Life Lessons on being #unique
“But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.”
1 Peter 2:9,10 [MSG]
I think throughout history we’ve confused being #unique with a lot of things and called it names that are not to be affiliated with the truest meaning of the word. In fact, society has perverted the purity of who a #unique person is and how they are identified (in my humble opinion).
We’re fooled into only embracing mass fads, trends, life styles, diets, images, careers and the like because one or two people with money and influence decided this or that is what everyone should agree to be important and worth taking notice. (Crazy what will cause a person to take a side). Like a domino effect as we pick up the world and put down what sets us apart, many with the greatest of gifts and abilities stifle what they can bring to humanity for the sake of not being ostracized, rejected or left out.
It’s true that a life time of experiencing people laughing at you, paying more attention to others than you, pointing out something about you and calling it a flaw when really it’s a gift, can make you want to just blend and not be noticed for the sake of belonging. Naturally, we’re built for community and need to feel connected. But our gifts exist to edify humanity and enhance the world in which we live (Matt 5:14-16), so why are we enforcing internal suicide of potential for the sake of other’s opinions on what is and is not #unique? Society fails to promote the truth of everyone’s originality. From the time we’re small we’re programmed to compete and compare; be top of our class, collect trophies, win medals, ace and be the best above the rest, know more, do more, achieve greater. It’s all well and good to be great, but I think Marianne Williamson was right when she penned that ‘all of us are meant to shine, as children do’.
Here are 5 things I’ve gathered over time about the #unique and being in that number. I’m hoping that what I share proves to be helpful and encouraging.
1. Being #unique is NOT the same as being weird
As I mentioned before, I’m convinced there are many in the world who couldn’t recognize a #unique individual if their future depended on it. In considering the difference between unique and weird, I can’t speak for with those who wish to be weird and proud. However, being #unique does not fall in the same category.
Our world has often been found guilty of making the #unique endangered. If we’ve never seen or heard of it before we’d rather highlight what’s original and dismiss the true diamonds in the rough. It’s evident in how we establish class, work positions and cultural stereotyping…. It’s like there are these global blinders on 90% of the population.
Being #unique is not the same as being weird because the Merriam Webster dictionary specifies ‘weird’ as something or someone who is unusual or strange. Being #unique is classified as someone or something who is very special and connected to a particular thing, place or person. Even the bible speaks of the brilliance of the unique (see Eph 2:10). Where Merriam and I fall out is in classifying the ‘unique’ as strange because ‘strange’ is subjective and can be used by the closed minded. Being weird is a lifestyle choice. Being unique comes naturally and is distinct in terms of character. Being #unique is also tied to purpose. Though the two may cause you to stand out, one in my opinion doesn’t encourage much good, the other inspires and brings out the best in individuals. Think of those who started music genres, penned poetry, overcame evil, started movements that changed society against the wishes of those who were fearful of change.
We should’t allow what we fear and / or don’t understand to rob us of getting to know more about what / who we don’t see often. You can put just about anything in this category – persons of another race, culture, an idea that’s out of the box. We kill what’s #unique when we decide unfairly that it’s not worth anything. But the truth of the matter is, we could all stand to gain something from somebody who is not just as we are.
2. Being #unique is not attention seeking, but your presence commands the room
I’ve struggled in the past with being alone when entering a room because I didn’t want people staring at me. I used to think they would stare and think I was a loser or feel sorry for me because I didn’t have a crew or special somebody to roll with, but of late I’ve learned to flip it. The stares could be out of appreciation for my style, or a desire to get to know the one who just entered their presence.
When you’re #unique you don’t have to do anything in particular to be noticed in the building and neither do you feel a need for people to take notice. You naturally carry what compels men and women to want to engage.
People will naturally have one of three reactions when introduced to something / someone new . . .
You can typically win over the 3rd bunch, and the ones in the middle you give love to anyway because rejection is based on their level understanding, not your identity.
3. Embrace what comes naturally as your trademark!
#unique people don’t always pick up that their actions are misunderstood, but even when they are, don’t alter what God set in your blue print. This is not to be confused with emotional dysfunction, or those parts of us that leave us empty and unfulfilled (giving into the flesh rather than agreeing with God’s spirit won’t get you far. Always choose to agree with God and go after his heart 1Sam 13:14; Acts 13:22).
What I am addressing here is the stuff that gives you spunk and sets you apart in skill, character and/or ability. Anybody can be quiet, loud, urban, preppy, etc. but because you’ve been gifted to see and / or express new light in a place most have overlooked THAT by divine right is your trademark.
Whether amongst the British, Jamaicans or North Americans I’m typically singled out though a part of me is connected to all 3. I’ve never fully embraced everything from each world because I’ve been set to be the change and challenge where most see no change and no victory.
4. Being #unique doesn’t always mean you’ll be recognized
There’s normally a time for most #unique individuals where your brilliance is hidden. Unless those who raise and influence you are on the money from the start, God has to orchestrate the correct timing for your revealing (Isa 46:10). You could be bursting with talent and ability but still need life experience to humble your gift. Or maybe you yourself haven’t yet discovered anything special about yourself, and God has to bring about the right people and experiences to unveil the truth of who you are and what you were created for. There’s always a necessary ‘green light’ before everything kicks into gear. When you’re totally ready to reap the rewards and shoulder the responsibility of your difference. For Jesus it wasn’t until age 12 (Luke 2:49) and then at 33 in His first miracle at a wedding (John 2:1-11).
You can be someone who is well accomplished, well connected and well known, but still feel like ‘Je ne said quoi’ sums you up pretty nicely.
“For 29 years of my life I struggled with self acceptance because my life never really fit the ‘status quo’ or met specifically what was expected of me.”
I had a lot of doubt and engaged in a lot of people pleasing. Thankfully there have still been certain times of my life where I’ve stuck to being #unique and following the path that was meant for me. Even at times when I myself felt a little crazy for being so different, especially in my later 20s.
Sometimes being #unique can cause upset, jealousy, disagreement and offense. When these actions were expressed by others towards me I would often internalize their negativity as rejection of my importance; assuming that disapproval from some meant overall failure or being wrong about my path. Today however, I have come to an understanding of the 5th and final point in today’s blog post:
5. Being #unique doesn’t require an apology
I think too often #unique people may dilute, dumb down or ex out their importance because of not wanting to rock the boat. However I’d like to emphasize the important fact that who you are came at a cost, so all apologies on mute.
Those who are #unique should celebrate the fact that who you are is earned and not emulated. You’re established and certified by the journey and no one has the right to deny you of what you’ve earned. Be bold, be brilliant and encourage those around you to do the same.
“Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.” Psalm 139:14-16 [MSG]