If you are reading this, you’ve probably just come to the realization that you are not special or extraordinary.
Up until now, you might have had the mindset that you are somehow different to the rest of us.
That might have been in the sense that you thought you were destined for great things.
Or it might have been that you believed no one else felt the same way you do, and not necessarily a positive feeling either.
But, actually, you are a pretty normal person living a pretty normal life.
Yes, you have your talents. And, yes, you have your problems. But it’s dawned on you that everyone has talents and everyone has problems.
Some of those talents are the same as yours. Some of those problems are the same as yours.
So now what?
Realizing that you’re not special can be a bit of a rough ride at first. All of a sudden you might feel a sense of dread, like you don’t matter.
You are just one of the billions of people on this planet and the world isn’t going to stop turning just because of something you do or don’t do.
True, but here’s where a subtle shift of language can help.
Shifting away from special.
If you are not special, what are you?
This might be a particularly important question in your current circumstances because for as long as you can remember, you have either been given the label ‘special’ by others and/or believed that you were.
And whilst a label can never be accurate or wholly expressive of a person, you might feel more comfortable with one.
So let’s look at some of the things you are, starting with…
The term VIP or Very Important Person is a bit problematic.
Why? Because everyone is important.
But important, in this sense, does not mean ‘better than’ others. How could it when everyone is important?
What important means is that you do make a difference to this world whether you think you do or not.
Your mere presence makes a difference to the people around you. Your work makes a difference to those it serves. Your choices make a difference not only to the outcomes of your life but also to the overall life of everyone on this planet.
And, yeah, to be brutally honest with you, some people probably do make a bigger difference than others. They may have the power to make choices that affect millions of people. They may have the wealth to do a lot of good (or bad) in this world.
But that doesn’t make them more or less important. Again, everyone is important. In fact, everyone is of equal importance.
You have value. You are a being of worth. You do matter.
Value may be defined as the amount of benefit something provides.
And whether you believe it or not, you bring a whole load of benefit into this world.
When you help someone out, you benefit them.
When you listen to someone’s problems, you benefit them.
When you are a good friend to someone, you benefit them.
When you care for and show love toward a child, you benefit them… more than you could ever know.
Once again, you’re not special for doing these things, but these things all have incredible value to them.
Everyone deserves to be treated well, with respect, and with consideration.
Everyone is worth these things. You are worth these things.
It doesn’t matter what flaws you have. It doesn’t matter what virtues you have. What matters is that you are a living, breathing human being.
You’re not special in that regard, but it does make you worthy of fair and honest treatment.
We are all human beings flying around the sun on this planet we call home.
And yet, we are all different to one another. Sometimes these differences are small, whilst other times they can appear quite large.
No two people are exactly the same.
But unique is very different to special in one vital way: unique doesn’t put anyone on a pedestal, whereas special does.
Neither unique nor different have any implications about who is better. Just as it is claimed that all snowflakes are unique, no single snowflake is better than the rest.
This is a great realization in itself because giving oneself the ‘special’ label can be quite isolating.
If you consider yourself to be special, you create a boundary between you and others. Special denotes ‘otherness’ – a separation from the rest.
Who wants that? Unique is a far better term to use.
The benefits of a world without ‘special.’
Perhaps you’re feeling a little down about not being special. But hopefully you’ve realized that you are all those other things mentioned above.
Something else that might make you feel better about yourself is this list of good things that come from not seeing yourself or anyone else as special.
1. It’s humbling.
When you understand that you are not special in this life, you can look at others with more compassionate eyes.
You know that they may also be struggling with one thing or another – most people are, regardless of their position or wealth.
All of a sudden that other person’s struggle matters because you could be them or vice versa.
And a good dose of humility can do wonders for your interpersonal relationships.
Instead of picking other people apart and judging them based on what you see on the surface, you are able to look beyond all that to the being they are on the inside.
You don’t need to compete with them or try to be them, you can just accept them for who they are, even when you don’t see eye-to-eye with them.
2. It eases the pressure on you.
When you think you’re special, you automatically put yourself under a whole load of pressure to embody that specialness.
You believe you have to make a huge difference in the world, you need to be successful at whatever it is you are good at, you have to show everyone just how special you are.
But you’ve realized that you aren’t special. So what does that mean for you?
It means you don’t have to be perfect all the time. It means that whatever you achieve is valuable in its own right. It means that other people’s expectations of you don’t matter.
You can live your life in a way that makes the most sense to you. And if that means living what most people would call an ordinary life, so be it.
There’s nothing wrong with ordinary when you remember that there isn’t really anything extraordinary about anyone.
3. It means you don’t worship anyone else.
When you believe in there being a ‘special’ status reserved only for the very best of humankind, you create this imaginary reason to see others as better than you.
All of a sudden, your superstar boss who lives in a fancy house and drives a fancy car is above you.
Or you look at the appearance of others and deem them so utterly beautiful that they are giving more to the world through their looks than you could in any other way.
But you know what, they still sit on the toilet to do their business and wipe their own backside when they’re done.
They still eat, drink, and breathe like the rest of us.
They don’t have some quality that sets them apart from the rest of us lowly mortals.
You’re not special, but neither is anyone else. So why treat them as such?
Treat everyone with the same respect and consideration. That’s all you need to remember.
A final note on being average…
Okay, so ‘special’ is not really a thing that people are.
But what about average?
Do you think you’re average? Below average? Above average?
Once again, this is an impossibly incomplete label that you may put on yourself or others.
Average in what, exactly? What does an average person look like? What does an average life involve?
Perhaps an average student gets the exact average grade for each subject, but who do you know that has ever done that? No, everyone has their strengths and weakness.
And that’s not limited to school. Throughout life, there will be things you are pretty good at, and things you probably suck at.
That’s the definition of average right there.
So not only are you not special, you’re not average either. You’re just a person who does some things well, other things poorly, and many things not at all.
You are important, valuable, worth, and unique. And many more things besides.
Whoever you are, celebrate you.
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