Differences: Flaws or Superpower?
Face It. You are different. You were divinely created as one of a kind. You are hardwired to bring something special to the world and it is your secret weapon for living a life of success, satisfaction, and joy. Differences are juicy. Differences make life interesting, richer, and open possibilities. Why then do we work so hard to hide our differences? Why do we fear them in others?
The overarching reason is that we want to be loved and accepted, we want to be included and, we want to fit in. This is a strong need in most of us. Often, we will go to great lengths to be like everyone else. We wear certain clothes, we listen to certain music, use certain language, even agree with things we don’t believe in all in the name of being accepted.
We are conditioned by our parents, teachers, our peers, our workplace, even social media, and the advertising we see on TV. Whether this conditioning to conform is well meaning or not, sometimes it forces us to hide our true nature or do and be things we are not. In the world of fashion, as an example, how many time did you wear something that was uncomfortable or restricted your movement in the name of fitting in with the latest fashion trends?
It seems harmless enough to want to fit in. We all need love and support, and we all deserve it. So why do we have to jump through hoops to get it? It should be more than enough to be yourself. But somehow it is not. We compromise our comfort, our desires, our creative freedom, and our beliefs all in the name of fitting in. We often see our differences as flaws that need to be corrected or fixed. There are entire industries built around our “flaws”, the diet industry as an example. Millions and Millions of dollars are spent annually fixing our bodies to look a certain way through diet, diet food, diet drinks, Paleo, Keto, Weight Watchers, etc. Guess what? You are not broken.
We have been taught that differences are bad and conforming at any cost is improvement. Yes, we should strive to stay healthy, but healthy does not mean being a certain size or weighing a certain amount. Everyone is different. A one size fits all approach to anything does not work. If you have ever been on a diet and gained all the weight and more back the minute you stopped dieting, you know what I mean. All you accomplished was making yourself feel bad or broken because you couldn’t conform to someone else’s idea of success.
Not only have we have been taught that differences are bad, but we have also been taught to fear differences. We have been taught to ostracize even ridicule people that are different. Groups of people have been mistreated because they are different. To condemn others for a physical characteristic they can’t control such as their coloring is an expression of fear and come from a place of low self-worth.
Each one of us was divinely created to be different. Each one of us is a piece of the overall puzzle we call Humanity, and the puzzle cannot be completed without your puzzle piece. We need to stop hiding who we are and be free to creatively express all of who we are. No one has the right to say which characteristics are valued and which should be hidden. We value extraversion in this country, an outwardly focused energy; but introversion or looking inward is necessary to contemplate and do the inner work necessary to grow and evolve. One is not right and the other wrong. One is not better than the other. They are just different, and both needed. That is the way we should look at differences.
Sometimes conforming is necessary and beneficial. We need to conform to traffic laws. If we don’t there can be accidents and personal injury, but we can’t take conformity to the level we have taken it to because it robs individuals of their creative freedom and love of self. It robs humanity of the richness and possibilities that can exist when we embrace our differences. Your differences are a superpower, and you are here to contribute them to the world. The best thing we can do for ourselves and for our world is to be who we truly are, live in the highest expression of our energies, trust rather than fear, and share our differences with the world.
Nancy OKeefe is a consultant, intuitive coach, and compassionate transformer, who helps people peel back the layers of who they have been taught to be to reveal who they truly are so they can live their inner truth, go after their deepest desires, and create a life filled with success, satisfaction, and joy.
Nancy has been developing and coaching people for over 25 years, helping them bring out their best qualities, build confidence, and feel empowered to go after what they want in life. She helps CEO’s create cultures where people can share their unique gifts, workplaces where the best talent wants to work.
Nancy is a Certified Executive Coach from the College of Executive Coaching, holds an MBA from Babson College in Entrepreneurship and a MS in Process Improvement from Anna Maria College. She is a Certified Quantum Human Design Specialist, Certified Career Transition Coach, Fascination Advantage® Adviser, and Certified in Conversational Intelligence®