You’re not special, you’re unique

I want to speak about your uniqueness today because that is one of the most misunderstood concepts these days. 

As a link to the last couple of episodes where I spoke of envy, your lack of seeing the uniqueness in you and cherishing it, is what creates the feeling of envy in the first place. 

So if we hear that and then take a look at social media, we could potentially argue that there should not be any envy these days since everyone seems to be screaming on the top of their lungs just how darn special they are. 

Except that they are not being authentic. And here is why I can say that.

The extreme extroversion, the exhibitionism actually that we see on social media is not for your uniqueness as much as it is a fear of being ordinary. Because we have been taught since childhood – and when I say “we”, I mean generation Y and Z, born from 1980 and on – that we are extraordinary. That we can achieve anything we set our minds to. But actually what that really creates is that in order to be worthy, we need to BE extraordinary. Being ordinary means that we are not deserving of attention and as we all know by now, attention means belonging, means love. 

More than that, we are taught that life is supposed to be perfect, that our parents are flawless (try to live up to the super parents we had just seems to be the unattainable goal in life. And it is unattainable because, guess what? They weren’t flawless). 

It’s the story of the Golden child and the Scapegoat. One of them can’t seem to get anything wrong whereas the other never gets it right. And here’s the irony : it creates the same shame in both of them. If you are set for success, it’s important to never disappoint. If you feel as if you were the victim of blame, it will become your battle to show that you are good and worthy.

Both will seek to get the approval. And that approval is a hit and miss anyway because what you want to be approved of is that you are worthy but what you have been taught is that you need to produce or achieve to get it. So we have misunderstood the value of our BEING for the value of our DOING. 

The number of people I see who claim that they feel lost, lack of direction and without a purpose is enormous of course because if the whole journey was set by parents saying we could become something really big and important then we have spent so much time trying to figure if we can find that really important thing to be, without ever actually asking ourselves if we want it. 

We have taken on the rules of the family. And those rules weren’t even the reality for the family, they were all broken dreams and desires of our parents now trying to live through their children to feel that their lives weren’t failures after all. 

Am I painting a dark picture here? Well, just have a look at the kind of things we were fed with on TV during our childhood and teens as being “what it is to be an adult”. A group of friends that never really seemed to work but still lived in the most desirable places, had beautiful big houses, spent most of their time in a cafe, hanging by the pool or on the beach. Eating the standard american diet for a living yet with bodies having eating disorders written all over them. 

It is confusing when we leave the safety of our parents home and realise we will actually have to work really hard, not enjoy the work so much maybe and live in a place that simply corresponds to our budget and not our desires. 

All the while we are building up the protecting wall around our vulnerable hearts since no one can find out that we are not the superhumans we were told to be. 

Trying to live up to an ideal that actually never existed in the first place is just an equation for burn out. And adding on the last 15 years of instagram and now tiktok etc, it has escalated. Because the ultimate success would be to let everyone know just how much we achieved and so being on TV used to be proof that someone had made it. With social media, everyone got a shot at “being on TV” because now everyone could “broadcast themselves”. And then it went so far that unless you were broadcasting yourself, whatever you did wouldn’t matter. Because no one would know. 

“If a tree falls in the forest but no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound?”

Unfortunately, our parents did not want us to feel the pressure of being extraordinary. Instead they wanted us to feel what they didn’t feel. That everything can happen. That it is possible.

They wanted us to believe in our future. 

And the sad truth is that all along we missed to realise that doing isn’t the same thing as being. 

When we are convinced that our worth is dependent on what we do, then everything in our day becomes a means to an end. “Will this serve me somehow?” If not, we don’t waste our time on it.

We don’t stop to smell the roses because we can’t use that smell to make a post. We can sometimes feel so good in a moment of radical presence and as soon as we become aware of it, we lose it because we are already planning what we will do with this insight. 

As if the insight itself, just by me in my own world was not enough. And of course it isn’t since I have not practised feeling enough just by being me. Yet it creates a really narrow world. We feel really small since we spend our days trying to figure out what we can do to improve ourselves. Yes, there is self absorption in self development. There is narcissism in selfie obsession. But for the opposite reason you often seem to think. Not because they are convinced that they are the best in the world but because they fear deep down that they are nothing at all. 

You see, the uniqueness that I’m talking about is not only in you but also in the present moment. And if the present moment is only a means to an end, life becomes very poor. If we would use that time where we are just waiting for something, like waiting for the bus to see the uniqueness in the now, our world would open up. If we would engage with the cashier at the shop for a second, if we would smile at the waiter or clerk at the post office, we would have an interaction. Even if it is very short and even if we will never see them again. There will be a connection. There will be expansion and we realise that this person is actually a whole universe in themselves. This person is as unique as a snowflake. 

What we have misunderstood is that extraordinary is what everyone is just by being a person. Because there is not really anything ordinary about anyone. But for us to realise that there is nothing ordinary about anything we would have to put the small child goggles on again, before the conditioning that we have to be so special came on. A small child is curious about everything in its surroundings, it will smile at the bus driver and it will chat to the lady next to you at the baker’s. We have to be so very open to what we have in front of us that we are not expecting it or wanting it to be different in any way.

Have you noticed how some of us (maybe you!) will tend to find imperfections with anything new they encounter? It’s the renovation where they missed this and that or the outfit that would have needed a slight adjustment. If we are not the one but instead being exposed to someone like this, we might think that they are just being plain mean. But it’s so ingrained in their system that they are not capable of seeing the bigger picture. Just like a chef will not be able to sit down in someone’s restaurant for a meal without evaluating if the ratio of salt versus sour or sweet is the right one. If it has been cooked at the right time, too long or not enough. And the reason it’s impossible is because there has been conditioning. For the professional it’s a question of training but for the person always criticising is the constant striving for perfection since only perfection will be worthy enough. What happens is that we scan the environment with the measuring stick but of course, we are totally missing out on what is happening. We do this with each other as well. The commitment phobe that will get a hang up on something their partner said or did in order to convince themselves that they have to break up. 

Now if we do this to situations, environments and to other people, what do you think we do to ourselves?

It’s the constant scanning for errors. How can I find the flaws before someone else sees them so I make sure to not be exposed to other people’s judgement. 

And once again we are not understanding just how much we sabotage ourselves by doing so. You see, it is only when we allow ourselves to expose our flaws that we are being vulnerable. And only when we are vulnerable can we actually create an intimate experience with another. 

If there is no vulnerability, there is no connection. 

If you lack connection in your life, you can be sure that it is due to a difficulty to be intimate, to be vulnerable, to be flawed. Mostly it’s because we do not dare to think that we would be loved, that someone will accept us when we are not perfect. But the actual uniqueness of you is actually often the imperfections you so crave to erase. 

Hi, I’m Charlotte (Yogi Cha). I’m a yoga teacher with a degree in clinical psychology. I’ve always had a deep curiosity toward eastern and western approaches to understanding the mind, and the ming/body union. You’ll find me in the lovely Canggu Bali, nestled amongst coconuts, palm trees and sunshine 🥥🌴🌞



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