Dare To Be You: Special Vs Unique
It’s going to be a tough read, tougher than getting my lazy ass to write again this week. Loosen your seat belts (all the wonderful brilliant ideas you have about this topic), this ride is a bit different. I have good news and bad news. The good news is that you’re not unfortunate or cursed. That’s not news to you, right? If it isn’t, good for you, because there are people who feel they are. Now the bad news, sorry, but YOU’RE NOT SPECIAL.
Don’t punch me yet, I can explain. You’re unique, and there’s a big difference between the two. You can have a special friend (the person is special to you, among all your friends), a special cup, a special shirt, even a special doctor, etc. Those are workable. But it’s faulty to think you’re special in life, and that’s the reason i joined these 900 words together. You’re not a special person or human. Special means better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual, being in some way superior. But unique means being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else, being the only existing one of its type. Let’s drive this home, an item is special when it differs from comparable items. A unique item is the only one of its kind. Like the diagram below, a green apple amid red apples, a special doctor among other doctors, etc. But the second part of the image below has one of each kind of vegetable and fruit; that’s unique.
THE REASON PEOPLE THINK THEY ARE SPECIAL
Now you’re probably wondering why we’ve all been thinking we’re special. First, because we’ve all been saying it. It has become a kind of cliché. Unfortunately, it has gone from being mere words to a mentality.
Second, some people mean to say unique, but confuse it for special. This is a problem because this category of people hold that everyone is special. As we’ve seen, special is what’s above the regular (a green apple among red apples). Now, if everyone elevates to the level of being above the regular (we all become green apples), then we’re back to being the same. All green, the same, and there’s nothing farther from the truth.
Also, based on a concise look into why people think they are special, I discovered that most people embrace this pattern of thinking they are special to improve their self-esteem. Does it really do that?
THE REASON WHY YOU SHOULDN’T THINK YOU’RE SPECIAL
Because it’s a lie. A gorgeous trap. Thinking you’re special unfailingly leads to demanding a special treatment. Intentionally or not. And life doesn’t…, well, I guess you know how shitty life can get. So, falling into the trap of thinking you’re special will get you disappointed if you don’t get the ‘special treatment’. And in extreme cases, you take back into the illusion of thinking you’re unfortunate.
This mentality of using positive affirmations to boost self-esteem became the rage of psychology towards the 1980s. In a concise survey, one of my respondents said, “you need to tell yourself that you’re a king…,” another said, “if you don’t think you’re special, nobody will even value you… .” Well, not much has changed, people still hold on to the positive affirmation sorcery of the 80s. When you call a cat, a dog, does it change it from being cat? Saying things to make yourself feel good is not the best approach to boosting self-esteem.
You’re not special, you’re you! Dare to be you!! Maybe you should read the last two sentences in Denzel Washington’s voice and realize how the message sinks in better. Special applies for entities that are similar or in the same category, you’re not. Everyone’s purpose and path in life is different, I’m the only Chika of my kind, so are you. The purpose of a thing defines it. Since our purposes differ, it means that even though we’re all humans, we’re different. Just like banana, grape and almond are all fruits, but each is uniquely different. The special mentality makes life seem as a competition when it isn’t.
How about finding out who you really are? That’s a better approach to boosting self-esteem. Every human has outstanding qualities and inferior qualities. Most self-esteem boosting techniques focus on the good or positive qualities. But true self-esteem lies in making peace with your weaknesses and accepting them while trying to improve on them if you can. Calling myself a lazy ass doesn’t change the fact that I would solve a math equation in five seconds or less, neither can it stop you from getting a copy of my book soon! Getting to know yourself better will stop you from being tepid at the sight of your flaws or arrogant with your strengths.
In one of Nathaniel Drew’s lesson on skillshare, he said that no person in the history of humanity has the same combination of personal life experiences as another person. That’s so true. We are all unique. No one can be you in the way you can. You have something no one else has, that sounds like a treasure right? Yes.
Being you takes a lot of work, the kind it takes to find treasures. We were all born as legends in the making, there’s a seed of greatness in every one of us. But just like every other seed, you need to nurture it for it to blossom into a tree. That’s one of the core reasons we wake everyday; to mold that great man or woman in you. Life is a continuous process of self-improvement and actualization. You’re already different from everyone else, made to make people smile differently. So, you need not be better than anyone but yourself; trying to improve on your flaws and painting the world with your dazzling colours.
You’re not special, you’re you, you’re great.