Being Different… Are you comfortable with who you are?
“We are all unique and different from each other. It is in our differences that beauty lives.” Unknown
Do you often judge yourself on certain aspects or features about yourself? Do you question why you easily break into tears when your emotions are heightened by sadness, anger or conflict? Do you often indulge in negative self-talk, or body shame yourself? Do you do this to others or have you had it directed toward you? I am certain we have all been guilty of one or a few of these, and most definitely at some point in our lives, been on the receiving end of it. It really is okay to be different. In fact, it’s fantastic! We are different in so many ways, but I would like to focus on the way we look (appearance), think and feel.
Often too much value is placed on good looks and image. But what really is “good looking”? For me personally, I measure attractiveness by passion, humility, and personality. But the reality is that too often, attractiveness is measured by physical appearance. Body type, shape, and facial features seem to define us. For some, what we own and how we dress also seem to define us. Throughout my entire school career, I was teased about wearing really thick spectacles for my really poor eyesight. The spectacles were all my mom could afford at the time. Without my spectacles, I couldn’t see anything. Children were cruel, but so were some adults. I also have what is called a Roman Nose, which is described as a nose with a prominent bridge that is curved or slightly bent. This – too often – was the cause of great mockery.
I have found that often there is a lack of understanding and appreciation for how differently we think. I have come across people who think that everyone else should get their logic or reasoning. That’s not always possible, because we think differently. Our cognitive and mental abilities differ – we learn differently or at different speeds. And yet, people are teased about this. Our values and beliefs differ too. Coupled with our own set of views and opinions, we differ often. We are influenced by our environments, lifestyles, societies, and culture. Our thinking and understanding of things include our exposure as little beings being raised by our parents or guardians, and we are shaped by what we learn and experience in life. Again, there seems to be little or no tolerance for this. Our brain’s uniqueness is based on our experiences. It is this that shapes our personality and temperament, and it continues to evolve as we gain more life experience.
We are also emotional beings – we all have emotions, we just experience our emotions differently. Some of us will judge something about ourselves harshly, and it will make us sad. And this could lead to depression. When angry, we may act out by screaming and shouting in a fit of rage. Feeling what we feel is okay, but the behaviour or reactions it stirs within us can be problematic. When we judge ourselves or we are judged by others, our emotions have an effect on us. At times, we can also be judged for how emotional we might be.
So why do we or others judge? To name just a few reasons, it’s because of our or their ego defence – we feel we need to inflict pain on ourselves before we can be rejected. People do it to others to divert attention from what they perceive to be their own physical or social abnormalities. Many people do it to others because they are simply rude and vicious. It can also sometimes be done due to jealousy. What we need to do when judging ourselves or being judged is to remember that to judge is to have an opinion, and that when it’s to discredit the value of one self’s appearance or that of another, it is not beneficial. We need to change our thinking and sort our constructive from our destructive views and opinions. And when you’re on the receiving end, consider the source, who they are to you, and what they truly mean to you and your life. If you are guilty of harshly judging others in this way, have more empathy – always put yourself in the other person’s shoes and think about how you would feel if your harsh judgment was being directed at you because of your appearance or your ability to think or understand.
It is important that we embrace our differences. It is critical that we value our uniqueness. My nose on my face gives me character. Just live your best life. Be authentic and accept your true physical self, and focus on improving your inner self. If there is anything you would like to change about your physical appearance, do so only because you want to, not because something is wrong with you if you don’t, or because others have suggested it or teased you. So from me to you, be happy with yourself first, then appreciate and celebrate the differences of others, so everyone can feel that they are accepted and loved as they are.
Until next time…
Yours in Adapting & Being