"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is hard business. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."
In our society we often see this idea promoted at certain levels, suggesting that each one should 'be your own man' and yet it is denied the individual at other times in promotion of 'tolerance'. On the one hand, programing the youth to be accepting of all things, even the intolerable, and on the other hand, forcing all to conform in thought and manner to that which is deemed politically correct.
Being a Christian, I add the following quote:
"The most important idea I ever thought,was the day I realized, that I am personally and individually accountable to God for how I lived."
As Christians, we not only must, at times, abstain from that which society is promoting, not just of our own volition, but because we answer to a Higher One. This will in no way take from our individuality or weaken our convictions. It will make us more resolved to stand against those who would ridicule us when we refuse to be party to their ways. It is what will force us to maintain our principles when times are difficult.
The Bible warns us that the heart is wicked and deceitful above all things and so we can not rely only upon the arm of flesh but must have the knowledge and faith that a personal God will hold us accountable for each and every action we commit while walking on this earth. Only in this manner will the Christian be able to live a morally upright life, separated from sin, without being judgmental or lacking compassion upon others.
This is what will provide true strength of character. Character others will observe and be drawn to, seeing it as genuine. Kipling's "responsibility of owning yourself" paired with the knowledge of being "personally and individually accountable to God."