Everyone wants to be considered different. For employers, schools and suitors around us, emphasis is placed on having something about you that is unique. Bosses seek employees who can bring something new to their company or brand. Nobody wants to hear the same proposal or strategy twice, especially with the flux of knowledge and information already floating around the Internet. People associate being the same with being boring and in terms of the work force or finding your future lover people definitely don’t want to be boring.
Creating lines and boundaries between each other seems to be a common practice among people in an attempt to get ahead. While we’re etching divides and calling ourselves brighter, smart, blonde or interesting, we are only pulling ourselves further away from making a connection with the people around us.
Country lines, religion lines, ethnicity lines and race lines were all drawn with particular attention to differences. Which continent the country is in, which denomination your religion is in are all things that people use to divide themselves even further.
What purpose does this serve for us? When we constantly point out miniscule differences between each other, why are we doing it? Does it make us feel more or less unique?
With roughly 6 billion people on the planet, there will obviously be something different about everyone. There is no way 6 billion people can be identical and any logical person can understand that.
So why do we continue to note and reveal how we’re different?
Perhaps we use it as a defensive wall for those who threaten us. When people try to hurt us, we can use our differences as a defense mechanism. However, this only further alienates us from our peers. We should be using our similarities in order to bond with those who may threaten us.
Moreover, in order to stand out, perhaps we should find ways to fit in. When you’re interviewing for a job and you mention you are affiliated with Greek life, they may be intrigued and interested in you if they were also affiliated.
If you grew up in California and so did your future employer, bonding over it may increase your chances of getting the job.
Perhaps we should be using our similarities to our advantage and boast about those similarities.
And the end of the day, we are all human. While this seems like a blatant statement, it is easy for some of us to forget. The quote “walk a mile in their shoes” should be considered here. We all do things we are ashamed of, we all have regrets and we all have a breaking point. When you’re in the other position, you sometimes forget that the same can happen to you. In the Tuesday, April 26column, “What does Forgiveness Mean To You?” Oriana Pawlyk wrote, “Once you see humility in other person, you can forgive.”
While the girl across the hall from you is sobbing and ruining your night’s sleep, remember the night you sobbed. While you are yelling at your friend for breaking your trust, remember the time you broke hers. We all suffer the same emotions and deal with similar insecurities. All we can do is be there for each other.
So, the next time you take out your pencil and try to draw a line between yourself and someone else, erase it and share yourself with someone who may not be that different at all.