We all strive from childhood to be our unique selves. This is good, especially in those developmental years.
However as we grow older, we can easily use our individuality to dominate another person with the objective of weighing who is better.
Often it is not intentional, but if the other individual responds defensively, the outcome tends to feel unpleasant, unless there is an apology to enable trust to return. Depending on the level of maturity achieved, this interaction can create self-doubt and insecurity in those who do not have a strong confidence in who they are.
In relationships that have lasted over time, both people have contributed more to the other’s welfare than used the other for personal gain. Individuality needs others to contribute to its welfare, or a person can’t seem to acknowledge his or her mistakes or talents. These are the “pros” that create such things as ambition, drive, confidence and perseverance. It may be thought that these traits just reside in people, but when questioned, “how is it that you are so focused and dedicated,” more often than not the answer is: “My parents encouraged me,” or a teacher, spouse or other loved one.
The “cons” of individuality tend to be the competitive aspect of the personality.
So along with support and encouragement in relationships, there needs to be lessons in humility, such as, “I am smart, but I’m not the only one,” or, “Your idea is actually better than mine.”
This is particularly critical in marriages in which there must be mutual positive regard for what the other individual brings into the relationship.
So much stress and strife is created over time if and when the two individuals express a one-up or talk down to the other; neither one often knows how to resolve this pattern before retaliation or withdrawal. At this point, individuality is used as a weapon, so to speak, and actually causes emotional harm leading to domestic violence in some protracted conflicts. In some situations, the disagreements can be about something very small, with no one willing to understand or accept the other’s point of view as also valid.
In this current time, it seems that consideration of others is uncommon. Family systems also seem to reflect this in patterns when children develop with interest in the newest type of tech device, or the belief that more is necessary in order to have status and feel accepted in relationships.
Alongside this, it seems, are fears brought about by acts of random violence toward individuals who don’t think, worship or look the same physically. For individuality to thrive, people must believe that each person’s differences are special and unique and create space for it to live and breathe.