“And here comes the snow… A language in which no word is ever repeated.”
The sky was filled with falling snow starting at 10 PM on Friday night. It snowed and it snowed….until Saturday late into the evening. It was the most snow we’ve seen in Virginia in a very long time – between 20 – 24″. We got 19″ in Alexandria. They even declared it a blizzard.
Watching those snowflakes reminded of a book called Snowflakes that I once picked up in the bookstore. As I stood in the aisle of the bookstore, flipping through the book, I found myself utterly fascinated by the images of snowflakes, each unique and each so magically beautiful. (If you haven’t already clicked on the link, check out Snowflakes on Amazon and “Click to Look Inside” to see some of the images from the book.)
Of course, this brings me back to the analogy between snowflakes and people. While there are many similarities between us as human beings, just like those little flakes of snow, we are really quite unique.
However, snowflakes rarely fall individually. They usually cling together and fall in a big clump. So true, it is for us too. We are individuals yet society wants to put us into nice tidy categories so we can understand them better. It’s always so much easier when we can describe someone by their appearances, skills or qualities.
Unfortunately, we can’t really put people as neatly into boxes as we’d like to. Thankfully, we are a little more complex than that! Even the most patient person can get frazzled at times. The sweetest person can lose her temper. Every person, every situation, is different.
Instead of trying put people into categories, we should embrace them for who they are.
What would happen if we viewed people the same way as an exotic flower or a wild animal – waiting to learn about them and their beauty instead of making assumptions based on their appearance or our preconceived notions of what a human of their age, gender, ethnicity, religion… should be like?
Here a five ways to celebrate the uniqueness in others and yourself.
1. Be open-minded. It’s easy to look for similarities you have with someone else. However, when you open your mind to someone’s differences you just may get a better appreciation and awareness.
2. Be an independent thinker. You may find yourself going with the flow without really thinking for yourself. It may be tempting to think negatively of a person, if you hear someone talking about him that way. Stop and think about how unique people are. You’ll probably realize that it’s best to assess others for yourself.
3. Don’t be presumptuous. Do you make assumptions about someone very quickly after meeting them? It takes time to get to know someone and all of their idiosyncrasies.
4. Don’t be judgmental. When you meet someone for the first time, it can be so easy to judge them based on appearance alone, but think about how that would make you feel. Would you like to be judged based only on your appearance? Aren’t you more complex than that? I’m sure you are and people are not as simple as we’d like to think.
5. Embrace the unknown. We are often quick to put people into categories because we are scared of not knowing who they are. Just because something is different or unexplainable to you doesn’t mean it’s negative.
Celebrate the ways we are all unique. All of our differences are awesome and it’s so important to see the positive in them.
We are all snowflakes. We are independent of one another and yet drawn to each other. Remember the uniqueness in others and, just as importantly, remember it in yourself. There is no one — and never, ever will be anyone — just like you.
How do you celebrate the absolute awesomeness of being uniquely you?
What tactics do you use to remind yourself that others are unique?