it. I am happy to hear you are on your way to self-acceptance too!

  24. The post “I am enough” was my first one when i opened my facebook ..i looked through hundreds of sites just being excited about the world wide web,,,and this spoke to me the most …now reading this I love it more… it gave me a feeling of hope as i did in my head when i first read its in words ..thank-you!!!!

    • Hello Kate – This is actually the first email I checked out this morning because I really do appreciate the time taken to comment. And your comment has made my day already! Thank you 🙂 There is always hope!

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