By: Emmanuelle Feria
Remember, you’re very special, just like everyone else. Hop aboard the special bandwagon, along with the rest of the humans on this Earth. In other words, no one is. Oh the irony! Let´s be honest, you have heard and or seen the saying ¨You are special¨ or a similar variation more than once, whether it be from a parent or friend, or a seemingly inspirational quote. Everyone, or at least, most people, seem to take this idea and tend to attribute it, or associate it with themselves. At first glance, this seems a true, positive and inspirational saying, but if you read between the lines, it turns out to be a contradictory statement. Before you start dropping negative comments, let me point out some things. The definition of “special” is “better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual.” If everyone’s ¨special,” then no one is, because special means standing out from the others. When you think about it, we, as individuals, aren’t that different from the rest of the human race. Perhaps what really makes us different from every other human being on this earth is our experiences, and how we apply them to life. No one is exactly the same, I partially agree to the part of this statement which says that we are not the same, and we have our own differences. At this time and age, individuals are discovering who they are, and what makes them special from everyone else. At the same time, people want to “fit in.” It is a contradictory statement to say or claim that an individual “stands out” when the same individual is constantly trying to “fit in” with everyone else. In most cases, people perceive themselves as ¨different,” but view others as normal, unless there is some strong distinction that makes the individual literally stand out–in most cases, it seems to be a physical quality. The same thing applies for nonconformity. In a way, people are trying to ¨follow their heart¨ and ¨make their own path.” We want to be meaningful, and we want to stand out from the others. In a way, we are nonconformists conforming to the way of American culture, and to the way of life.
It is close to impossible to be an entirely non-conforming individual, because of human nature. Psychologically speaking, human nature disables us from being able to think differently, and think about things other than ourselves. Due to the fact that we are all the same species, most of us generally share common needs and hopes. Most people want to get a good education, be accepted and loved, be successful, etc. There are close to millions of sayings about individualism and nonconformity, yet no one seems to really know what it means or is referring to, and how to apply it to their life. Twenty-first century America encourages and emphasizes differences, yet millions of Americans are caught up in trends and looking like everyone else. We seem to be afraid of being different, while we are afraid of being average as well.
If we’re all so unique, and encouraged not to change anything about ourselves, how come everyone wants to fit it at the same time? Though this statement is true, in the sense that we are not all completely alike; people often chose to be the same as everyone else, but somehow act like they are so special. People get so caught up with themselves, and their fear of not being average. Yes, everyone is special, but if you are acting like everyone else, and conforming to what other people are doing, how can you really be special? Technically speaking, we are not “special” but we are unique. The definition of unique is, “Being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else.” No one is exactly like us, in mind, soul, resemblance, thoughts, feelings, conscience, preferences, and beliefs. Though we are all the same kind, male or female humans, there is no feasible way for us to be exactly the same, or identical to one another. We are all very diverse from one another. Instead of telling every single individual that they are special, we can start encouraging individual thoughts, thinking for oneself, and teaching people to furthermore use their past experiences in life that are unique, and none like those of any other. We can teach ourselves and each other to think beyond ourselves, and how ¨special¨ we are by expanding our horizons. We can think beyond what we, as human beings, are predisposed to think of, and maybe perhaps do.