you don't have to be unique, just authentic

by - 12/11/2016 07:00:00 am

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Well, you don't have to be anything, but it's an observation I've made and my new mission statement. We all want our blogs to stand out. I find that, when we try to be unique, we often try in the same ways. Whereas, if we try to be authentic, it makes us far more memorable.

For nineteen consecutive blogs, I thought the opposite was true. You can't do anything but cringe at my descriptions back then. My skin wasn't olive but light caramelised toffee. And, as it happened, I ate dreams and lived food and breathed music, and all that jazz. AND, of course, my middle name was Aquamarine.

But I see this all the time, because our idea of uniqueness is collective. When we draw our ideas from the same pool, we all end up with the same familiar flowery descriptions, colours from HTML named colours list, and skin tones out of a local café menu.
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What made me think of this recently was Humans of New York. It's a unique blog and an authentic one. To take it a step further, it's authenticity is the reason why it's so successful. And likewise, Bill Clinton and his infamous narrow eye-contact made him appear more authentic in 1992, and it helped him get the popular vote.

Trying to be unique for the sake of uniqueness is a backward strategy;  it's authenticity that I believe is the key, to become an interesting figure to other people. Authenticity is always in vogue.

To be frank, true uniqueness lies in a small minority at any given point in time for any given specialty. Do you believe otherwise—that everyone is special? Maybe 'special' become a mere substitute for 'authentic', a trait that is a dime a dozen, but one that's essential to our identity and memorability.

Whatever practical needs we want for our blog—being noticed, being read, being appreciated—the faster lane seems to be the authentic route.

I hope my honesty has earned Bearable more readership than any claims to my uniqueness (which I occassionally make out of habit). I know that's what I look for in other blogs: a genuine passion for what is being written.

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14 comments

  1. wow i love this so much. I really never gave it a lot of thought, but yeah, this is so true. I think that everyone is unique in a sense, but if we just rush along and try to "find" it, we lose something. But you're right -- true authenticity and being genuine will never disappoint.

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    1. Thanks, Autumn. :) That pretty much summarises my thoughts on the matter, too. We get further away from our authentic selves when we search for any existing ideas we have about uniqueness, and try to apply it to ourselves.

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  2. Interesting take on this! This was a wonderful read!

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  3. Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes. I feel like I spend too much time worrying if my writing/blog is unique when really I should be worrying about staying genuine. Besides I can't think of anything that's truly unique (in the sense of never havinng been done/said/discovered before). It's not what you say, it's how youy say it.

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    1. Genuine blogs are the best blogs, don't you think? I agree with you, it's hard to 'find' uniqueness because everything's already been discovered, but it's easier to be creative, in a way. That's very true. :)

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  4. We all try to be different and unique because we don't want to be similar to anyone else. But what we don't realize is that, in trying to be different, we forget to be genuine and authentic. We are all already different, we just need to stop being fake. Thank you for helping me realize this. Loved this post.

    Aliah | Indigo Ink

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    1. I definitely agree with that. It's good advice. Thank you for taking the time to read this little post. :)

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  5. I never really considered this, but you're right. Authenticity is worth much more than uniqueness. And every individual is different in some aspect from others. If someone truly wants to be different, then they shouldn't even try. They just have to be authentic. "Unique," I think, has come to mean something more than just "different," or should I say something less? I don't know. The word has morphed into something like a too-good-to-be-true fairy princess with extra sparkles. *cough* I don't much like it.

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    1. I'm with you on that - every individual already stands out in the sense that everyone has their own unique identity. 'Unique' is definitely all out of proportion now. Maybe it's not the word that's changed, just our relationship with it? I don't like it either. :')

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  6. I can relate to this. I used to have a blog where I tried so hard to do what I thought others wanted me to, and posted what they wanted to hear.

    Well, thank goodness that's over. Those blogs lasted about five months, tops, then I decided to start being a bit more like myself, no matter how scary that was. And now? I love my blog. I love my readers, and I love how it all turned out.

    So yeah, AUTHENTICITY makes you a lot more memorable, relatable and just in general a better blogger, because it's you being yourself, not some glossy-version of what you think you should be.

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    1. Ooh, yes, that's another good point I didn't consider! We ourselves don't appreciate our efforts to be unique. Great point. I'm glad you like your blog; my blog is heading in that direction, and I'm starting to love continuing to write on it, just like you. :)

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  7. This post is my favourite thing. Wow. Thanks for putting words to something I didn't know I was feeling...!

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    1. I'm glad you think so, thank you!

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