I grew up thinking I was special. Perhaps this is common for only children growing up in an environment that requires no sharing and has no competition, but special became a label I felt I needed to live into. I used the weight of my belief to drive me in school to be the best. I hung onto the label of special feeling that I could earn my feelings of worth by wrapping myself up in it. Academic awards and scholarships helped me to keep the illusion alive. It then took a new form when I was modeling and found myself appearing on billboards and magazine covers.
I didn’t see the downside of my misunderstanding. I couldn’t see the harmful pressure associated with trying to be different and stand out, and I didn’t recognize that I was misguided in believing that I needed to be special in order to be good enough. I was blind to my coping mechanism of trying to be special as a way to escape my feelings of unworthiness.
Consequently, I had an aversion to being normal and ordinary. I pushed myself to live life on the edge. I took risks and was in constant motion on my quest to be better. I remember a therapist once saying to me, “You are special.” My eyes lit up thinking I was finally being validated. At last I had arrived somewhere. Then he said, “And so is everyone.” He saw me. He saw how I was suffering from thinking I was different. I woke up to the trap.
I am now in recovery from thinking I am special. I see the layers and layers of thinking I had about myself that separated me from experiencing my true nature more fully and from connecting with people and life. I feel embarrassed as I look back on my need to feel better than, but I also have compassion knowing that this was my best attempt to deal with feeling less than.
As with any recovery, it is a process and not an arrival. I know I still have my blind spots, and I am so grateful to the understanding of the Three Principles that helps me to keep waking up more fully to the oneness of humanity. The recognition that we all create our experience in the same way, there is no difference, we all have the same fundamental human experience underneath all of our differences shrinks “me” down to size so I can see the power of being part of a “we”. Yes, we all have different life circumstances to navigate, but we also all have the same innate capacity to access the source of who we are. That is the ultimate equality. We all have access to the infinite potential of our true nature. It is us.
It is easy, however, to get pulled into the noise of our insecure thinking and to forget we are all equal, but unique emanations of one source. I know I can find myself getting caught up in comparison and the resulting experience of not feeling good enough when I decide I don’t measure up. These negative feelings are now not something I need to avoid or get rid of. They are actually welcome feedback reminding me that I am looking for something I already have outside of myself. I will never find it out there because it exists within me. It exists within all of us.
Seeing that is enough for me to take myself less seriously when I suffer and get caught up in my external quest to feel good enough. I find myself slipping down the slope of comparison on a regular basis. But I am better at seeing it for what it is, and not resorting to my old ways of pushing myself harder or trying to prove my worth. I see I am simply looking for external validation rather than feeling the truth of who I am.
I thought it would be scary to realize I am ordinary and not special, but seeing my sameness has actually been liberating. When I see that every single one of us is in the same boat, no matter who we are, Donald Trump, Dalai Lama, inmate in prison. Underneath all of our surface differences, we are all the same. We all create our experience in the same way. We all get caught up in insecure thoughts. We all have the same source and capacity to experience our infinite potential. We have everything we need inside of us.
Knowing this is freedom. It is a gift to drop into the simplicity of my humanity and just be myself. It helps me to see the truth that everybody is doing the best they can with their understanding in the moment. We are all in this together. It only makes sense then that we can make the best of this human experience through supporting each other. If one person is suffering, we are all suffering. There can be no winners and losers. We are either all winning, or we are all losing.
As I see this, I cannot stand in judgment of another. I may not condone their behavior. I may even be sickened by it and deeply pained by it, but I cannot stand in judgment of them. What this leaves room for is compassion and wisdom. It leaves more space for love and the feeling of my true nature. It is an experience that wants to be shared. It is a feeling that grows deeper the more I express it and give it away.
I see now how my desire to be special was not just toxic to myself, but also to society as well. Me being consumed with trying to feel okay by proving my worth externally kept me separate and self-focused. I was too worried about how I was doing and how was I looking to be willing to authentically share myself. I am getting better at getting over myself and putting my thoughts out there in ways I hope educate, engender hope, and inspire you to do the same.
Change starts with all of us waking up more fully to our true nature and seeing we are enough. The more we know who we are, the less distorted our thinking is, and as a result, the more healthy and productive our behavior becomes. It is in seeing beyond our uniqueness and specialness to the magnificence of our oneness that we connect more deeply with the peace and potential that is our true nature. Who you are is a gift to humanity — exactly as you are. Feel the freedom of sharing yourself with the world.
Rohini Ross is passionate about helping people wake up to their true nature. She is a psychotherapist, a transformative coach, and author of Marriage (The Soul-Centered Series Book 1). She has an international coaching practice helping individuals, couples, and professionals embrace all of who they are so they can experience greater levels of wellbeing, resiliency, and success. She also co-facilitates The Space Mastermind for Solopreneurs and The Engaged Space with Barb Patterson. You can follow Rohini on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, watch her Vlogs with her husband, Angus Ross, and subscribe to her weekly blog on her website, rohiniross.com. She has an upcoming workshop, Relationship Essentials, co-facilitated with Angus Ross, November 11 -12, 2017 in Topanga, CA click here for more details.