Why fit in when you were born to stand out? ~Dr. Seuss
I was sitting at the local coffee shop wondering why my little friends, the street kids, were not around for the second consecutive day when I overheard a woman talking on her mobile phone say, “I hope I don’t disappoint you when we meet. I’m just an ordinary girl.“
The sadness of those words sent a shudder through my body that caused me to drop my arm and almost dump a spoonful of ice cream drenched brownie into my lap. Few things upset me more than a person not understanding how special they truly are.
An ordinary girl? There are no ordinary girls. There are no ordinary boys. In fact, there are no ordinary people.
I don’t believe there exists in this world any person that was born ordinary. By virtue of our genes none of us are the same. We are each different. None better. None worse. Just different. If we are all different then none of us is ordinary. Not one of the seven plus billion inhabitants of earth is ordinary. None that came before were ordinary. None coming in the future will be ordinary. None. Everyone, without exception, has something extra that makes them extra-ordinary, extraordinary.
When I heard this woman’s statement of being just an ordinary girl, I wondered how this misconception arose and rooted in her mind.
Didn’t this woman’s mother or father let her know that there are no ordinary people in life? Didn’t they fill her in on the secret that we are all born with a bit of something extra that makes us extra-ordinary? Didn’t they teach her that she is a miracle, a uniquely exquisite being in the universe? Didn’t they explain that there has never been nor will ever be anyone exactly like her? Did they not impress upon her that she is a one off, a non repeating fingerprint, an uncopyable snowflake?
I think any person calling themselves ordinary is not happy with themselves. I think, inside, looms a fear they don’t measure up. Measure up to what? Measure up to standards set by others. Standards of success, of happiness, of beauty. The surest way into unhappiness is to compare ourselves to others. We will never be anyone else so we should not compare ourselves to them. If we must compare ourselves then we must only compare our current selves with our potential selves.
Have we reached our personal potential? Are we utilizing the extra that God wove into our beings at conception to achieve our maximum potential? If so, then rejoice. If not,then we must grow along the path that makes maximum use of our individual extra because that is the path to true happiness. In fact, walking that path is happiness. Happiness is the path not the destination.
I wonder if the woman claiming to be ordinary made that claim because, deep down, she is aware that she is extraordinary but was fearful the person she was to meet might not be able to appreciate her extra so took a preemptive strike to set a stage of ordinary. By claiming to be ordinary, perhaps the other person would not look for the extra, and she would be safe. Safe from being rejected for being herself. Safe, too, from the prospect of being loved for who she is.
Tragically, many people choose to hide their extra behind a mask of ordinary.
Masks come in the form of following trends to fit in. Not expressing personal opinions outside the norm so we fit it. Having the same hairstyle so we fit in. Driving the same car so we fit in. Fit in. Fit in. Fit in. Stop trying to fit in! Doing things to fit in are all little masks we wear that hide who we really are. If we wear them long enough, we may truly forget who we are. We become the mask.
I find it a shame that people born unique, born to stand out as one of a kind individuals feel a need to blend in with others, feel the need to hide their specialness behind a mask. That is extremely sad.
If these people with whom we are trying to fit in are true friends, friends worth having, they would gladly share in those quirks, those differences, those extras which set us apart from every other person in the world. If they don’t embrace our extra then one must ask are they truly a friend worth having?
If you truly loved yourself, you could never hurt another. ~Buddha
I find myself wondering, if we truly loved ourselves, wouldn’t we remove the masks of conformity and proudly express those qualities that render us unique creations? If we can appreciate that which makes us unique, we would also be free to appreciate the uniqueness in our fellow man. People appreciating other people no matter the differences. What a great place the world could be.
It is possible for each of us to make a difference by seeking the extra in others. All one need do is have the desire to truly see a person, to make the effort to understand the extra with which every human is born. All one need do is to take the time to look deeply into the person’s soul, beyond the masks of conformity, to truly see the butterfly within. All one need do is withhold judgement and accept the gift that is another uniquely human, human being.
I say all we must do but it’s not really that easy. To see the extraordinary we have to want to see another’s extra which means suppressing our own ego, an ego that keeps us focused inward instead of basking in the radiance coming from looking outward, an ego that seeks to justify the ‘rightness’ of ourselves by judging others who don’t conform to our views of life, to stop judging others by race, creed, gender, etc, etc, etc. Stop judging and be thankful for the gift that is each person’s extra, that is each person.
Embracing uniqueness could give people the courage to cast off the masks they have so carefully arranged and let their extra illuminate the world. I would love to see each person embrace the God given gifts that make them each special in their own, wonderful way.
I wish you would share your uniqueness with the world for it would bless me, bless people in ways you cannot imagine. You have gifts, gifts only you can share with us. Share them. Share in ours. Beautify all creation by blessing the world with your unique self.