On Being Special…

I’ve got some bad news for you. You are not special. You are not unique.  You just aren’t.  None of us are.  Oh, we all want to be special or unique, the best in some way.  In fact, we are usually taught from a rather young age to believe that we are unique and special compared to others.  This is true to the point whereby we often develop our identify through that perceived or learned uniqueness.  And while the underlying desire behind that teaching my be well intended, it often creates many problems for us – both with others and within ourselves.  The bottom line is that if we ask the right questions and listen to people’s stories we will quickly find that we are not all that unique or different as we like to think.  The truth is we share experiences, emotions, worries, dreams, hopes, likes, dislikes, etc. with many other people.  When you really take the time to examine this, you will find we are all more alike than different.

Sure, you may be taller than me. Your hair might be blonde to my brunette. You might be skinnier than me too.  You may have gone to a “better” school than me.  You may come from a family who has more money than my family.  You may have a more prestigious job than me.  In all those ways society might say you are more unique, more special, than me.  But those are merely external things.  And there are many external features and factors we could consider if that were the purpose here…things that can make us look different and thus make us unique from one another in that way.  But that’s not what I am talking about here.  I’m talking about who we are as people.  Who we are on the inside.  Hopes, dreams, fears, emotions, integrity, honesty, our authentic nature, etc.  In those things lies many more commonalities than differences.  So again I say, you really are not special when compared to others in the ways we have been taught to compare.

You are special, however, in the fact that you are a child of the universe – for those who are a little more spiritual in nature I would say you are a child of God (or whatever higher power you believe in). By special in that sense though I mean you have a purpose, a job to do, something you are meant to accomplish – you have something to offer this world. In this way again, we are not special or unique – we all have an important role to play.  The details of our individual roles may differ, but the fact remains, we all have a role to play in the world.  We may not always choose to play that role, but it is ours nonetheless.

There is comfort to be found in the common bonds we share and celebrations to be had for the gifts we have been given so that we can offer up to the world that which we were meant to share. My hope for all of us is that we spend less time trying to prove how unique and special we are and more time sharing our gifts with the world. So much good can come from each of us playing our part in the symphony of life, rather than in the competition so commonly seen in today’s world.  So go ahead, celebrate your true uniqueness by sharing your gifts with the world.

“We cannot accomplish all that we need to do without working together.” – Bill Richardson