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What if you showed that you are different?

It is only natural that we all want to be liked by those around us, especially our friends.There is nothing wrong with wanting to be accepted and liked by others, but to what lengths are we willing to go in order to be popular and well-liked by our friends? Do we tend to dress the way everyone else does so we fit in better? Do we adopt the same mannerisms and speech as our friends so that we can be viewed as "cool" and not "square" like our parents? Are we willing to sacrifice our relationships with our parents in order to blend in more easily and avoid ridicule in school?


What if you witnessed someone bullying someone else who isn't popular in school? Do you stand there and watch, afraid to say anything that might make you unpopular, too? What do you stand for? Who are you, really? Are you just a carbon-copy of everyone else? What is it about you that sets you apart from everyone else? Is "blending in" what gives you confidence? Or are you possibly masking some deep insecurities by trying to look and act like everyone else?


It takes strength and courage to be real in a world where so many people are actually wearing masks in an effort to hide a weak and vulnerable inner self. Who are you when you are in your room alone, safe from the eyes of your friends? Who do you want to be? Do you really want to be a copycat or is there something more to you, something that is worth respecting and admiring? What is there to admire about someone who looks and acts just like everyone else? What if you showed that you are different? What if you stood up to the bully and told him to leave the other guy alone? Are you afraid that you would be laughed off of the schoolyard? Or would some of the kids, including the bully, respect you for having the courage to do something no one else was willing to do?


The brave take risks. There are many opportunities for taking risks in school. What if someone dares you to do something that could hurt you or even take your life? Taking that kind of risk is foolish because you are doing it to seek approval from someone who doesn't even care whether or not you get hurt. How much is their approval worth to you? Is it worth the risk of getting hurt or even killed? If you would be willing to take a foolish risk like that, wouldn't it be more honorable and worthwhile to stand up to the bully and defend the one who is being picked on?


How much respect can you have for yourself if you know that you are acting just like everyone else? Standing up for a worthy cause can give you a greater sense of worth in the world as it makes you more valuable to society. This is a good way to earn a more significant form of respect and it is a way to build respect for yourself.


Self-respect is not about being arrogant or being boastful. Those who brag about their accomplishments are actually doing so out of a feeling of insignificance or inferiority. However, stepping forward to do something that helps others and benefits society also benefits you because it builds your sense of worth, knowing that you have a purpose and a reason to live and "be." You are not just a drain on society, you are not a part of the problem. You have chosen, instead, to be a part of the solution, and that not only earns you the respect of others, but it is a way to earn self-respect. You are unique among all of the people of the world. There is no one else on earth who is exactly like you. Be proud that you are different. Believe in something worthwhile and be proud to stand up for what you believe in. Respect yourself and others will respect you for your strength and your courage. You will be able to walk and talk with confidence throughout your life and others will look up to you and admire you. You might even find that they will want to be like you.


David Folsom


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