There’s a lot of external conditioning that tells us being “special” is important. Sometimes it’s in the form of something in yourself that makes you stand out (athlete, class clown, called by god)… and sometimes it’s a kind of costumed specialness (designer clothes, status symbols, special clubs).
Striving for excellence is one thing, but striving for “specialness”, particularly as a means to feel better about yourself- that is a form of separation.
Try to hold these 2 seemingly opposite ideas as both true: Everybody is special, and simultaneously, nobody is special. Everyone is unique, with their own set of experiences and perspectives and gifts. And everyone is also the same, no one is better than anyone else.
When I play with questions of status, class or specialness with my clients, they often have one underlying objection: will I be loved if I’m not special, will I be loved in my ordinariness, just as I am?
Here’s what I’ve seen happen when you have nothing to prove: With no need to be special, we laugh at ourselves a lot more, we take ourselves less seriously, we simply do our best because we want to. With no need to be special, we grow into our most authentic, real identities. With no need to be special, we show people who we really are, our unique way of seeing things, and try to see them the same way in return. This practice leads to more connection, collaboration.
An excerpt from Indivisible:
“If you were raised this way, relearning your own intrinsic worth is completely possible. Depending on the amount of occlusion (physical, emotional or spiritual injuries one has endured), seeing your own worth and feeling good about yourself can be an instant of grace, or it can be a continuing process of practices and healing. We aren’t doomed to be stuck—rather we are built to heal and to keep growing. We just need the right medicine and tools.
Intrinsic value is not something that is told to us. It has to be experienced. Our body has to know. We have to embody our worth, and feel it first hand; it’s foundational to reconnecting to our own truth. We begin with some simple questions: What do I feel? What do I believe? What do I desire? What am I here to do? Where do I treat myself with less than impeccable respect or self-love, and how can I shift those habits? What have I been taught about love and worth, and are those beliefs I can change?
When we know our own unconditional worth–we might just be able to extend that to others. From our core true self, we can step into a new relationship with others. We can be of singular strength, and a flowing, aligned part of the collective: connected but not subsumed.
We might then love them unconditionally. We might just let the people in our lives be themselves. We might say: “I don’t want anything from you. You don’t have to be any particular way to make me happy. I will love you where you are.”
If you’d like to, try this thought experiment today. Where did I get the idea that I needed to be special? How have a I worked to be special and in what ways? What if I let go of any desire to be special? What would the impact be- would I lose something, would I free up resources? Are there any fears that popup around the idea of letting being special go? Can I see any benefit to attempting to drop being special, for a little while?