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Don't Think of Yourself as Exceptional

Category: 

Loving & Caring Thoughts

Posted On: May 12, 2016

Don't Think of Yourself as Exceptional

Many of us were told as children all about how special each one of us is. And it’s true, it’s important to teach children to respect themselves and other people’s differences. But if we’re all different, none of us can truly be exceptional, because exceptionality becomes the rule. But there’s an important difference between respecting individuality and believing oneself to be exceptional: being exceptional means that you’re somehow outside the same system that we all work within, for better or worse. Here are a few reasons to avoid thinking of yourself as exceptional.

Thinking that you are exceptional can lead to a false sense of self-esteem. If you don’t think that the same rules apply to you as they do to everyone else, you will find evidence to convince yourself that you don’t have to work as hard or within the same constraints to succeed. If you keep believing that you are an exception to the rules, this attitude won’t be able to deal with failure properly, and it might even allow you to trick yourself into thinking that you’re not really failing. Instead, you should look at how other people are succeeding and maybe more importantly, how other people deal with struggle. Failure is not a weakness if you can learn from it.

Believing in your exceptionality might give you a victim complex. When we think of people thinking that they are exceptional, we generally think of those people as having an inflated ego. But believing that you are somehow isolated in your experience here on Earth can also lead you to believe that nobody has it quite as bad as you do. This is not to say that dealing with grief and loss and failure shouldn’t be troubling when you see other people going through happier times. But at some point, you need to move on from the “why me?” victim complex and properly deal with your feelings. It is inevitable that someone you know who is happy right now will be dealing with troubling news in the future. Wouldn’t it be nice to be that person’s friend who has the experience and advice to help them through their own tough times?

Seeing yourself as exceptional can cut you off from the people you need most in tough times. Whether you believe that you are exceptional and somehow “above it all” or if you adopt the position that only bad things happen to you, this attitude can alienate you from others. People who want to help you succeed or bounce back from a setback can be put off by an attitude like this. Friends want to help others because they seem themselves on common ground. It all goes back to the Golden Rule: how would you want to be treated in your time of need? If you are unable to see others as your peers, how are you going to let them help you? The sooner you let others in, the sooner you can heal.