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Is it Okay to Be Different?

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Headlined to H4 11/28/12

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Most of our parents told us that we're special but not special enough to try to call attention to ourselves. We shouldn't look "freakish". We're special in our own ways. But "DON'T DO ANYTHING THAT OUTCASTS YOU". In other words, be special, but not TOO special. 

And so from a young age, we blend in and try our best not to be pariahs as to be deemed a "good citizen". Each generation gives birth to someone very different - a pariah in its own form - and gets hailed as a hero or a game changer by the media. There's Queen Victoria, Martin Luther King,
Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, Barack Obama, Katy Perry, and so on.

The public both hated and loved these people for they're different. It's common to see Lady Gaga wannabes, but to these people it's just a phase to go through in life. Sooner or later, they may want to blend in for whatever reason there is - may it be peer pressure, work or family.

How healthy or unhealthy is the different mindsets we have of what's unacceptable? In Japan, people with tattoos are snubbed and can never work in any white-collar position for the government, as tattoos are a symbol of gangsters. Before Tony Blair, no British prime minister, with the
exception of Margaret Thatcher, appeared in public without wearing the "proper" neckwear.

But as times change, so do we. Gone are the days when opinion counts only from those experienced. Everybody's opinion counts, which is why the social media has played such a big role in our lives.  

They validate us. Every post we share online, once liked or commented on, makes us matter.

Is it okay then to be different? The answer lies within us. It's our choice. Do we care enough to think about what the others would think? To answer NO is truly a lie. But to answer "a little" is believable. So for those who want to live life dangerously, go for it. Let people admire, ridicule and envy you. But for those who prefer the meek solitude of the life called "sameness" by Lois Lowry in the Giver, don't take chances.>
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Maria has a background in Business and Communications. She teaches English in Taiwan to both adults and kids alike. In her free time, she does freelance writing, a lot of reading, and shopping.
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