Have you ever felt like the "different" one in the room?
Perhaps everyone is outgoing, and you are quiet.
Maybe everyone is having a cup of coffee, but you don't like the beverage at all.
Maybe the others are athletic and you are not involved in those activities.
Or perhaps everyone tells jokes, but you have nothing to offer except to laugh. Or maybe the joke is about you. Perhaps it's that you just don't dive into what the others are participating in, be it a game, drinks, or conversation.
Regardless of the scenario, we have all been there, if we are willing to admit it. But how many of us are comfortable enough to accept ourselves just as we are?
I admit I have conformed many times to the crowd. Sometimes in ways that didn't have great end results. Sometimes in ways that were meaningless, but nonetheless, not necessarily me, either.
But that's not how we are designed to be. We are all unique. Made in a way that is special. God has a purpose for each of us, and each person contributes attributes that matter. That's why the world is sometimes challenging; that's also why being around all different kinds of people can be fun. Not one of us is the same. We share more in common with some than others, and that is good, but not one of us is the exact same.
Feeling like the different one in the room is hard. Loving someone and desperately wanting them to love you back for who you are is hard. Loving someone as they are when they are different from you can be challenging. But what if we chose to see those differences in a new light?
What if we chose today to see that God has made us all unique, and that is beautiful? It doesn't mean everyone has to be your best friend. But if we chose to look at others that way, imagine how different the outlook of the interactions could be?
Better yet, if we choose to love ourselves as we are, imagine how different it would be? I don't mean arrogance. I mean the ability to be in a room full of people who seem so vibrant and outgoing, while you sit there quietly, unsure of what to say or how to participate...but being okay with that..
Let me change the perspective a little and get real with you: sometimes I feel out of place. I love so much to be around people. I thrive off the interactions. But I often times have nothing to contribute to the jokes or the conversations, so I sit there a bit awkwardly some moments. I so enjoy being in groups of people, but I am definitely more conversational one on one. so at times, in groups, I feel like the different one in the room. I'm not drinking. I'm not making fun. I don't really have jokes to crack. I laugh a lot, but also will be asked if I'm okay because I'm not really contributing or participating. I have knowledge of certain topics, but generally those topics are not what is the discussion. This struck me yesterday, and I experienced a moment of total insecurity and uncertainty and found myself trying to get busy doing something because I felt like the outsider, even though I know I was not. I can "do" things, like help out, sometimes better than I can "be" myself some moments.
I took that moment to stop and realize a big lesson. I am not the jokester or the drinker or the loud one or the funny one in the crowd. I totally love to be around people, but my nature is much more to listen than to talk. (Odd, since here I write all about my life; but that's kind of the point. This writing is for me to learn about myself as much as for others to read.. No one is forced to sit and listen or read; who wants to can, who doesn't , doesn't.) My nature is to encourage someone or make another person feel good about themselves rather than to crack a joke or say something sarcastic. I don't have to be in the middle of the "fun" to be having fun. And if I'm the brunt of the joke, it's ok because it really is kind of funny. If I can't laugh at myself, I would probably cry, and what's the better alternative? There is a balance to it all, but I learned a valuable lesson. It's ok to be me. And I can be immersed in that place of feeling like the different one in the group without walking away feeling different, per say, because I have learned that God has made me like I am and it is good. I have an amazing time full of laughter and good moments, and if I feel like the different one in the group, it's probably because I'm allowing myself to feel that way. There are exceptions to that, but for me, the moment of that particular realization was big. I moved from insecure to ..... content. Because God has given me unique qualities to be expressed differently from others'.
I get real because that's how I am. And I believe that's how others can learn, too. So, take it from me: be who you are. It's really good. Who you are is who God made you. And while you may feel like the "odd man" at times, being who you are is beautiful. And good. Don't let it keep you from trying new things or being around new people. You never know what might come out of that moment. For me, I left the moment laughing so hard I had tears and feeling content. And i think even more so...learning that who I am is ok.
It's good to be you. Embrace it.
As summer comes to a close all too quickly, that has been one of my biggest lessons over the months. God made me to be me. And it's time I love that. God made you to be you. Embrace it. Trust me: it's a good thing to do.