“You are not special, you are unique”—Robert Ohotto
I have always felt different in my family and within my group of friends for the choices I have made in my life. But I have not always been able to openly claim my individuality or my feelings of being different.
Instead I flipped between trying to fit in and make myself what others wanted me to be, and being openly defiant and rebellious of the family norms. A confusing state of affairs for everyone, including me!
Deep inside I always knew I was unique and here for an important purpose, but I didn’t feel “special” in that way that society said I should be. I felt different instead of special.
Astrologer Robert Ohotto describes the big difference between being special and being unique. Every parent should know this.
Everyone is unique. But the way we use “special” in our culture is often comparative and hierarchical. When we are told we are special, we rank ourselves next to someone else’s skills or accomplishments.
We compete instead of cooperate.
Being special is also tied to fantasies about being famous–we think of Oprah or Brad Pitt as people who are super-special because of fame, power, resources, and being at the top of their field. Ohotto reminds us that it is impossible to have a world filled with people “at the top” in this way. We lie to ourselves and to each other when we strive for unrealistic achievement or recognition. We’re not all designed for that path and there’s nothing wrong with that!
Growing up many people heard “you can be someone special” and secretly longed for some kind of big public recognition. This concept of “specialness” can actually separate us from others and cause unhappiness and confusion. On the other hand, claiming our uniqueness can set us free to be who we were born to be.
Recognizing uniqueness is empowering. We don’t need to achieve anything to embody it. It is here today. It is within us now.
Expressing uniqueness means sharing our true self with the world. Shining our light, gifts, idiosyncrasies, vulnerabilities, and talents, sets us free from the bondage of someone else’s idea of special perfection.
When I think about my path and what I offer to the world as being a unique expression of who I am, I step away from feelings of shame about being different. I realize that it is essential that I no longer hide behind ideas of who I “should be.”
At this time in my life, my inner work is about embracing who I am.
Being unique is about being you. There is no ranking system. It is an invitation to allow the world to see you as you are.
Easier said than done, right? I get it! It takes great courage to express our uniqueness. It can challenge the instinctual need we all have to fit in. Especially when the world feels crazy or out of control, hiding our true colors can feel safe and quiet. But it helps no one to hide who we are.
When our world feels like it’s crumbling, we are being given an opportunity to shine stronger. This time in history is all about being brave.
Did you think of yourself as the black sheep in your family? Maybe you still do? Or are you the swan who started out as the ugly duckling? What do you think about the difference between special and unique? Please share in the comments below. I’d love to keep this discussion alive.
Then let Cyndi Lauper and Sara Bareilles’ video below remind you that no matter what your circumstances, you can find the courage to be yourself. This video is my go-to tool for reminding me of my uniqueness. My kids love it too.
Sending you so much love.
Giraffe Photo Credit © Bratan | Dreamstime Stock Photos