Embrace Your Differences

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So I've talked about being yourself. With that said, you need to take one more step and embrace the things about you that make you different.

What does the word 'embrace' mean?
The dictionary definition states that to embrace is to accept a belief, theory, or change willingly and enthusiastically.

The main word being 'accept'. So on top of being yourself you need to look in the mirror and accept yourself - your uniqueness, your quirks, your disability - whatever it is that makes you different from your classmates or workmates.

I believe we need to get rid of the 'normal' label. Normal is a setting on a dryer, it's doesn't apply to human beings. There is no 'perfect' human, as it's all about an individual's perceptions.

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Let's explore this further.

Telling you to embrace yourself is easy - it's two words, but in reality embracing the characteristics about ourselves that are different can be difficult. Society, and particularly social media and peer pressure, gives us an image of who we should be from our outside appearance to our thoughts, likes and dislikes. To move away from these extreme pressures and standards can often cause us to feel isolated and even rejected, and who wants to feel that way.

While there is nothing wrong about wanting to be liked, too often we let our fear of what other people may think keep us from expressing ourselves fully. That fear keeps us from embracing what makes us different and from following the path we should be on and pursuing the things that we really like. We will never truly know contentment and happiness while we keep trying to be the person we are not.

Of the 7.5 billion (2017) people on our planet, there is no-one just like you. You are unique and your magnificence needs to shine!

As Dr Suess so wisely said, “ Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

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Here are 6 reasons why you should embrace your differences:

1. You stop living in fear and start being kind to yourself

Trying to be someone you're not  can be physically and psychologically exhausting. Keeping up a facade or worrying that you're going to be found out to be a fraud is so difficult. Being yourself allows you to breathe and to take off the false character suit that you're wearing. You can look at yourself and say, 'this is how I am, and that's okay.'  As well as this, characteristics you or others see as weaknesses, can be developed into strengths, or used in different ways so they are strengths.

2. Being different helps you make a difference in the world

The world needs your differences. The world needs new talents, ideas and actions. If you want to make a difference in the world, then use your differences to make an impact. For example, if you are into conservation but none of your friends are, no worry, you go about advocating for the environment.

3. Friends don't have to have everything in common

You don't need to have everything in common with your friends. As stated in point 1 this can be tiring to do. If you and your friends are genuine and accepting of each others differences, these things can be used to enrich your friendship. For example, one of your friends may be mad keen about horse riding, so you all go horse riding. Liking different things and having different talents also takes away the competition that can happen, and the pressure to conform. 

4. You can use your difference to teach others

This is particularly relevant for people with autism or other disabilities that are invisible, or even visible. Use your difference to explain and teach about your uniqueness and how it affects you. Doing this will help you to connect with others and they can have a deeper understanding of what makes you, you.

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5. Successful people have embraced their differences

Individuals who are successful typically pave their way because of their differences and willingness to take risks. An article by Forbes, Being The Odd One Out – Survival Tips To Being Different, said:  “The mega-successful don’t play by the rules. They don’t conform to all of society’s norms. They don’t follow what everyone else is doing. They do their own things –- in their own ways. They make decisions that work for them. They set goals for where they want to go. They think out of the box firstly because they aren’t standard issue, and can’t fit into the regular packaging… but mostly because they like to.”

6. You can keep on developing your talents and uniqueness

Once you embrace yourself and you know what makes you stand out from the crowd, you are able to start developing these qualities. This then enables you to be the best version of yourself and to ultimately be more successful. The rewards of this are many - geater happiness, more contentment and an assurance that you are on the right track for where your life is meant to go.

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