Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve wanted to be special. I’ve wanted to prove that I was different, to write something worth reading, to say something that people think is worth listening to. For as long as I can remember, I have been searching for some way to connect with something larger than myself and to prove that I can create my own way to stand out.
Our society seems to revolve around an obsession with uniqueness. We think that people who are extremely successful, whether they’re musicians or poets or business moguls, have some special “it” factor that the rest of us just don’t possess. I have admired so many of these people who seem to have it all. I’ve envied their ability to connect on such a large scale, to make their voices heard, to stand in front of a crowd and captivate every single person in it. I’ve always thought that they must have something that I don’t.
Objectively, some of them do have qualities that I don’t. They have experiences, gifts, and talents that set them apart. They have lived through journeys that I can only dream of. Compared to all of that, what do I really have to say that’s worth hearing? Why would someone like me be able to do what they do?
I’ll admit, it’s easy to attribute other people’s successes to some magical quality that the rest of us simply lack. But truthfully, I don’t think that people reach a world-renowned level of success because they are different from the rest of us—they’re successful because they remind us of ourselves. They’ve experienced the same worries, the same heartbreaks, and the same failures that we have all been through. The difference is that they are courageous enough to share them.
We cry along to songs about heartbreak because we’ve been heartbroken too. We read books about grand adventures because we all want to feel like heroes. We watch movies about superheroes because most of them started out as normal people, just like us. We want to believe that one day, we can be special too.
Am I really that different from anyone else? Maybe not. But does that mean I don’t have stories worth sharing? Absolutely not. Maybe that’s the beauty of it. I haven’t overcome anything all that remarkable, I haven’t written the next great novel, I haven’t sang a chart-topping song that is played so much that people hum it in their sleep. Most of us haven’t.
But we’ve all felt lost, we’ve all dealt with grief that overwhelms us, we’ve all grasped to make meaning out of our darkest moments. We’ve tried to make sense out of the inconceivable. We’ve put our shattered hearts back together after we convinced ourselves that they could never heal.
What makes us special isn’t that we’re so much different from everyone else—it lies in the similar experiences that underscore all of our lives.
So think about it. What pieces of yourself are you willing to open up in order to connect? What small action can you take today that will make the world a little brighter for someone else tomorrow? What part of your journey will inspire someone else to continue on theirs? I hope you decide that your story is worth telling (it is). I hope you decide to connect. I hope you decide to share what makes you special, because that’s what makes all of us special.