The Value in Being Different

“I was not born in this country. I didn’t grow up in any one particular religion and I’m gay.” I knew after hearing Wentworth say this that I was not alone and that I have the power to share my story and inspire people to value their uniqueness and learn to accept who we are as individuals.

I was 18 years old the first time watching Wentworth Millers’ speech about overcoming his struggles and what it was like for him being “different.” I’ve always had the feeling of being singular and different, growing up being a shy and quiet person, but some say they are some of the kindest people in the world. Why has it been so difficult for me to accept myself being “different”? There is great value in our differences, but I needed to accept the individual person that I am, and what makes me authentic.

The world tends to see what is different as something ugly and wrong as if anything “abnormal” is something needing to be fixed.

In high school, I wanted to feel like I was a part of something. I wanted to feel like I wasn’t singular or different. I tried hard to fit in, but trying to be something I wasn’t was emotionally draining for me. I had turned into this person I didn’t like for the purpose of trying to fit in, but at the same time I hated what I was, I hated being oversensitive, stupid, a daydreamer, and sad. I couldn’t stand being different and showing it to the world.

As teenagers, our worth is determined by the acceptance of society. I had to understand that criticism came not because I was wrong or different but because everyone has their own way of thinking and acting. Some people have a limited mindset that creates an inability to accept other differences. That was not my problem.

My problem was that I had given other people the power to control my self-esteem instead of finding acceptance and love within myself. I have had to start to forgive and love myself and look at myself through my eyes.

I have come to realize that I am beautiful just the way I am. Everyone is different in some way or another and there are few people who show it to the world. I challenge you to be beautifully different.

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