For as long as I can remember, I’ve aspired to be original. Originality in people is something I’ve greatly admired, whether it’s the way they dress, taste in interiors, a restaurant idea or a cool way to make money. I could sniff out original folk a mile away. I’m drawn to them (I’m not big on herd followers and those who’ve done things the way they’ve always been done without asking any questions; I find there’s always something to glean from people who have a unique quality about them or do things in a unique way).
But the more growing I do, the more I realise I’ve had it backwards all this time. I’ve been chasing originality when really it’s a by-product of something else. Something else that all these people who inspire me naturally embody, or at least are working on embodying. They don’t go to work on creating an original idea; their intention isn’t to be unique for the sake of; and originality isn’t where they set their sights.
I know this word has been bandied about so much its meaning has become a little watery. So let’s concentrate the flavour, shall we?
We don’t have to work at being original, or being unique. That would be head-led living (I know because I’ve spent waaaay too much time here). We’re created unique. We are individuals and we forget that. When we acknowledge our uniqueness from within (rather than go after it), when we own who we are, when we make our life’s work bringing forth our most authentic expression (that would be heart-centred living, by the way), then originality just comes. It’s a symptom of true authentic living.
This is how it sits with me: when we’re striving for originality, what we’re actually striving for is something external. Ask yourself the question why. Why seek to be original? I don’t know what answer comes to you, but my ego wants it to look good, to stand out, to be the popular person I never was growing up.
But that’s not what I want deep down. We’re not our egos.
Deep down I just want to be me. Deep down we all yearn to nurture a relationship with ourselves and explore our vast potential.
It’s harder (and it’s scary) to make authenticity our goal post rather than the other way around, which is why the ego can often win – I’m sure we could both reel off a bunch of ‘original’ offerings that have felt a bit iffy. So while we can bypass authenticity and head straight to that shiny place that’ll get a few heads turning, it feels like a shallow victory to me. And I’m betting that if you’re here, you’re into a meaningful and fulfilling life as much as I am.
If everyone focused on unearthing and embracing their authentic selves, the world be awash with glorious technicolour originality.
Chase the real you and you get to be original by default.
It turns out I’m not really drawn to original folk like I thought; I’m drawn to people who know who they are and live from that exact place. There’s nothing sexier in life.
And beeeSIDES! Originality is over-rated. On the other hand, take a genuine, courageous soul whose intention is to bring their full selves to the world – light, shadow and all, who does their best to uncover the real person beneath those heavy layers we’ve all carried around, determined to offer something from their depths? THAT? That is original.