Most of the people I meet, being friends, acquaintances or clients, declare one thing: “I want to be different!” That’s great! Different how? Different from whom?
In order to find what other people’s opinions are on the matter, I launched an inquest on my Facebook page and I was pleasantly surprised by some of the deep comments I received.
One of them attracted my attention in particular. Robert K wrote “similarities and differences are another cycle of balance like in Ying-Yang. You want to be understood you find similarities. If you want to stand out, you look for differences… In order to keep your inner balance you need equalize both.”
In the attempt to answer this question I decided to analyze myself ☺. I did not make being different my cause or my driver in life, so I probably make a good case study … actually, contrary to the topic, I like being the same with people I admire and respect and I like learning from people who are great at what they do, being parenting, professionally, personally, you name it.
From an appearance point of view, I know for a fact that being different from the other people in the industry you work in is not a good thing and can only backfire. So, taking a look at my professional appearance, I realize that I do look similar to my colleagues, to my clients, to a lot of professionals I see around me. I probably do pay more attention than others to the details of my appearance, but I do it because it’s the way I am: I notice the little details and I cannot leave them unattended. Does that make me different? No, I don’t think so! It just probably makes my appearance neater.
Behaviour wise I am driven by the respect I have for myself, for the people around me and for my parents who made their best to bring me up as a respectful and respectable person. Has my behaviour changed in time? I wouldn’t say it changed, I would rather say it evolved. Do I notice the ones who act otherwise? Yes, of course I do! Do I regard myself as being different? Not particularly. I respect their choice of behaviour, I don’t necessarily agree with them, but they are definitely people like I am. We even look similar sometimes ☺.
Probably the most striking difference we see in people is related to the social standing. But is social standing making a person different? Or is it just the quality of life that alters their behaviour and has an imprint on their appearance? I have seen plenty of people becoming better off financially and although their appearance improved and their behavior altered, as people they did not become different from where they started, they just developed and adjusted along the way.
Reaching a conclusion, I cannot help but think that this urge to be different comes from within, from unresolved issues which affect self-confidence and self-acceptance. Awareness plays a great role in situations like these and the first step would be to deal with whatever issue is keeping you from accepting and embracing yourself. Being different is not the answer! Or, could it be that being different means being better?
I strongly believe that in order to be comfortable with our lives and ourselves, our aim should be focused on understanding and accepting what makes us who we are, enhance what we like and adjust what we don’t like. In one word: evolve! My advice is not to change, but rather to progress. The process is much easier and more successful. What if you don’t like the person you changed into … Being different does not necessarily mean being better. Being different means being someone else and, in my opinion, that’s not only impossible to achieve, but definitely not worth the effort! Embrace yourself, deal with what you don’t like in yourself and evolve into the person you are comfortable with and proud of!
But then I thought of Robert’s comment and it made me think: how often do I do that? How often do I tend to emphasize on one attribute or another depending on what reaction I am looking to receive: be understood or stand out? … Well, this is a difficult exercise and takes strong awareness, but is a good exercise for all of us to attempt … I am going to challenge myself and observe, as objectively as I can, my daily behaviour. I would like to challenge you all to do the same and share with me what you learned about yourselves ☺
In the case you find it difficult to do it on your own, why don’t we do it together through coaching. You will give yourself not only the chance to find out more about yourselves, but also the choice to evolve.