By: Erin Rose Hennessy and Emily Eileen Moreshead
Uniqueness. It’s a desired trait. Unique people make the world go round. New ideas, new works of art, new ways of doing things – all created by unique people. But that leads us to wonder why it seems that others are so desperate to mold us all into a version of a “normal human being”. Everyone is supposed to be social, friendly, helpful. Love going to parties, cook perfect meals, and have a spotless house. Everyone must have at least 500 friends on Facebook and 100 professional connections on LinkedIn. In fact, the more professional connections the better! But – why do we have to mold ourselves to something we’re not just to please others? Why can’t we just be who we are?
It’s an endless cycle of trying to keep up with the latest and greatest, have the best job, the best car, the greenest lawn on your block…but why? There are those among us who have always embraced uniqueness, even going out of the way to be different. and those who tend to blend into the pack. But sometimes, aren’t we both sides of the coin? There is something to be said about being the one who stands out in a crowd but unless that also makes you feel good about it inside, is it really you?
What if, instead of telling someone everything that is wrong about them, we focused on complimenting what makes them unique? Everyone has fun quirks and special traits that make them uniquely them. Some people are more introverted than others. Some people are messy and others are neat. Instead of complaining about the gross state of someone’s apartment, why not shower them with praise because they (finally) cleaned our their refrigerator. Human beings have an innate need to be accepted and to belong – even when they know they are unique and different than everyone else – they still need to be appreciated and complimented.
In the same way, it’s important to try to understand why people are different and not worse, different. An introvert who hates going to parties for example, may feel better attending with someone who is more extroverted or they may want to skip the party in favor of a one on one lunch with the guest of honor instead. Often it’s enlightening when we finally begin to understand that even though another soul works differently than you, they are still on the same road we are, the road of life and living our best days.
So, here’s the challenge for all of us – embrace your uniqueness and also the uniqueness of your friends, family and coworkers. Ask them about something. Complement them. You might just make a new connection!