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Being Different and Loving It

Updated on January 23, 2021
ValKaras profile image

Val is a life-long practically oriented student of effective emotional and attitudinal responses to the many challenges of life.

Happy for Being Different  -  and Different for Being Happy
Happy for Being Different - and Different for Being Happy

If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.

-- Maya Angelou

Being Different Didn't Start as a Blessing

One of the most profound joys I derived from the realization of my being different. It didn't start as a joy though, as my family found things about that little me which they found funny enough to make me self-conscious about it.

A tiny part on the top of my ear lob was missing, because a "mouse bit it off". I could not pronounce the sound "r" in that rolling way like when you normal people say "b-r-r-r-r-." , and neither could I say "l", like in "lousy". My bottom left rib is unnoticeably double, and you can only feel it by touching. O.K., only young and cute ladies need apply for that touch.

On top of everything I had then-undiagnosed subclinical hypoglycemia, that is, my blood sugar had a tendency to drop too much, which made me really different than the rest of the kids in the neighborhood.

Namely, I had an awfully bad muscular coordination which made me prone to falling, bumping into things and tripping over my own feet. Also, I was getting tired fast. A shy, easy to cry kid, afraid of dark and strangers. Now, how is that for "different"?

And so it was until my puberty, when I suddenly grew out of the most of it. I mean, my ear lob never grew full, and I never lost that double rib. I still make jokes about my "spare rib" and my being an incarnation of Adam waiting for god to use that rib to make woman of it.

Unique in the Universe, within Our Own World
Unique in the Universe, within Our Own World

Not all who wander are lost.

-- Gandolf

It All Welled Up from Within

So much more than mere hormonal change in puberty caused that renaissance in me. Somewhere from within I got that drive to read psychology, philosophy, astronomy, medicine...I turned into a young bookworm.

Nevertheless, crazy enough to visit city cemetery at midnight by myself to get rid of the fear of dark; crazy enough to climb the forested mountain at night---just "because it was there", like somebody said it before me.

And, as some of you might be guessing, those were the years when "being different" started feeling like a gift and a blessing. A gift, because I couldn't take a credit for it, I didn't "figure it out" by a smart deduction or something -- it simply formed itself in my young soul as a "finished spiritual product".

It meant freedom...freedom to be myself, to allow the flow of experiencing, without any need for a role model, or to be like everybody else so that I could "belong". For I could still belong, never feeling alone and separate because of being different.

So early in my life I realized how easy it was to love people when I dropped my defending my being different. Then I could emotionally afford to love them, as I was no going emotionally over seeing myself with their eyes.

Somehow it didn't matter much how they saw me, I simply knew I was all right, and they were all right as well, so I just gave them the freedom to experience me their own way. All of us being different, it was normal they couldn't see me as I saw myself.

There is a great joy in that freedom, when you really start experiencing it beyond intellectual understanding. Looking in the mirror and knowing that in the whole vast universe there was no one exactly like myself, thinking, feeling, perceiving exactly as I do.

Sometimes it would give me shivers, because that meant that only I was responsible for that intimate reality. Like, no one else would know where to start, where to pick up the end of the thread in that dynamism to intervene in that inner world of mine.

Uniform Is an Insult to Individuality
Uniform Is an Insult to Individuality

Being different isn't a bad thing. It means you're brave enough to be yourself.

-- Luna Lovegood

Why Being Different Spells "Bad"

As I am observing the other folks, I can't help but smile at their desperate effort to label themselves as recognizable and acceptable, and "one of the crowd", as if insisting on a certain uniformity.

Remembering my time spent in military, nothing bothered me as much as those uniforms that were de-personalizing us into one mechanism being programmed for killing and destruction. So, honestly, nothing in my entire past didn't bring me a bigger joy than taking off that uniform and re-owning myself.

Deep down, have we really moved much in process of consciousness evolution?

That's why it took me quite a while to accept as "normal" this mass insistence on resembling someone else, to escape from one's own uniqueness and blend with the collective consciousness.

As the world is wallowing in its self-inflicted ailment called ISIS -- even sounding like ending of a diagnosis, I am letting them figure out where they went wrong -- if they are even capable or willing to face it -- and correct it. I didn't start any of it, no one had asked for my opinion before they generated a lot of hostility with their presence in a world that didn't belong to them. So I just don't see myself losing sleep over every stupidity that others are creating.

Indeed, some ethnicities, races, religions, may not like each other simply because "they have audacity to be different". Why do we see potential predators in anyone of different language, belief, opinion, even looks?

Do we have to continue this tribal mentality in which different feathers in ones' headset were enough for hating them?

Can We Match This Color-Blindness?
Can We Match This Color-Blindness?

The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before.

-- Albert Einstein

Let's Embrace the Difference

It's a pity that people can't snap out of their socially induced trance of imitating one another. They can't think for themselves, it has to be a leader, political, religious, or otherwise to tell them what's appropriate to think, feel, what to believe, what is "normal".

Without having learned from others how to emotionally respond, they would be in an emotional vacuum. They can't be original, create their own views, go intellectually adventurous and start examining all over those things that have been taken for granted for millennia. They can't invent new logic, with new sequiturs, instill new algorithms in their minds that would be their own technology of processing reality.

People can't buy flowers to their wives if it's not Valentine's Day; can't experience the idea of global harmony if it's not Christmas; can't say "I love you" to their kids except signing a card that said that for them. Why? Because it would take something like -- being different. Pity indeed.

Now, I don't know if anyone has noticed, but I am trying here to go a little deep with all this -- not merely playing an anti-social, hippy style card.

I am not merely "tolerating", or "accepting" my being different, but preferring it to being a mental copycat of anyone. Seeing people of "better" personality traits doesn't make me want to be "more like them" -- I can only strive to be the best of me.

Universe insists on diversity, not uniformity.

© 2015 Val Karas


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    • ValKaras profile imageAUTHOR

      Val Karas 

      4 years ago from Canada

      Au fait - You are so right, and I am always happy to meet another person that doesn't insist to being a carbon copy of someone else or several others, imitating something from each. Indeed, it's such a relief to allow our uniqueness to unfold and express itself freely! Thank you for commenting, and have yourself a wonderful evening - your own chosen style.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      4 years ago from North Texas

      I've always been different and never wanted to be like everyone else. There are times when I really don't want to fit in, and that works out pretty well, because rarely do I ever fit in.

      A huge burden is lifted when a person stops worrying about what other people think and live their lives in their own way as they were always meant to do.

    • Missy Smith profile image

      Missy Smith 

      5 years ago from Florida

      I think you really hit the nail on the head, Paula, when you said the void that haunts me. I think it does. I think it haunts me, because, deep down, I want what others have, but I am not willing to settle for anything less than a complete and total love from someone who wants to fight the fight with me on bad days and love me for just who I am on all other days. It haunts me, because I realize my time is running out for that, and I don't know if that person exists. However, on the other hand, I sometimes feel it's fine if they don't exist. I'm very confused on this subject at my age.

      Yes, I love these sessions I have with you and Val. Besides writing my feelings out in my poetry, these conversations that I have here also help me work my feelings and thoughts out. I appreciate both you and Val for taking the time to share your wisdom, and it means so much that you do try to put things in perspective for me.

      Peace and Love, ~Missy

    • fpherj48 profile image


      5 years ago from Carson City

      Missy.....It's much easier for someone to "see" looking in from the outside, as I'm sure you have experienced a time or 2. What jumped out at me was your statement about the ones who left you~~realizing afterward that YOU were their best chance at love & happiness~~coming back, trying to re-enter your life.

      I can't tell you how proud I am of you for not folding, Missy. You stood your ground and held your head high, which is exactly what you should have done. Perhaps you aren't even aware of WHY this was so vital......but again, because I am "looking in," I see it clearly.

      These men were not aware enough of their own emotions yet took advantage of yours. A huge sign of their mind and soul. I said before..."not as advanced as you." They hadn't the smarts nor the awareness to truly appreciate the beauty of the relationship in the moment...nor the foresight to realize how fortunate they were.....until it was too late.

      The man who will come into your life and fill that void that seems to haunt you, Missy, will be all the things the others were not. When he arrives, you'll know without a moment's hesitation that it's HIM. In the meantime, never change who you are.

    • Missy Smith profile image

      Missy Smith 

      5 years ago from Florida

      Hey Dearest Paula,

      I am so trying to let go of that part that keeps me lonely, that keeps me wondering, because like you and Val, I am the unique thinker and personality, I believe. Hey, just getting to know you both, I have learned that there just may be someone waiting out there for me. I'm not so alone in this great big world, am I? ;) Welcome to our "third thing" club, Paula. lol.

      Love to you, and thanks for another insight to the madness of this world. I enjoy it so!

    • fpherj48 profile image


      5 years ago from Carson City

      First to you Val~~I may just have to choose this particular fascinating hub as one that I have enjoyed and absorbed the most of all your writings I have read thus far.

      Why? Because I could easily and comfortably relate to every single word and thought. Being "different," an independent thinker, a trail blazer, that is utterly ME, always has been and I'm quite certain at this stage, always will be. I learned to go with my basic nature rather than fight it. I know precisely what you're saying, Val. It is a wonderful, happy and free-flowing activity, continually circulating our entire being.

      What is~~simply is and what will be, will be~~as we go forward each day, in the moment, learning, growing and most of all, sharing. This piece you've presented has given me a reconfirmation that what may seem as strange or "odd" to others around me, is absolutely pure & authentic to me. What can be more wonderful than this??

      And Missy~~I hope you don't mind if I tell you, it is not YOU who makes the mistakes or chooses from the wrong "list." Not at all... Your "peers" as you refer to them may simply not be as advanced and as wise as you. There are ideal individuals in this world for all of us. You've got the reins and you're riding the beautiful, graceful horse, dear woman.....when the time is right and all is ready to unfold, you need to trust that it will. It will be well worth the wait, the tears & the journey.........

      Peace to you both, Paula

    • Missy Smith profile image

      Missy Smith 

      5 years ago from Florida

      I think I do associate with your philosophy here in my own way, Val. I mean I do what you just said. I always, myself, did find that 'third thing' to hold onto in the relationship, but I do believe it takes two to succeed in this and the other never quite grasped this simple concept. I couldn't ever make them see...well, until they had already left me for another that they later realized had no clue. Then, that's when they would want to come back and make that change. However, I couldn't allow that; too many errors in the way they exited my life.

      Like you, I can also make friends in an elevator or even when I have to call a bill collector. lol. By the time the conversation needs to end, that person is really wanting to continue to talk to me. If it was aloud we would have exchanged Facebook information, but policy requires them to stay professional with customers. It's really too bad; I liked them. :) I often feel I am phoney for this myself, because I am, in fact, a loner type, but through many years of being treated not so well, I want to treat everyone I run into with respect, even if I never talk to them again.

      You mentioned "improvise" and I was always certainly prepared to do that, and I was consistently the one to improvise with things my partner liked that I may not have liked as much, and mind you, I acted extremely interested in whatever that was. They at no time did this with me, there was never we can do what you like today, and what I will like tomorrow, nope, always one sided. I'm just saying, I haven't been lucky enough to find what you have yet, Val, but I am certainly aware of everything you are saying here about relationships.

      I don't show my loneliness to the outside world or to my family. For the most part, I keep that to myself, and I'm happy as I go through the day with my kids. I am saying that there is this lingering inside of me though, the empty spot which is lonely, I ignore, but I wish I could have fulfilled in this lifetime.

      My family, for instance, though, know me well, they know I am who I am and no matter if they don't agree with me, or if they try to make me see their point of view on life, I will always say no thanks, I'll stick to my way. Which infuriates them, but makes me laugh. I never try to change them. Although, I will admit if I had that power, I would change a few. :):) Nah, just kidding. I wouldn't change them. I'll keep compromising with what works. They tell me how to be, I tell them no, and then the day of that is over. They are a little frustrated, and I'm a little happy that I'm secure like that.

      I really enjoy the fact that you and I have established that we have that "third thing" it makes for the best conversations ever, in my opinion. Thanks for that! ~Missy

    • ValKaras profile imageAUTHOR

      Val Karas 

      5 years ago from Canada

      Hello Missy,

      Allow me to yap a little about "loneliness". As both of us know too well, there are things that we can't share with others. My wife is of a different mentality, and so are my kids, and my friends. Now, why is it that I am not feeling lonely in my being different?

      Basically for two reasons.

      One is about being perfectly clear with the fact that ANY relationship is a chemistry created between two different people, not a reflection of who we are. It's the THIRD thing in the equation. It's about what part of ourselves, when invested into a relationship will help produce that bridge between us. So, once that we have established that connection, relationship becomes a process of discovering each other, one bit at a time.

      I have been married for 51 years, and I still have to see another marriage that's working so well like a Swiss watch. One of the main reasons has been that we are not working on our differences, but on that "third thing", that chemistry that makes our relationship functioning. You can find two intellectuals, or two psychologists who seem to "know it all" about relationships - and how many have broken marriages, because they don't nurture, they analyze.

      Then, I mentioned the second reason for not feeling lonely while in a relationship with different personalities. This one is at the core of my philosophy about "reality".

      You see, Missy, as far as my life is concerned, nobody and nothing has a suchness independent of my choice to give it one. You look at a person, and their characteristics are totally your own mind's construct. They may be ugly to everyone, but handsome to you; boring to others, but interesting and funny to you. So, we basically determine the role of someone in our life, by choosing what to see as their contribution to that relationship.

      We are not compromising our being loyal to ourselves by nurturing that "third thing", that chemistry that is neither ourselves nor themselves, but what we have created between us.

      I see it like an expression of creativity. Unless my painting is my auto-portrait, it is not "me" on that canvas, but my way of expressing myself. That's why I just can't feel lonely, because I can make almost instant friends with total strangers in the park, with people waiting in the lineup, neighbors in the elevator.

      Now, am I being "phoney" to all those people for not totally acting myself? But I AM being myself all along, JUST MEETING PEOPLE HALF WAY AND CO-CREATING SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL.

      My wife doesn't meditate, I do, so I have some moments that are respected as strictly MINE. I buy her flowers on an odd day, always thank her for having cooked a delicious dinner, give compliments, listen to her stories. I may gossip about our friends in one moment and do my invisible "alpha training" in another producing ecstatic emotions at will. Or read a book, or listen to my favorite soft classical music - which she loves too by the way. We laugh, we improvise, there are no "rules" between us.

      What I am trying to say here, Missy, that programmed and complying and brainwashed world out there is also our playground for as many constructive relationships as we care to have. My friends drink, I don't, and we may eat pizza and watch a soccer game, swear and act crazy. It's about channeling my closeness to others in an artful way. I CAN NEVER LOSE OR BETRAY THE SENSE OF WHO I AM, IT'S LIKE BREATHING WHICH I HAVE TO DO FOR MYSELF. We are all aware of our individual differences, but nurturing that "third thing", finding things that put us together, not those that take us apart.

      Do I feel lonely for not being understood and recognized for what and who I am? One big NO. Because, in the process of discovering each other I do tell them what I am all about, and they do the same, but we don't impose on each other who we are, making it a condition for having a relationship.

      So, all in all, Missy, it's all rather simple. I get emotional nourishment from others, and they are getting it from me, and no one is lonely. We don't have to identify with others - it's what we co-create with them as the "third thing" that matters.

      Here I went with another "portion" of sharing my thoughts with you. As you can see, it's not only that "I make YOU think" (sometimes) - but you make ME think as well. Now, isn't that beautiful? It's our "third thing", not exactly you in your totality, or me, but something that we have created here. - Have a wonderful evening, Missy. - Val

    • Missy Smith profile image

      Missy Smith 

      5 years ago from Florida

      Hey, my wise friend, ValKaras

      I just want to say, I feel this one. I am so much of this in so many ways. I totally get your thoughts on being yourself, as I too feel like I have transitioned into completely that, and not caring what others think. I actually think that I have always been like this, but peer pressure at some points of my young life steered my mind away from me, myself, and I, at times.

      However, I got back on the right track of that eventually. I will say, I am failing at something again that I usually just let go of. Politics!!! Politicians!!! Oh lord, help me not get involved!!! I have said my peace on our upcoming Presidential candidates, and I have posted some thoughts here and there on my Facebook page, but at present, I feel guilty to get back to the humble side of who I am. I leave it in the hands of fate now.

      You have mastered something though, that I feel I still struggle with. You mentioned people who get lonely from trying to be what they are not, and you feel that if they could set themselves free and let go of all that nonsense, then they could be happy and content not lonesome, right? Well, I agree only with half of that, but just because my own experience has taught me otherwise. Others may very well throw that demon of loneliness away when they become themselves. My loneliness has a different definition though. Unfortunately, I do feel it is freeing to love one's self, but in some of our cases that's brought more loneliness than not being lonely. I am happy with my free-spirit, and I appreciate it, or I believe my loneliness in other ways would swallow me up.

      My loneliness stems from the fact that I am unique, and will not compromise to be ordinary, and it stems from letting things go that I have no business bothering with. It's such a double standard with me, my uniqueness. It brings me release and pleasure on one hand, that I love and will never change, but it keeps loneliness at my door, as I am often shut out by my peers, and I have had to let go of loving relationships because I don't fit in with the outside world. I have done this with dignity I think, but still the lost feeling of having to let it be. It sits inside of me, and breeds this loneliness that I feel I cannot control with my process of just being me and letting it all go. The fact that love is what I crave from another, that fact to feel whole because another from the opposite sex loves me for who I am, is not happening for me. That is what hinders me from being entirely free. It's what hinders me from being unconditionally satisfied in life. It's the type loneliness, to me, that breeds in everyone no matter if they are a free-spirit, or a carbon copy of others.

      Our purpose of existence is very interesting to think about. For me, I like most of what I feel I'm here for, and that is to be me, and to be free from mainstream society's views on a corrupted life. However, I do feel lonely with that at times. I wonder if my purpose is to be an inspirational type to others, show them they too can be brave and be themselves, just as you do this as well, but unlike you, this part has doomed me to be alone my whole life when it comes to being loved.

      I don't know, as I always do, I suppose I make it more complicated than it needs to be. On some level I'm not complicated at all. My inner personal thoughts on love is what complicates my life. I need to find a way to release that, which is why writing poetry has become so important in my life. I think I'm trying to find that final release.

      Thanks for another thought provoking article here, Val. I enjoy everything you write. I believe it helps me to understand the parts in me I still need to make peace with. :)

    • ValKaras profile imageAUTHOR

      Val Karas 

      5 years ago from Canada

      Hello, Michael, it's a pleasure having you back as my most frequent commenter, and my spiritual friend. As always, thank you for nice words, and I am glad you are agreeing with me about our unique nature and purpose of our existence in this material dimension of the universal creative scheme. Be well, and continue being loyal to your own inner call that defines who you are.

    • Michael-Milec profile image


      5 years ago

      Hi Vladimir. Thoughtfully put together observation of a person ( your own) uniqueness. No wonder to me knowing-believing that the Creator doesn't make a duplicate, doesn't have a grandchildren and every single person has unique- special ability- mission to accomplish while in the body, to which each of us has to put maximum effort to succeed.

      " We know, because we are."


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