"Why fit in when you were born to stand out." - Dr. Suess
One challenge of looking different is that you stand out. This can also be a benefit in many situations; however, there are several not-so-pleasant realities of being different. I remember for school pictures they would line everyone up according to height. It was always awkward to have to go to the very back of the line, even behind most of the girls. This was always a humiliating display of my lack of height.
Another time when I felt the sting of standing out was during P.E. class. We would stand in a big clump as the two team captains— who were always the tallest and most athletic boys—would begin picking the other tall and athletic boys to be on their team. Soon, the only boys left were the short, small boys. I was the shortest and, thus, was often standing all by myself, getting picked dead last. Not being wanted by either team had a way of making me feel very warm and bubbly inside. The people I interviewed shared similar struggles. They described the challenges of standing out to include: people staring at you, receiving unwanted attention, and feeling abnormal.
The rest of this post has now been published in my book Standing up for Standing Out: Making the most of Being Different in Kindle or hard copy.The book includes experiences from 74 people I interviewed who share their struggles and coping strategies on the topics of relationships, belonging, standing out, self-acceptance, working against labels, gaining understanding and compassion, and personal growth. Check it out!
“Each one of you has something no one else has, or has ever had: your fingerprints, your brain, your heart. Be an individual. Be unique. Stand out. Make noise. Make someone notice. That's the power of individuals.”
– Jon Bon Jovi