Why We Should Celebrate Our Unique Qualities
We celebrate birthdays, weddings, pregnancies, and retirements. We celebrate promotions and bat mitzvahs and business launches. There is a party or a shower or a happy hour for every occasion, but there is something we don’t celebrate — something that is arguably more important to acknowledge than all of the above: our differences.
When I think about a world without differences, I see dystopia. I picture women in crimson dresses and white-winged hats walking in a militaristic line; a pallid sameness; a monotony. This is not a world I am interested in, and my guess is you’re not interested in it, either.
Why, then, do we yearn for connection over similarities when the real value is in connecting with those from whom we can learn something? Why do we celebrate just about everything but that which makes us different? The real interest and intrigue show up when we identify and honor the unique qualities each of us possesses.
I wonder if one reason we are quick to judge those who are different from us is a lack of confidence, as if by celebrating someone’s curiosity, boldness, or candor, we are admitting we don’t possess qualities of the same caliber. In seeking out those like us, we’re searching for validation in our reflections; we’re looking for those who also prefer reading books to analyzing data or for those who are also energized by socialization and not quiet reflection. In that search, we miss out on the richness that is found in someone who is different from us. Our individuality makes our lives all the more interesting, and yet it doesn’t always feel like it’s a badge to wear proudly. We reward sameness by offering tips and tricks for people to look or think or do or be just like us. One needs to do no more than pick up a magazine to see this.
How utterly boring.
I am drawn to travel because I love to experience the new and the different, like how Turks eat hot soup and drink hot tea in the middle of summer; how Italians eat cookies for breakfast; how the Vietnamese drink egg coffee. This is why my husband and I travel with our young children. It’s important to us that they not only recognize but also appreciate the different ways people do things…