Be Different!

My boys and I are working on their people skills.  I watched this video today and I loved it but it got me thinking about a few things I would say to my kids about this topic.

Two Boys:

Be different.  Be okay with not fitting in. I am an introvert in an extroverted world.  I hate pretending things are funny when they aren’t that funny to me.  I hate pretending things aren’t as funny as I think they really are, too.  Sometimes I just get the giggles.  I’m super interested in all sorts of things that other people easily lose interest in.  I hate small talk but “Hi, I’m Emily, tell me about your philosophy on life” is not a socially acceptable thing to say to someone you’re meeting for the first time. I often feel unique in this world.  Sometimes that’s a good thing.  Sometimes that’s a bad thing.

But let me give you a little tip I have learned through the years.  You don’t have to be like everyone else to fit in.  You can be the odd man out and think differently than anyone in the room, but you’ll fit right in if you love others well.

It’s okay to say, “You have an interesting point, but I disagree with you and here’s why…” But listen well and be okay if you are wrong or if they don’t change their opinion.

Think about others, not just yourself.  So you are creating an awesome parkour course in Minecraft with 17 varying levels of difficulty.  Not everyone is as interested in the amazing things that you are. Ask good questions and find out what they are interested in, too. Asking good questions is great way to show someone you care about them.

When I was growing up, the most popular kids in school weren’t the coolest kids on the block.  They were the nicest kids on the block.  They could fit in with the cool kids and the smart kids, the goth and the band geeks because they were just plain friendly people. They didn’t dress like the goth kids.  They didn’t play instruments or even necessarily care about music but they were kind.  They smiled at everyone in the hall and made a point to make others feel welcomed and important, sometimes just by saying “hello.”

I want you to be different from everyone you know!  I want you to stand against the crowd for what you believe in.  I want you to be proud of your God-given gifts and interests.  I love you just the way you are. You are special and unique and that’s the way it should be.  But you know what? So is everyone else.  Love them all well.

Looking for Me.

gold-oval-mirror-l-e27044dcce9ba1a4Call me self absorbed, I’m pretty sure I’m just human, but I go through life looking for me.  I read books looking for myself in the author or the characters.  I unconsciously compare myself to everyone I see.  Every message or podcast I hear, I relate to my experiences and I evaluate myself based on the new information I am learning. That’s normal, right?

I don’t mean to be egotistical, I just only know me. I only hear my own thoughts. I can only compare life to my own experiences.

I think in searching for myself in the world around me, I’m still really just trying to understand who I am and how God made me. I find that I’m not the person I used to be or thought I was.

As often as I’m looking, I never completely find myself in others. I am a perfectionist, but I’m a lazy perfectionist.  I’m just now realizing this because I’ve always been so laid back-except when it comes to a few things that are very important to me.  For instance, I’m an adamant rule follower.  I don’t care what you do, but I’m doing things the right way (or feeling super guilty about it).  At the same time, I am a skeptic at heart. I question everything and unless I know the reasoning behind it, I won’t follow your rules at all.  I am absolutely a feminist fighting the curse, but I also really love to serve my family and husband and I don’t mind putting their needs ahead of mine. I’m super passionate, but also very insecure (probably because I’m not perfect and I expect myself to be).  So when my heart leads me in a certain direction, my fear of failure makes me stay right where I am.

So I read these “self help” books and look for myself in the pages, but when I can’t find myself, it makes me feel I’m beyond help.

Aren’t we all looking to relate to someone else in this world?

Being unique makes me feel like I’m not doing it right.

Being unique makes me feel like I’ll never fit in; like I’ll never be able to connect with others in a meaningful way.

It beats me down and makes me feel like a failure.

 

But God created me, uniquely me, on purpose, right?  So I would have a new perspective and a refreshing voice in the midst of sameness.

When I feel like there is nothing new under the sun and that makes me feel like my life is meaningless because everything has been said already, I’m reminded that my voice has not yet been heard.  All voices are meant to be heard.

Right?

Please tell me I’m not alone in thinking this.

Please tell me I’m not alone.

Unique, but not alone.