Everyone’s different: we flock together and become friends mainly because we have common interests. For example, the only reason why we’re close to our acquaintances is because we support the same sports team. In many cases, being different reached extreme levels and could have caused us to become isolated from the people around us, particularly our loved ones. In my case, I was the only regular male student in my college class for a long time. It was difficult fitting in with my classmates, but fortunately, it all worked out in the end.
However, being different can be seen as a flaw, and we all know society is cruel: people will always find ways to ridicule and insult these “flaws”. The aftermath will then pave the way for three instances: first is isolation, second is denial, and third is self-inflicted harm.
- Isolation – after receiving insults, a likely reaction is to avoid all contact with the people who threw them in order to prevent further damage.
- Denial – denying you’re different and your flaws. By doing so, you’ll do your best to “fit in” and in the process, forget who you truly are.
- Self-inflicted harm – in some cases, people have hurt themselves through self-wounding, which is a horrible deed that should be corrected immediately. This behavior is the product of isolation and denial: the loneliness consumes you, destroying your self-worth and by hurting yourself, you unconsciously think it’s a way to kill your “flaws”.
If you’re different, you should never change UNLESS if it’s for the better. Here are some steps which will help you deal with it and improve your outlook.
#1. Keep yourself busy with people who accept you
Take inspiration from the cliché quote, “birds of the same feather flock together”, go with people who are different in the same way as you are. For example, if you’re classified as a comic book geek and ridiculed because of it, why not pair up with another comic book fan and talk about the latest releases?
Being busy will deviate your attention from the negativity of your supposed “flaws” and in turn make it an asset. Being with people who share the same interests will fill your need “to belong to a flock”, thus eliminating loneliness. Other than being in their company, spend time with your family and siblings, even if you don’t get along with them that much. A little effort on your part goes a long way.
#2. Improve it
Sometimes, we’re alike, but it’s what makes us different. Over 650 million people around the world suffer from acne vulgaris, and this skin condition is the main reason a lot of teenagers have low self-esteem. Pockmarked cheeks, chins, chests and foreheads are targets for insults, which will render anyone to furiously cover it with makeup or make it worse by picking it. Keep in mind that seven out of a hundred acne sufferers have considered suicide.
Acne, along with other problems like body odor, profuse sweating, being overweight and insecure can be eliminated through self-improvement. By practicing proper hygiene, using organic, safe and natural acne treatments, along with other positive lifestyle changes will certainly eliminate these perceived flaws and enable you to be more confident.
#3. Use your difference to make a difference
A friend of mine named Keziah once told me: “You can set yourself apart from others not because you’re different, but because you make a difference”. Let yourself be known by making a positive change by using your “difference” as a catapult to do great things. For example, if you’re suffering from some sort of disability, why not put up a support group for people with the same problem? If deaf people composed timeless music and paralyzed persons explained quantum gravity and discovered black holes, then you’re definitely able to do great things yourself.
Mikhail Blacer is a sports junkie currently the sports editor for Scoopfed, an online magazine and works part time as a peer counselor in his locality. Strike up a conversation through his e-mail (email@example.com) and Twitter.