There is nothing we get more mixed signals on than the idea of being special. The brain programming is so crisscrossed that we are afraid to be special, we don’t want anyone to think we’re special and we go to lengths to prove we are not special all the while secretly hoping we are.
If anyone today thinks they are special they are likely deep in the closet about it. Why do we have to hide and minimize our special? What is so wrong about feeling and being special in our own eyes and in the eyes of others?
While I’m guessing the special suppression has religious origins, we are still drinking the Kool-Ade. My childhood taught me that we shouldn’t need or want to be special lest we be seen as raging narcissists. That would have been fine if I was not also instructed that I needed to stand out if I wanted to get anywhere. Here I was dutifully exorcizing the sinful special out of myself only to be asked on my college applications what made me so special. What???
We are supposed to acknowledge that others are special but to deflect when it is said of or to us. To insure the success of our un-special status we have obediently downloaded a handy brain program whereby we compare ourselves to others and, spoiler alert, we don’t match up. Paradoxically, if we believe we are special we can’t feel good about it and if we don’t believe we are special there is something psychologically wrong with us. Am I on Candid Camera??
Amidst all our socially acceptable self deprecation and humility, how do we get our special on?
In the negative sphere. Here, not surprisingly, special is allowed to run amok. We one up each other on the problem scale. Our specialness real estate skyrockets in our eyes while flying under the radar when we pronounce that our problems cannot be understood by others, or that they are worse than what others have to endure. Because of this crazy skew, we can actually feel more special vis a vis the shitty things in our lives than the good ones.
So the moral of the story we have been taught is that we’re damned if we’re special and damned if we’re not. But there is another story. It has taken a Ph.D, a lot of blogging and a lot of brain training to shed this brain washing. But after a lifetime of feeling inadequate, less than, and anything but special, here is what I have come to know…
I am special, my achievements are not.
I am special, my problems are not.
We are all special and knowing this makes life special.
Being special is not and never has been about our achievements or our problems. We are born special, we don’t have to earn it. We are born to stand out, forget fitting in. Too bad if it makes people uncomfortable. We are born to love all of who we are, not to be popular. Wear what you like, say what you will, do what makes you happy, embrace life as it comes, shine your light as bright as you possibly can and give permission for others to do the same. Why else would we all be here?
For Fear: Special Delivery
It is time to stop striving for special and take pleasure in the specialness that you are.
Where have you been playing small, holding back, dimming your light?
Where have you been teaching others to do the same?
Note areas of your life where you feel frustrated, misunderstood, stuck.
Where have you been judging others who shine their light?
Where have you been exhausting yourself to prove or earn your specialness?
Where have you deferred to the ‘specialness’ of others at the expense of yourself?
Where were you not allowed or were embarrassed to feel special?
Noticing is the beginning of changing. In the first phase of brain training you need do nothing but watch your special program cuing up. Special is a bigger deal than we think. Let’s straighten this out so we don’t need to pass it on.
Live your special.