The Need To Be Special

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We are inculcated from the moment we are born with the idea that each and everyone of us are special.

“No fingerprint is the same! You’re unique!”

“Ever since humanity began, there has been no one like you. You are one of a kind. Cherish, that. Oh, you’re so special darling.”

Most of us have friends and family to shower us with love and compliments. They tell us we are beautiful and wonderful. Your mother looks down at you and says, yes, dear, you are so special in my eyes.

But are you really?

See, the thing this, if everyone is actually ‘special’, the concept of uniqueness is nullified. If everyone is special, then everyone is technically on the same level and therefore no one is special. If the idea of exceptionally is to exist, there has to be some people who are special and other people who are, to put it bluntly, not special. Common, pedestrian, ordinary, white bread people.

But most people would recoil at the idea of being merely average. Deep in our hearts, each of us thinks we are special. That we have some sparkle within us that no one else has. Why? Because it allows people to create a sense of their own self-worth. It gives them a reason for entitlement. People cling to the idea of being special because it validates their existence and creates a comforting, fugitive illusion of their life being valuable, like, hey we are all going to die one day, me, you and everyone who comes after us and humanity itself will shrivel up into nothing some day but at least I’m special, I’m different, this gives my life meaning, doesn’t it? doesn’t it? *claws at the other person’s shirt collar with fever of desperation in eyes*

I’m exactly the same. It’s terribly hard for me to admit it, like digging up the unsightly, sordid dregs of my personality, but I obtain my self worth from being different, being special. It even allows me to accept parts of myself which I would otherwise be adverse to.

I’m an introvert. Translation: Oh, I’m different, I’m quiet and mysterious and think deep thoughts, I am a great listener, look at those chatterboxes with such malarkey spewing from their mouths.

I’m a HSP (Highly Sensitive Person). Translation: Everyone else are these thick-skinned, emotionless people who go through their days numbly and thoughtlessly. I’m so subtle and sensitive, like a delicate little flower, picking up on all the nuances of the world, look at me, sensing everything, feeling everything, imbibing the beauty of the world.

I’m an INFP (Idealist). Translation: I’m so misunderstood by society, so unique and complex that others can’t understand me. My thoughts are so august that mere commoners cannot comprehend them. They say I’m weird and strange but that’s because I’m special. My idealism soars above the banal, pragmatic thoughts of others, my mind is alight with wonder, I am this jewel nestled among the dull pebbles, my coruscant surface winking now and then.

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People try to salvage their self-worth from aspects of themselves which they believe make them special.  

For me, I think I’m creative, deep and intelligent. I think I have some wonderful literature within me that is still fighting to escape. I use these aspects to satisfy my desire of being unique.

It could be different for you.

Maybe you have great physical beauty. Yes, you say to yourself, I’m a moving work of art. People stare at me longer than they should or love me more because of it and that makes me special.

Maybe you’re brainy, logical and smart. You’re another Einstein in the making. You’re so special, you’re going to make all sorts of scientific and mathematical breakthroughs.

Maybe you’re the kindest, sweetest person. Maybe you connect with animals. Maybe you are spiritual. Maybe you have a special connection with a deity/God that you think no one else has. Maybe you have a glib tongue and can convince and persuade people to believe anything you say. Maybe you’re a magnificent actor/actress and can cry at the drop of a hat.  Maybe you’re funny. It could be anything.

The desire to be special is a universal urge of humanity. We don’t want to be nothing. We don’t want to be worthless. We don’t want to be another nameless organism that dies and returns to the soil as part of the circle of life. We want ourselves and our lives to mean something. The only way to do that is to convince ourselves that we are unique.

And even though not everyone on Earth can be special, there is a strange comfort in knowing that this concept is propelling people all around the world to do greater things and achieve greater heights and bring their own kind of magic into the world that will shine on long after the breath has faded from their lips.

Because, ultimately, even if the idea of being special is but an illusion for most of us, it brings meaning into our lives. It’s good. It’s beneficial. And it helps us to do the things we want to do and become the people we want to become.  

In the words of Mark Twain, ‘Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.’

And that is something this dreamer will definitely remember.

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2 thoughts on “The Need To Be Special

    • Oh, thank you for your compliment. You don’t know how encouraging little compliments like that can be for an extremely self-critical writer. Yes, indeed, what a life! I’m a HSP, INFP and extreme idealist myself and it’s a constant battle. Thank you for commenting and I wish you a great life 🙂 You have skills which make you precious, many of the INFJs I’ve met have also been wonderful writers, compassionate and empathetic.

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