The fight for difference has appeared throughout my life in a multitude of ways. Fighting to make a difference in the world, fighting to value my own differences and more recently fighting to celebrate the differences that allow people to change the world; bringing their own fire to light up the universe in new ways.
“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” –Dr. Seuss
The pressures of society encourage us, both directly and indirectly, to “fit in”. It’s easy to believe that the more differences we have, the more difficult it will be for us to connect. To buy into the lesson that fear hopes we believe: if we are different from each other we can’t possibly belong to each other. Or maybe fear wants us to believe we don’t have enough love or energy to celebrate everyone’s differences. A message easy to believe when we live in a world seemingly defined by scarcity (more on this and related topics from one of my favorite people, Brené Brown, here: Blog Post and TED Talk) – but fear doesn’t tell the whole truth. Fear does have important messages to serve as reminders along the way, but fear does not need to be the only input. Because, at the end of the day, there will always be just enough. Enough love to allow for differences to be celebrated, enough space for everyone to show up and be seen and enough connection to create strong communities full of stronger individuals.
“Love is not either/or. Love is both/and” –The Compassion Collective
Strength in communities is created not despite our differences – but as a result of our differences. Beautiful music does not evolve from the same note only being performed louder, but rather different notes harmonizing together. The harmony is what creates the magic; the harmonies that emerge throughout melodies fortify the impact of the music. And the same is true for communities. Harmonize with your community – don’t just play the same note. Fight to value the differences while encouraging growth and strength. The differences allow communities to grow from a variety of skills – and all of those skills working together broadens the impact we make on the world. And if we all bring our own unique light to the table, our impact can light a much larger spectrum of the world instead of just one small fragment.
“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” – Marianne Williamson
As you step into the world and find your tribe – please remember to celebrate your differences. Because if we all fit perfectly together, there would be no need for change. No need for the pieces of the puzzle to rearrange and shift to allow for just enough space that each unique piece can fill. The misfits drive the transformation and the differences create opportunities to change the world. Every moment you celebrate your differences it shows the other seemingly misfit souls searching for their tribe that they are allowed to honor their own light. And reminds them that we need their differences to change the world. Don’t hide your differences – make a difference so everybody can find just the space they belong.
Over and Out,