This February, I’m doing #LoveMe, a challenge designed to help you learn to love yourself! One of my New Year’s resolutions was to be kinder and more gentle to myself, so I’m trying to be as positive as I can possibly be in 2017 and hope that doing this challenge will be good for my mental health and overall well-being. Check out my previous #LoveMe posts here!
Today’s prompt is:
What makes you unique?
This is a really interesting question because like… honestly, what does make me unique? What sets me apart from everyone else? What is different about me?
I think that many of the perceived differences between us are less differently than we commonly think they are. For instance, I may not know anyone else on my campus who wants their journalism to be published in National Geographic one day, but there are obviously other people in the world with that same aspiration. (And likely several on my campus who I just haven’t met yet! Gotta make even more friends in the journalism school ASAP.)
So, yeah. The things that I would say if asked to describe myself, my interests, and my life to people who didn’t know me aren’t really, truly unique. Right?
This makes me think of science classes way, way back in elementary school, where we learned about how the only things that truly set everyone on this planet apart from everyone else are our fingerprints. Identical twins, we were told, share the same DNA, but even they have different fingerprints. No two sets of fingerprints are alike.
And part of me is like, well, I don’t want that to be what my uniqueness – or anyone else’s – comes down to. Because if it does, then that means that the only thing that is different about me is something that doesn’t have anything to do with my personality.
My fingerprints can’t tell you about my hope and dreams, my friends and family, what I love and what I hate. From a biological point of view I suppose they do define me, but they certainly don’t provide information about what it’s like to actually know me.
So I set this post aside for a while and thought about it when I had spare moments. And I realized that there’s something else that sets us apart from one another. At least, I think there’s something else. I think it counts.
No two people have the same assortment of life experiences. Over the course of a lifetime we certainly have many experiences in common, but there are also some that are rarer. To be sure, no one has the exact same experiences in the exact same order as everyone else.
And what about your perception of a certain event? That has to come into play. My friends, family, classmates, teachers, neighbors, et cetera don’t perceive events the same way I do because everyone brings their values, beliefs, and most of all their previous experiences – which, as I’ve said before, are of course all wildly different from one another – to the table, which color their thoughts about and experience of that event.
I’m the only person who has ever gone through life this way. I don’t share this entire experience with anyone else, although I do share parts of it. More parts with some people, and fewer with others. Sometimes I think about what it would be like to have been born in a completely different time and place… you know, I think what this post has come down to is nature vs. nuture.
According to nature/science there is not much to distinguish us from one another, but everyone is shaped by their environment. I wouldn’t be exactly the same person that I am now if I’d been born somewhere else, at some other time.
It’s fascinating to think about. It’s amazing to wonder how even the very smallest decisions I am making right now may end up affecting my life in major ways in the future simply because they’ll introduce me to new people and places and experiences that, in turn, end up influencing how I perceive still more people and places and experiences.
What makes you unique? You’re totally allowed to cheat and give me an answer that avoids the question/goes off on a tangent just like I did in this post! I won’t mind!