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The Fear of Being "Different"

Different can be scary. Because different stands out. And its that reason alone that stops so many pe
The Fear of Being "Different"
Different can be scary.
Because different stands out.
And its that reason alone that stops so many people from being “different.”
If you’ve ever felt different from others, I want you think about that for a bit.
What does it mean to feel different?
And is it such a bad thing?

I'm a Bit of an Odball
I’ve often thought of myself as an oddball. I even wrote a post about it one time.
I still consider myself one, but something has changed: the way I feel about this silly moniker.
It happened when a mentor made a comment after I had just told a story about being an oddball. I was doing an internship in grad school at a pediatrics practice. This man said,
“Jordan. If you’re going to be an oddball, that’s fine. Just be the best damn oddball you can be.”
His words hit home. I had been using the term as a way to poke fun at myself, to bring attention to myself in a disparaging way. It wasn’t serving me. I didn’t need to think of myself in a negative light. I realized that the word “oddball” could also have a positive connotation.
That realization happened in 2017, but I’ve carried it with me until this day. I like being who I am, but there are still parts of me I don’t feel totally comfortable sharing. It’s probably from fear of judgment.
But who cares?
One person’s judgment is another person’s liberation through authenticity.
The Fear of Being Different
Many people have a fear of being different. I just told you about one of the manifestations of my fear.
Do you ever fear standing out in the wrong way?
Consider this.
What is “wrong?” Why is one way better than another? Who says?
At the end of the day, you are the person who has to live with yourself. Maybe you have a partner or a pet who also puts up with you (lovingly, of course), but you are the one who closes your eyes when you go to sleep at night. You are the one who wakes up the next day to approach the great unknown of what is to come.
It’s time to start embracing the unique way that you are.
You know when something doesn’t feel right. You realize when you say something that does not ring true for you. You’ve had years of living with yourself. So put that wealth of self-knowledge to use.
Dust off those tired, doubting thoughts that label you as “different.”
It truly does not matter one iota. As long as there are humans on this Earth, there will be people who judge other people. Don’t add to the misery by judging yourself more than the others who ARE NOT YOU and never will be.
Can you step through the fear today?
Can you contemplate where the fear is coming from?
Do it. And then shed the skin that no longer protects you. The fears you create about yourself served a purpose at one point, but they no longer do.
What you need most is something you already possess. Love for yourself.
Grab hold of that–and the rest falls away.
Now, doesn’t that feel different?
Different schmifferent. If I can learn to accept myself, we all can. I hope you gained something from this.

As we head into the weekend, dare to be different.

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Jordan Brown - Mental Health Writer, Poet, and Advocate

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