I recently came across a website which answered the question “Why is being different good?”. The answer was “Being different is good as it makes you unique and be recognized or noticed. It also helps you to stand still and affirm your principles and make your own decisions without following the majority. Being different make a change in your life and that of others.”
I could not accept this answer. Not completely!
A quote by contemporary Turkish writer, Mehmet Murat Ildan says “Be different so that people can see you clearly amongst the crowds.”
Even a tall lifeless statue or a high-rise exquisite piece of architectural monument can be seen clearly amongst the crowds. What difference ‘being different’ makes to me then?
The picture here perfectly sums up my perspective of ‘being different’.
Take a look at the shoal of fish in the picture. You have obviously noticed the blue fish! Yes, it is different from the lot and it stands out among them, clear enough for us to recognize it. Just like the above quotes tell! Look again. What is still so different about the blue fish? You will see that it is swimming in the opposite direction, moving away from the shoal. Wait! I should rather put it the other way. What if, the golden-coloured fishes abandoned the blue fish because it was different compared to them or perhaps……..because they couldn’t accept it ‘being different’?
Being different sometimes come with a hefty price. Not everyone in the society has the open mind of accepting you as you are, or embracing your uniqueness in the way you live life, socialize, eat, sleep and what not! The easiest way for ‘normal’ people to deal with ‘different’ people is to make them feel ‘different’ from the crowd, often, in a nasty manner! The ‘normal’ people always carry some kind of stickers which they would attach on you if they find you to ‘be different’ than them. Such behaviour soon leads to isolation of the ‘different’ people.
I don’t know how many people out there, who consider themselves ‘different’ from others, feel proud about it? No doubt, being different is a good thing. No two persons on this planet are 100% similar. Even if you are an identical twin and no one can tell you and your twin apart, there will be things about how you think and feel. The different traits in people make the human population interesting. But the question is regarding acceptance of each other’s uniqueness. Many a times, people can not deal with this simple fact!
Since a very young age, I have had to deal with people isolating me or avoiding me because….I was different! Honestly speaking, I never realized, for a very very long time, that it could be the reason why I always found myself in a situation akin to that of the blue fish! Quite recently, after a bit of introspection into my past years, I have realized that many people in my life could never accept me the way I was. I have dealt with loneliness throughout my life so far because I never found someone who truly understood me. In fact, I do feel the same even now, but I have accepted my loneliness and that has reduced the darkness associated with it. There have been so many instances in my life where I had to confront people who clearly showed their displeasure because I was ‘being different’ in the way I deal with things as compared to them. Certainly, my wavelength did not match theirs! It feels so burdensome to present myself to new people, because people tend to judge me quickly with my ‘different’ nature. In school, my excellent grades and good reputation among the teachers and many parents in my hometown pushed me to a position in which my friends kind of isolated me, mainly due to jealousy! I have always been outspoken and very straightforward since a very young age and this has landed me in more trouble than I can imagine. Most of my friends can not deal with this trait of mine. I find this quite strange! I am a college student now and I don’t drink or smoke like most college students do. And this has been the biggest reason why most friends in college keep me away from usual hangouts or parties or small get-togethers! There is always a ‘you’re different so we should avoid you’ kind of vibe I feel from them. I would never say what they do is something unacceptable or bad, but they do need to realize and accept that certain people have a ‘different’ way of living! A person may have certain character traits which people may find it ‘different’ or sometimes ‘flawed’. Instead of branding that person as a ‘different’ person, one should either have the courtesy to correct the character flaws or if not do anything, then at least be gracious enough to accept the person like the way he or she is.
My question still remains – Is loneliness the price I have to pay for ‘being different’?