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You Are Not Special, But You Can Be

You Are Not Special, But You Can Be

Is anybody truly special? Short answer: Yes.

Is there anything wrong with being special? Another short answer: Yes.

Very few people are special. You are not one of them. Why? Because there is a downside to being classified as “special.”

Being special in today’s society means thinking that you are an exception to the rules that everyone else has to follow. It has very little to do with self-esteem and very much to do with self-deception.

The downside is that we can be thinking about ourselves in such a damaging way without realizing it. And our unawareness drives us to be ungrateful and even unsuccessful.

Pedestals and Privilege

So let’s be honest for a little while.

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Perhaps you grew up in a family where you were the apple of your parents’ eyes. Maybe you were always seen as the good boy or good girl who never broke the rules, the model student in school, obedient in every way including being home before curfew, and so on and so on.

In short, you were given privileges and people put you on a pedestal. It was assumed that you would be successful because, well, you had such a perfect past (which required very little work from you, of course). It just happened.

Now, here comes the downside. A child who grows up thinking this well of them self will see their self as special. And because he or she has been told in so few words and treated in so few ways — as if they are special — they will begin to expect everything to come easy to them. They can begin to feel entitled to success without any effort.

But sooner or later, you find out that this is not true. You do not have any special powers. You are not too big, too beautiful, or too smart to fail. Everything you do is not guaranteed to succeed.

Conditioning

Children who grow into adults who have been conditioned to think they are above and beyond everything and everyone else will ultimately have to come face to face with reality. You are not special.

Privileged? Yes. Special. No.

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You should never let yourself fall into the trap of assuming that you don’t have to work hard or that life is just supposed to happen perfectly for you. People who think they are special and have been conditioned to think that everything will come easy to them are at a disadvantage.

If it is all just given to you, do you really understand how success really works. Does it just happen? Do your dreams just come to pass? If everything is all there for you because you are already qualified (because you’re special, remember, everybody thinks so), you miss a very important lesson.

The Way It Is

Maybe you are one of those people who has been taught to believe that everything is just going to come to you because of how wonderful and bright you are. Well, I want to make the shock of reality a little less sharp for you.

It doesn’t work that way. Obstacles are the way of life — for everybody.

You are not entitled to a great future because you had such a great past. In fact, for many people, it is the very opposite because they deceive themselves into thinking otherwise. How many rich kids turn out to have completely tattered and torn adult lives. Special? No. Choices? Yes.

The way it is: If you want it to be a certain way, it is within your power to create it.

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You have to choose.

Ego is one of your worst enemies. Thinking you are special is just an excuse to escape the painful reality of responsibility and choice. Avoiding the hard word of owning up to our mistakes and choosing to change is a deceptive tactic that strangles our progress and ruins our future.

After all, it is much easier to sit atop our high horses and look prim and proper than delve into the messiness that is life.

Still want to be special?

Special people don’t concern themselves with being special. They just don’t. Because being special is not important. They don’t try to be the exception to the rule.

Instead, special people do special things. They earn what they have. They put themselves on the line for others. They work hard at meaningful and fulfilling work — work that benefits the larger part of society.

They admit when they fail and struggle because they’re not special. They accept help where it can be found and allow others to gain strength from their stories. They learn and grow because special people actually have time to better themselves.

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Special people know that the world does not owe them anything. Instead, they owe the world something. When special people leave, the world mourns their loss and remembers their legacy. Because it was never about them anyway. It was all about what they could do for someone else.

Life isn’t about you. You want to special? Start giving the world and the people around you something they always needed but never had. Make yourself useful. Make your existence meaningful. Use your perspective and abilities for good. Design a future that others want to emulate.

Why?

Because you’re special. And your “specialness” means something to us.

More by this author

Daniella Whyte

Psychology Researcher

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Last Updated on January 3, 2020

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

 I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

 2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

7. Positive people smile a lot!

When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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8. People who are positive are great communicators.

They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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