The Solution: Individualization
Individualization is to be differentiated from individualism. Whereas individualism is concerned with isolation of the one in competition with others in the group, individualization is concerned with ensuring that the value of the one is understood, respected, and supported by the others in the group.
Yet, individualization is not the opposite of individualism. In fact, the two share the concern for the abilities and characteristics of the individual. It is not a standardization or white washing. Individualization highlights individual identity, unique purpose, and a trajectory of growth in each person. These abilities and characteristics are then invited to support collective activity.
Yours = Identity
Often, the challenge of identity is that you believe that others share your ability. Therefore, any special skill that you demonstrate is common in your mind. Consider there any ability or characteristic that you demonstrate competence in also carries your unique signature. Because you are who you are with the background you bring, each ability as it is expressed will have your uniqueness. As a result, you don’t have to make it yours. Your skills are yours by nature of your uniqueness.
This emphasizes the loss when conformity is mandated and successful. The group loses your unique context, perspective, and instinct. The group is less a team and more a set of cogs.
Intentionality = Purpose
Often, the challenge with purpose is the belief that somehow life and its occurrences are predestined. Of course, a great deal of literature and video exists explaining the contrary point. Life results from universal energy some term attraction, allowing, or flow just to name a few. They all are based on physics explained in the context of social psychology. However random life seems, you will it through your intentions. Put to use, intentionality may result in a level of control over your person. Built as a skill, intentionality may influence others.
Conformity steals the value of intention removing the responsibility of choice from the individual. Actions are excused as following orders or being polite. The ownership of choices and behavior is replaced with plausible deniability.
Reflectiveness = Growth
Often, the challenge in growth is a resistance to reflectiveness born in an avoidance of shame. Shame is not the enemy you may hold it as. Like mold, shame is less productive when brought into the light. Process the lessons from even the painful and embarrassing parts. You may have failed or made mistakes, but you are not those mistakes. You are capable of growth. You are worthy of your next sustainable choice.
Conformity strips each of us of theses opportunities for reflection and thereby diminishes our growth. Often, it is under the guise of protecting us, shielding pain, or focusing forward. The logic is a partial solution. Protection is proper, shielding is useful, and focus valuable. Yet, these are part of a full solution that includes reflection upon the past and integration of pertinent lessons for the choices that lie ahead.
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:
- List 10 of your unique qualities. Unique in the sense that they are yours, intentional, and reflective. Others may have them, but you are mindful of your experience of these qualities. Work until you have 10.
- List 3 ways that you can utilize these qualities in your daily life.