Let me just say this first: Discovering who you are as an individual is a never ending process.
Humans are extremely complex beings and doctors and scientists have just barely cracked the surface of understanding how our bodies and minds work. And just when they think they understand something, they discover something new that completely obliterates that original theory. And what may be true for one person may not be true for another, even though we have the exact some body parts. The ways our bodies and minds function are not identical among one another. Even though we may appear similar on the most basic levels, when you get a bit closer, we’re like snowflakes – all completely unique and no two people are identical (not even identical twins).
We know this, yet it’s so hard for people to understand that it’s ok to be different from one another. It is so bad that for thousands of years, society has been trying to make each other feel ashamed of our differences, and I’m just talking about the differences we were born with and can’t change – skin, eye, and hair color, health, body size and shape, sexuality, etc. On the most basic and natural levels, these things are not preferences. Sure, some people may develop a sexual preference because of their life experiences, but many people are just born with a certain affiliation already ingrained in them. But we’re not going to get into that right now. Again – humans are super complex.
It’s not enough that we push each other down for just existing. Humans then have to push the envelope further and degrade each other over things like religious beliefs, education and career level, wealth and possessions, life experiences, political views, your friends, diet, hobbies, etc. Anything and everything is fair game for someone to trash you and they will at every chance they get.
Why are people like this? Why does society break each other down instead of embracing our differences and building each other up? And how the hell are we supposed to figure out who the hell we are as individuals when society is scorning every single thing about each other? You have this group throwing social grenades on another group, then that other group spraying hate bullets on both groups for stirring up trouble and demanding they be better without ever giving them a chance to be better. It’s a never ending cycle of degradation, judgement, and downright hatred.
So, how do we rise above when the rest of the world is trying to tear us down? Honestly, our evolution as an individual in a world that hates individuals is a never ending battle of ups and downs. And unfortunately, there is no easy answer. We will have good days and bad days and we will have days that have so many ups and downs that it will make us dizzy and feel like absolute hell. But what we have to remember is that in every single one of those moments, the good, the bad, and the really fucking ugly – we’re constantly growing, even if we can’t recognize it. Every little thing we experience directly and indirectly affect us and remind us of our differences and each of those reminders, as painful as they can be at times, are opportunities for us to become more secure in the knowledge of our differences.
Seriously, being different is NOT a bad thing. And just in case you missed that, let me just repeat it – being different is NOT a bad thing. It’s a wonderful thing. I mean, come on, how interesting would life really be if we were literally identical in every way? Or those stupid charts that claim there are only four types of people or six types of people in the world? Seriously, there are NOT just four to six different types of people in the world and we should all be ecstatic about that.
We don’t need charts or character profile boxes to match up with to know who we are. We just need to live life and go with our gut. It’s ok to ask for advice on how to handle a situation you’re not familiar with or that you’ve never experienced. But ultimately, that experience is going to be yours the instant you deal with it so you need to make sure you deal with it in a way that is in alignment with who you are at your core and in a way that doesn’t disrespect yours or someone else’s differences.
For example, an employer is looking at two resumes and concluded the interviews for both candidates.
Candidate A has the experience and education required, but they had one bad reference for being combative with management. Interview went well.
Candidate B also has the experience and education required and they received glowing recommendations from all of their references. Interview went well, however, the person was wearing a pride ring and there aren’t any known queer people in the company.
In this situation, you have an employer faced with two similar candidates in terms of qualifications, but both pose a possible risk for causing tension in the office, just in very different ways. (Just a reminder, in many states and countries, it is still legal for an employer to deny employment to a person based off of their sexual orientation.)
I think the choice is pretty obvious, but too often in this world, people choose to go with what they think someone else would do or what would make someone else less uncomfortable. They choose the option that is less “different” on the surface. It really is crazy when you think about it. Instead of choosing to set their personal differences aside, too often we see an employer choose to hire Candidate A just because their lifestyle and personal beliefs may possibly be more in line with their own, choosing to just deal with the fact that the person is completely disrespectful to management, which hurts productivity and destroys team moral.
This is just one example of how one situation can either uplift or tear down not just one, but many people. This one decision can have a very positive or negative impact on not just the candidate, but the company as a whole. Imagine how much better off they would be if they just chose to accept the differences between them. Imagine how much they can learn about each other and themselves if they embrace the differences instead of running from them.
Imagine the strength and courage it took for Candidate B to go into that job interview with that pride ring on, knowing it could possibly cost him/her the job.
Some people actually think displaying your differences is an “agenda”, like we’re trying to “convert” the world. Which, if you think about the origin of that false claim, you can’t really be surprised by it. After all, wearing and even carrying a cross has always been the Christians door opener for converting the masses. It’s a tactic used by many groups, particularly within in the “majority”. So, when a smaller group of people or an individual displays their differences proudly, they must have an agenda.
Ok, fine, we have an agenda. Here it is - our agenda is to be seen as individuals, not as cookie-cutter massed produced sacks of flesh with easily programmable minds. There, now the secret is out!
And on that note, I’ll leave you with these final words: Resist the Cookie-Cutter!