Specialness – It’s Like a Drug!

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I was the youngest and the only girl.  I was Daddy’s princess.  I was special.  I got new clothes when the boys wore hand me downs.  I had my own room when the boys had to share.  I was dressed up in my frilly dresses to be shown off to family.  I sat on Daddy’s knee as he told stories and sang songs to campers at summer camp.  My father even had the campers write me birthday cards – as my birthday was in July.  I grew up believing that I was special.  I drank the Koolaid. 

At a young age I began to realize that I lived for my moments of being special.  When I wasn’t special, I was trying hard to be special again.  To see that look in their eyes – that pride – that love – there was no greater moment.  In that moment I was enough.  It was like a drug!

So, here lies the problem with being special.  If I am enough when I am special, then I am not enough when I am not special.  And, if most of the time I am not holding my standing as special, then most of the time I am not enough.  This causes self-esteem issues.  Never feeling enough – pretty enough, skinny enough, smart enough, strong enough…you get the point.

What is specialness?  Exclusivity, entitlement, superiority, intimidation, snobbery, more important than, power, privilege, strength, better than the average, the opposite of ordinary.  You have problems “they” can’t understand.  You carry the illusion of having the “upper hand”.  You need to come first…why?  Because, you are special, of course!  Specialness feels good in the moment – it feels powerful – but it is fleeting and doesn’t happen often enough!   Like a drug!

Consequences of being special – It is all about separateness!  How can you be one with another or see them as your equal if you are special?  Plus, you can’t win.  There is always someone else that’s special too.  Someone who has that same talent – but is better.  Someone who is younger, prettier, smarter…you name it.  Plus, even when you are having your “special” moment, you could make a mistake, or fail, or mess up – and THEN you are certainly no longer special.  It is a tenuous and fragile line to hold.  It creates tension, conflict, and competition.  Who is the most special?  Everyone is jockying for that place.  It takes lots of energy to be special.  It takes a lot of energy to try to be special, again. 

As you get older, specialness becomes attached to your identity.  You can’t be like everyone else.  You have to be different – BETTER.  You have to set yourself apart.  Special is who you are.  You can’t fail.  You have to be perceived as special by others.  It becomes about whether you are good enough – to others – not yourself.  Because you are never good enough for yourself anyway.

Truth

The truth is that God made us all special by making us all different and unique.  He gave us each a different grouping of talents and core essence qualities.  You might be good at one thing, but I am good at another. 

The truth is that we are enough – just by being us.  The difficult part is figuring out what “enough” is.  It is not as tangible and concrete as we would like it to be.  Learning how to fill ourselves is a skill.  Prayer, meditation, friends, partners, exercise, and nature are some ways we can fill ourselves.  Learning what enough – looks like, tastes like, feels like, sounds like – is a skill as well.  These are skills that we didn’t learn as children – because we believed we were special and spent so much time trying to fill ourselves through others.  So, ask yourself – When you are eating:  “Have I had enough?”.  When you look in your closet:  “Do I have enough pairs of shoes, or jeans, or shirts…”  When you walk into a store:  “Do I have enough at home?  Do I really need anything in here?”  When someone offers you imperfect love:  “Is he/she loving me enough?”  Finding out the difference between what makes us feel good in the moment and what nourishes our soul is a good clue as to what fills us and what doesn’t.

Knowing that we aren’t special takes the pressure off.  It makes us less competitive.  It gives us the ability to relate to others on a new level.  It gives us more compassion for our humanness and the humanness of others.  We can also stop spending so much energy trying so hard to be something that a) we are not, and b) cannot hold.  When we stop trying so hard, we realize that we can relax and we find a level of peace that we have never experienced before.  Peace, serenity, and oneness – doesn’t that sound like a Hallmark card?  Well, it’s the truth.

So, give it up.  It’s not worth it.  You can make yourself whole.  You don’t need anyone to think you are better than anyone else.  Because, you’re not.  You are just as special as everyone else!

Love to you