Monday, November 16, 2015

What Makes You Different Can Make You Great

High school is often a fun yet turbulent time for many teenagers. I can remember my own high school years and it was filled with a variety of different and challenging experiences. In particular, I never really felt like I fit in with the typical high school experience. I was never wild, mischievous, immature or prone to impulsive decision making. As a high school student I was very interested in excelling in my school work, being responsible and spending time having deep conversations with adults. I rarely spent time with other people my age outside of the confines of school. I just didn't have much in common with people my age. 

It certainly made me different from my peers and that was not easy. It made the social part of high school very awkward and unappealing to me. It was so uncomfortable that I used to eat lunch by myself and I never went to any high school dances. I just couldn't identify with people my age because I had more in common with people who were in their 30's and 40's. That also made dating in my very early 20's challenging as well. I remember talking to my mother about this and it really got to me. I felt out of place...like a misfit...like I didn't belong in that time of life. My mother said something that stuck with me. She said one day people will appreciate the person you are. She said don't change. Be yourself. I don't even think my mother knows this, but I really needed to hear that. It gave me confidence to say its OK to not be into the things other people my age were into. That conversation launched me into the life I lead now. I am so thankful for that. Thank you mom!

And the real lesson of this is that its really OK to be yourself even if that means no one understands you. The quirky, strange and odd things about you can also be your greatest strengths in life. It can one day lead you to do incredible things. I know for me, the support of my mother, father, brother and many other key people in my formative years helped me greatly. I met my future wife in my mid 20's, discovered my dream job in my late 20's and adopted a beautiful little girl in my early 30's. Its been a wonderful ride that I certainly hope continues. 

So, whatever makes you weird, funny, edgy, eclectic or whatever ...embrace it. Grow whatever positive things that make you different into a life filled with rich and deep experiences. Support others as well who need your encouragement to be who they are because you are GOOD ENOUGH. I love to embrace others who are different than me. In fact I have a staff full of amazing people who are so different, complex and strange. I love their uniqueness and I celebrate it because what makes you different can also make you great.

Until next time...

Dr. D
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