We’ve probably all acknowledged at some time the sentiment; ‘life would be pretty boring if we were all the same!’ and that will have
been at the point when we accept that it’s ok to be different. It may have been said, however, on behalf of somebody else and when it comes to accepting our own difference it can be harder.
Of course it’s not that we want to be exactly the same as other people, but most of us take some reassurance that we share many qualities, behaviours and aspirations.
Many of these may be relatively easy to witness, but not so with thoughts and feelings: When we are experiencing unhelpful feelings like guilt, anxiety, worry, fear, or frustration we often feel very alone.
Our focus shifts inwards and our unhelpful thoughts are magnified as we imagine we are the only ones having these feelings: We may feel guilty because we don’t want to look after our children full time, or because we are not content with our ‘lot’ when we know it’s already much better than others’; We may fear that we will be exposed for the inadequate employee that we sometimes consider we are or that we will look stupid if we don’t get a job we apply for; We may feel confused because we are not feeling fulfilled even though we seem to have met other people’s expectations or frustrated because we are repeating the same limiting behaviour patterns.
Even when we know others share these feelings of fear, guilt etc. in a very general sense, it is common to hang on to our specific ones very possessively, not because we want them, but because we feel we need or deserve to have them. Sharing them can feel like exposure and yet keeping them private allows them to become embedded, accepted as truths instead of the beliefs or feelings that they are.
Truths cannot be changed, beliefs and feelings most certainly can. However, before they can be changed they need to be acknowledged as such and that involves a degree of self acceptance as well as awareness.
The amazing thing is that when our feelings and beliefs are aired, acceptance can come quite quickly and then we are ready to move on, to change things in the way we want. We each of us have it within us to choose the way we think.