Wanting to Be Special


Do you feel “special”? Do you long to feel special? It seems to me that people strive so hard to be special, to be exceptional. Ordinary is for losers…or at least that is the message we seem to get from society.

I’ll admit that I share this obsession. Maybe part of my problem started with being an overachiever in grade school. I always had to be the fastest, the best in my class. I went to all the gifted programs and was praised for exceptionally high standardized test scores. I was highly competitive and a horribly sore loser…something I still struggle with to some extent lol.

The problem is that when you are told all the time growing up how “exceptional” you are, it sets you up for unrealistic expectations in the real world. In the real world, it isn’t always the smartest, the most talented, or the hardest working that succeed, and that is a bitter pill to swallow.

From my experience, the ones most likely to succeed are the ones that have wealth and powerful families behind them. Yes, some people do manage to crack the glass ceiling alone by sheer luck or being at the right place at the right time, but the majority at the top of any enterprise are generally those with connections the rest of us could only dream of.

Of course, you can focus on the feel-good, conciliatory message that “everyone is special”, which is undoubtedly true in some ways, but when I hear that, I always think about Dash from the Incredibles asking, “If everyone is special, is that really just a way of saying that nobody is special?”

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Hi! I am an artist, author, and blogger who also happens to have Asperger’s Syndrome. I have won several awards and honors for my writings and artwork. I suffer from a few severe mental illness and chronic pain conditions (Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, Fibromyalgia, CFS/ME, Ehlers Danlos, Degenerative Disc Disease, etc.), which greatly affects my life and makes me want to advocate for others going through similar things. Other interests of mine include reading, writing, drawing, watching cartoons and movies, collecting toys, hanging out with my family, and annoying my 3 cats.

23 thoughts on “Wanting to Be Special”

  1. I agree with your observations here. Our society and culture in this country is achievement/productivity based. What are you doing instead of who are you or just being. It sends a difficult message to our youth and I feel conditions you to always be comparing yourself against others.
    I choose to not take part in that thinking, it is self defeating and I’m all about empowering myself. Filling my soul and feeling my authentic true self is do much more gratifying. I am my own best friend. I know I am unique and special because I don’t need any external validation to prove that to myself. I know what I have endured and survived.
    Being your own best cheerleader and recognizing your own strengths is the best self love gift to yourself.
    You are special too. You are here to share tour light with others. Thank you my friend, what a good thought provoking post this is👏😁

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Glad you liked it 🙂 I was inspired by that quote from the Incredibles and just kind of wrote backwards from that lol. I learned this hard lesson at the age of 18/19, when I had worked my way up to the position of shift manager at Burger King and then was demoted to make room for the store manager’s niece to have the position. I never did anything wrong, but the position was taken from me and given to her, after I had been there around 2 years and the niece had literally just walked in the door.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ugh, that is so wrong!! I’m sorry you had that experience. Unfortunately that is also a huge influence and I believe problem here. It’s how much $ do you have and who do you know. Not your merits and hard work. It sends a big mixed message. That sucks my friend😐

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I got feedback that I was special from my parents as a kid, but from what I recall it wasn’t pegged to specific achievements. I did well in school but didn’t have to work at it, so it wasn’t something I got all that invested in. It wasn’t until after university and I started my career that it became apparent that being good at what you do is not what’s required for upward mobility. It’s still something I have a hard time wrapping my head around, because it seems like such a bad way of doing things.

    Liked by 1 person


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  4. A hard lesson to learn about a hard world. Fortunately, you are a daughter of the King. He thinks you are fantastic, and He loves you so much! Rely on Him for your worth, not the world which will let you down more than lift you up!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “From my experience, the ones most likely to succeed are the ones that have wealth and powerful families behind them”

    Maranda, I read this immediately after attending a presentation at the college I work at for the high academic achievers from last year. The students are almost all from the 1%, and accordingly their outcomes are generally excellent, which is in line with what data tells us should happen anyway.

    Their grades are read out and then the university and course they will be doing is also mentioned to applause. It is assumed they will all go to university. It is the case that majority will go on to work in finance, law and politics. Our college produces a quarter of all the top magistrates in the nation. Occasionally a student would be announced as doing a fine arts degree, or music, or acting. This was treated like some sort of risk – but I don’t see how there’s a risk when you stand to inherit hundreds of millions of dollars even if you fail as an actor, artist or musician.

    Wealth doesn’t equate success though – it just insulates them from the consequences of failure. I became a teacher because the alternative was minimum wage manual labour or starvation. Do I consider myself successful? If I do, it’s not linked to my career, my income or my car.

    People are special, people are successful when they are kind, generous, caring and compassionate. The tragedy is that you can be all these things and still be abused and destroyed by the inequity of the western world (and no doubt the rest of the world too). That’s why we need to move beyond the trite measures of success and help each other, because believe me, most of the wealthy and ‘successful’ will gladly watch us die to make another penny.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I keep trying to like this post and I un-liked it for a second accidentally because I didn’t realize I’d already succeeded in liking it, so …. yeah! I really like this post :). Identify with a lot of this. I’ve had the same dilemma: is everyone special? What does special even mean, if so? Does it matter? (I mean, I would say it doesn’t matter *much*, but try telling my emotions that!)

    It’s important to remember that, even if we’re to accept that being special matters and is a something only some people do, which I’m not at all ready to do, I am not convinced that material success is even correlated with being special (or successful) in a broader, living-a-meaningful-life, being-a-beautiful-person way. (Things I think might be correlated: making art, thinking hard, struggling against suffering and adversity — and, regarding that last, have you ever read Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl?)

    In any event, thanks for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Many people want something to believe in, rules or a code. There are books and systems and institutions from money to religion to military.

    Most people in Western world choose capitalism as their path. There are other paths to try for the dissatisfied and brave.

    A useful manual we’ve found for how to live is a DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) guide: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, etc. It doesn’t give you a purpose and sets you up beautifully to experience life.

    For a purpose, we found “positive psychology” to help people identify their passions.

    It’s hard to unlearn that which acculturated us. Wet don’t even know there are other options.

    There are. Some people probably have to be alive 40, 50, 60 years before they realize it

    Liked by 1 person

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