It’s Okay to be Different If…

I’ve got this blog post bubbling around in my head, it has been percolating there for over a week now, waiting a time when it can make good its escape.  First, there was the noise and chaos of the school holidays. Then our internet access disappeared. Now my head is stuff full of cotton wool as the beginnings of a head cold start to suck away at my brain cells.   The poor blog post has almost given up the battle and is crawling out through my fingers and into the keyboard in fits and starts, limping its way to something hopefully coherent…. is it possible to be coherent when you’ve been averaging 2-3 hours sleep a night for some days?  Who knows, let’s dive in and give it a go before the blog post floats away into the ether of my subconscious.

Recently Annie and I went to see “How to Train Your Dragon” at the cinema, it was a fantastic movie and we both really enjoyed it.  I used the protagonist’s story to talk to Annie about how he was ‘different’ from his peers and that was okay and good.  But it still something wasn’t sitting right, the moral of the story as with so many movies was that it is okay to be different, as long as you do something spectacular and gain the people’s ovation and fame forever (why yes I may have been watching Iron Chef recently.)

Why is it not okay to be different and live an ordinary happy and fulfilled life.  Why is it only okay to be different when you are the hero/heroine?

I feel sometimes like I’m setting my girls up for failure – see the hero, he thinks differently too, isn’t it wonderful.  Oh look he saved the world and now all those people who ignored him/bullied him/didn’t talk to him, now they are his friends and it doesn’t matter that he thinks differently.  Why-why-why. … yeah, I know it makes good tv/movie but still this is not the message I want my children to take away.  Sure I’d love for my girls to be out there doing amazing world saving things but I’d like for them to be accepted for who they are first, not be going out to save the world to justify their existence in it.

I was talking to a friend about this and she said it was the classic Ugly Duckling tale.  The duckling is ostracized and teased for being ugly and is not accepted until it changes itself into a beautiful swan.  Whilst the duckling’s personality remains the same it had to change its external appearance to be acceptable to the majority – it was not okay for the duckling to be different. If the duckling had just been accepted for who he was then he would have been saved a childhood (ducklinghood?) full of pain and exclusion.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the world could see past the different to the beautiful child inside?  Let’s tell the world that it is okay to be different and just live a normal ordinary happy life, without having to go out and save the world.  Accept our peers for who they are, embrace their differences.

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0 thoughts on “It’s Okay to be Different If…

  • September 10, 2010 at 7:32 am
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    “but you can change somewhat the goals of the person who is different. There are many people who have been lonersout of choice, they prefer their own company or that of a small group of people and find their fulfillment in things that they do whether its a talent, work or hobbies. Perhaps that’s a direction to explore. “

    A better approach would be to teach her that other people have rights too (like the right to choose who to be friends with) and help her learn more social skills (so she can improve her chances of people whom she likes liking her back and wanting to be friends with her).  Pressuring someone who wants friendship to be a loner sucks (I know how much it sucks firsthand – my parents paid lip service to social stuff but kept pestering me to follow advice that would make me a loner)!  It’s at least as bad as pressuring a loner to want to have friends.

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  • September 6, 2010 at 12:25 am
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    It is ok to be different and live an ordinary happy and fulfilled life. In fact, different or not, that’s what just about everyone strives for. Why would you care about difference if you were happy and fulfilled?

    The thing is being different and living an ordinary life that could be a lot more happy and fulfilling if it wasn’t for the social difficulties.

    Casual acceptance isn’t so hard to find, true friendship and love are harder but possible too. Its just that huge part of life between the casual acceptance and the true friendship that is missing. The lack of a group of people for general social interaction definitely detract from a completely happy and fulfilling life.  

    You can’t change the entire human race and make them want to hang out with someone they don’t feel fits in, but you can change somewhat the goals of the person who is different. There are many people who have been lonersout of choice, they prefer their own company or that of a small group of people and find their fulfillment in things that they do whether its a talent, work or hobbies. Perhaps that’s a direction to explore. 

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  • September 5, 2010 at 10:05 am
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    Being different is no way bad as it is. This is something acknowledged by my friends but my parents did not get it. Just because I do thing people don’t do doesn’t mean that thing isn’t right.

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  • September 4, 2010 at 10:32 pm
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    “I used the protagonists story to talk to Annie about how he was ‘different’ from his peers and that was okay and good. But it still something wasn’t sitting right, the moral of the story as with so many movies was that it is okay to be different, as long as you do something spectacular and gain the peoples ovation and fame forever (why yes I may have been watching Iron Chef recently.)”

    @leechbabe: Did you talk with Annie about how some non-protagonists were different too and that was okay and good too?  Fishlegs was different from the other kids in his own way.  The two-headed Zippleback was? were? different from the other dragons in its? their? own way.  The Monstrous Nightmare was different from the other dragons in its own way.  Gobber was different from the other adults in his own way.  None of the girls were the same, both were different from each other.  🙂

    “The duckling is ostracized and teased for being ugly and is not accepted until it changes itself into a beautiful swan…”

    @leechbabe: like until it changes itself into not being different from other swans.  :(As if it was only okay for the “duckling” to look that way during its youth if he was with other goslings who looked like him instead of ducklings who looked different from him.

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