Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective precious…In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another. — Carl Sagan
When we are young we often disdain the idea of being different from others. As we grow older we revel in the idea of being unique. It is a lovely thought indeed that each of us is as individual as a snowflake. There is one and only one of us in all the universe, which makes each person a treasure not to be taken for granted. What a wonderful thought it is to be so special, so why is it that we sometimes engage in self hate and negativity?
There is certainly nothing wrong with wanting to improve ourselves. We study so that we might increase our knowledge or learn a new skill. We eat well and exercise to make the most of the bodies that we have. We have fun trying new things with our hair or using makeup to highlight our best features. We involve our minds in spiritual pursuits as a way of finding our inner essences. With the right attitude we grow in wisdom and grace and become better versions of ourselves.
Of course we are never quite perfect. Each of us has flaws, but those things need not define who we are. I once read an interview with Kiera Knightly in which she laughed at the idea of being beautiful. She pointed out all of the physical imperfections that she has, none of which I had ever before noticed. The sum total of her parts are in fact lovely, and those little problems that she notes as she gazes in the mirror matter little to those of us who think of her as being a very pretty woman.
We are all influenced by popular culture. We strive to be in style even when doing so is not particularly comfortable. We wear ridiculous clothing and shoes that almost deform our aching feet. We diet to the point of starving ourselves lest someone see us as a bit too full figured. We engage in group think, fearful of developing our own ideas. We wonder what others are thinking about us when in all probability they are not thinking of us at all.
I used to be so self conscious, believing that somehow I might become the subject of ridicule. I was once going to perform in a talent show and I almost became sick with nervousness even though I was part of a large chorus. My mother quite wisely told me that in all likelihood the only people who would even see me would be my family and a few of my closest friends. Of course, she was right. As I think of events over the years I realize that the only people that I actually remember are the ones that I already loved and cherished. There was no need for me to worry at all, just as she said.
Most of the time what makes someone appear to be outstanding has very little to do with appearance or even level of intelligence and more to do with how they interact with the people around them. Someone who is generous, kind, and interested in others becomes beautiful and exciting in our minds. Just seeing them smile at us or listen to our cares and concerns makes them wonderful in our eyes. True beauty is actually much more than skin deep.
Approaching the world with optimism and genuine concern for others brings out the best in each of us. We need not follow the crowd. In fact, we always seem to admire those who march to their own drumbeats, unwilling to conform to the demands of society. Each of us should be proud of our uniqueness. It is what makes us special in billions of galaxies. It is in our differences that we are at our very best. Celebrate who you are every single day.