Being different hasn’t been valued as much as it is in today’s culture. In most of modern/western cultures being different is actually a good attribute of displaying your persona and catching people’s eyes. No matter how this different looks like, the more intriguing and extravagant, the more it catches your attention. The concern which may arise from this is that people might get caught up in this competition of displaying a certain aspect of themselves in an unhealthy way which also puts pressure on performing or doing things a certain way instead of simply being.
Society’s values have changed from what they used to be 50 years ago, and it’s a natural process to move forward, to make progress and adjust to the new things. The question is: do we stop to ask ourselves why we make certain choices? Have we been taught to do things a certain way or are we the ones that get to choose what we want to do?
We can’t change what society tells us about how we need to be to impress others. Even in schools the topic is mainly focused on how to be like everyone else instead of valuing our differences and putting them to work along with others to create this amazing puzzle of diversity. We are taught to act, behave, speak and dress a certain way if we want recognition and appreciation disregarding the specific traits that make us unique, those traits that actually reflect our personalities and passions.
I believe in a balanced approach to things. Extremes tend to overemphasise one aspect disregarding the relevance of the other. We are different, but also the same. We can be different and still have things in common. We are human beings wired for a purpose and we try to find our way into this world the best way that we can with the resources we have. What I’m trying to say is we need to value one another and accept our differences instead of denying them. We need to unlearn what we’ve been taught so many years ago, that being different is not good and we should all be the same. That doesn’t reflect reality at all and puts pressure on people to be and do things in a certain way just to be accepted and be a part of a group.
This life is so much more than that. It’s a journey of self-discovery, finding your way into the world and using your God-given talents to have an impact. No one says it’s easy. It takes time, struggle, sweat, tears, frustration… but at the other end of this aspect of life awaits the joy of transformation, of growing up and becoming someone new: it’s still You, and yet a different one – an upgraded version, if you want.
“Your struggle is not meant to define you, but to refine you.”
The experiences that we have and the situations we go through are meant to teach us something about ourselves. The more we know ourselves and the more self-aware we become, the better the way we approach future situations and how we react will be. Let your life experiences refine you, not define you!