By Evan Parente
long time no see. I am here to talk to you about two things today: 1) I am not dead 2) how you can be thankful for your differences.
In the spirit of thanksgiving, what better time for us to be thankful. Because it is just that time of year, I invite you all to join me as we reflect on the things we are thankful for and why that should include our differences
Often when we address our differences, we address them with resentment or anger because that is often what they make us feel towards them. We blame them for being the reason the world treats us different from others and perhaps we are right to do so.
OUR DIFFERENCES ARE A PART OF WHO WE ARE
Differences are often our traits. It is our traits, external and internal, that are the makeup of us as a person. By that logic would it be correct to say that our traits are what make us who we are. And therefore, it would be wrong to say that our differences do not make us who we are.
In addition to this, not everyone is born the same. Some are born to poor families some are born to rich ones. Some are born in cold places and some are born in hot places.
Often we think our differences prevent us from being ourselves. Ironically, our differences are what make us who we are, and the things that more than anything: sets us apart from our peers, often in good ways.
More on that in the next reason…
OUR DIFFERENCES MAKE US MORE INTERESTING
If you’re differences are what subject you to things like discrimination, bullying or poor performance, you likely don’t find your differences more interesting. In these cases, you’d probably hate having these differences and resent them for the way you believe (perhaps reasonably) they changed the way people see you.
Yet, come college application season or time to apply for a job and people are trying to find all the ways that they aren’t like the rest of their peers. Those people who like you, probably tried very hard to be like everybody else, are pulling teeth to try to find the ways they aren’t like every other rich privileged kid seeking higher education.
This is because our differences make us not like everybody else. While they do negative things for you like show to your classmates that the pitch of your voice is higher than theirs, it can do positive things such as show a college admissions officer that you have talent that most of your peers do not have.
Don’t say that your differences are the bane of your existence, some would argue they are the very heart and soul of it.
YOU’D HATE BEING LIKE EVERYONE ELSE
Where do I even start with this?
As cliché or annoying as this question may be, can you imagine living in a world where we all were the same. We all looked the same, walked the same, talked the same and woke up and went to sleep doing all the same things, doesn’t that sound horrible?
You would never be able to do anything you truly loved, or try out the things you personally find interesting.
We’d all look like a giant population of the shining twins.
When the times comes for college applications or a job interview, how would you possibly differentiate yourself from other prospective clients or students. There would be nothing to make you different from every other same haired, same eyes, same height doppelganger of yours with good academic credentials and stellar awards and recognitions.
Be thankful for what you have that differentiates you from other people the same as you, you’ll appreciate it more than you think you will in life.
OUR DIFFERENCES CAN HELP YOU SUCCEED
For many people who are different (especially ones who suffer because of it), their differences can be the starting point for a new career or the basis/foundation of a company.
People who suffer because of their differences or know of someone who has suffered due to their differences has a fresher/more differentiated perspective of discrimination and understand how severe of a disadvantage it can place others at.
Whether it is not having a leg, lack of marital rights or legal inability to say what is on your mind when you want, you as a person who has suffered because of their difference and/or has seen others suffer because of a difference that you also have, you are capable of bringing great things to the table that can change the way people like you are treated in this world.
By taking your mistreatment because of your differences with a pinch of salt, you may discover a passion you never had. A desire to change the way people like you are treated—both inside and outside of your community.
You will encounter some people who will tell you that your differences will prevent you from succeeding. Like actress Elliot page from The Umbrella Academy who was told that “nobody can know you are gay.” That this difference would be the thing that would cause Page’s success to come to a permanent halt.
But it wasn’t. Embracing their differences did not break their success, if anything, it increased their success and made it greater than it ever had been before.
Don’t be afraid of your differences. Embrace them and be thankful for the things they can do for you. There’s a lot in your life that you will one day thank them for.