Being ourselves is easier said than done. It’s advice we’ve received from our family more than once when it comes to friends. Do we listen? Of course! Do we do it? Sort of—it’s difficult to be true to ourselves when constantly faced with peer pressure and cruel opinions about things that interest us. Despite the negativity thrown at us daily, there are things we can do gradually to thrive as individuals among our friends.
To be an individual we first must be comfortable in our own skin. Embracing our imperfections, differences and strengths leads to contentment in who God created us to be. When we accept how He created us, we’ll no longer seek validation from our peers—we won’t feel the need to hide or pretend. We’ll realize our imperfections are opportunities to grow or let light shine on someone who is gifted in a particular area. We’ll see that our difference are assets rather than shortcomings. For example, maybe we love to paint but our friends love cheer leading or maybe we’re the only blonde in a group of brunettes. Such differences aren’t anything to be ashamed of, but something to be celebrated and admired. We must be grateful for our strength and use it to further define our uniqueness—that’s how we gain confidence. When we carry ourselves confidently, our presence will be felt by our friends. And potentially our differences will be appreciated by those around us.
Being our own person apart from our friends also means staying true to our principles. What makes us an individual person, different from our friends, is our opinions and beliefs. It’s completely normal for our friends to want to show us new things. However, we have to recognize the difference between being led astray from our chosen path and being shown a new perspective. Just because they are our friend, doesn’t mean we have to give in. Constantly submitting to what others want has potential to negatively influence us and we risk losing our individuality.
To be an individual means looking at ourselves. We don’t have to wear clothes that match our friends to fit in. We don’t have to wear eccentric clothes to set ourselves apart either. Being an individual comes from within, not from outside influences. That doesn’t mean if we like what someone else is doing, we can’t participate. It means our actions shouldn’t be based on our friends’ desires, but our own aspirations.
Our uniqueness is something that God personally gave us. That’s why it’s important that we stand up for ourselves as well as the differences we admire in others. Though it can be easy to lose ourselves in the shuffle, it’s important to know that God has given us the strength to be strong individuals. We are molded the way He wants us to be, not how our friends want us. Let Him show you His design for your life, rather than following a friend.