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English (US)

Be Different, But Not Separated

Aug 25 2022

The question - "Why am I strange like this?" - is constantly running around in my head. As a "black sheep" among white ones, I realized I don’t have the same interests, hobbies, or passions as those around me. I feel lonely and lost. However, I have learned to respect my differences and live a much more positive life.

The difference sometimes comes from being the only Asian in an all-European school. The difference also stems from how my thoughts, behaviors and interests always differ from the majority. It makes me lonely because of not being understood. I have difficulty getting close to anyone because I don't have anything in common with them. Therefore, I have very few friends.

In a society where the majority prevails over the minority, I used to try to be like everyone else: Wear trendy clothes, join the “chat”, and pretend that I’m interested in the conversation, like what everyone else likes, even ignoring things that are unpleasant to me and pretending to be "normal." What is the result? It makes me feel terrible. It only emphasizes: “I am different, and I think people don’t like the real me.”

However, practicing self-love made me realize that this difference is a gift. Each of us is a unique entity or a “limited edition” of our own. We experience and perceive things differently; that's what makes this life interesting and colorful.

I am no longer afraid to show my unique personality. Instead of being self-deprecating, I love the things that make me different from everyone else. Since then, I suddenly found like-minded people. We have found a flock of "black sheep" and no longer feel lonely or lost.

I focus on the good qualities that make me who I am and use my knowledge and confidence to break the stereotypes of those around me. Every time I feel that "different" is "bad," I tell myself that I don't need anyone's "permission" or "acceptance" to be myself. The less you care what other people think of you, the happier you will be. No matter how different I am from everyone else, I still need love and recognition. Also, I still feel sadness, joy, hope and despair. Therefore, it turns out that I also have a lot in common with everyone!

Eleanor Roosevelt, the former wife of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, once said: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Always remember this saying every time someone wants to lower your value just because of your difference. We are the ones who have the right to determine our worth.

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