Being "Different": Scary or Exciting?

Being "Different": Scary or Exciting?

The other night I asked a worker at Barnes and Noble on Clybourn where I could find books on highly sensitive kids. He knew exactly where the section was. He said, “One of my friends has synesthesia. He sees emotions as colors. Everyone makes fun of him.”

Do you know someone who is “different”? How come you know what I mean by that? Some parents say to me, “My middle child…she’s ‘different’ than the other kids. She’s not doing well in school.” Some call these kids “psychic” and I call them “intuitive.”  If we truly appreciated evolution and an expanding landscape of diverse minds and creativity, it would be great to know the population of “different” people is increasing. Unfortunately, we still live in a place and time where different is scary.

Having experienced the look of “get away from me,” whenever people found out that I could hear or see spirits, or that I knew things about them that they didn’t tell anyone, I know what many of today’s kids are going through. How do you “become your best self” in a world where everyone thinks that what you see is all there is … when you know there is so much more?

How do you compete with  “normal” kids in a school system that insists everyone is the same, when you know you are wired “not normal”? I have a 12 year old client who gets good grades because she can hear her grandmother on the Other Side giving her answers. Is she mentally ill? Is she cheating? What can you do about that in a system that presumes everyone is “normal”?

I met a kid who said he couldn’t concentrate on his math quiz because he could sense that his teacher was very sick and could die. Is he crazy? What should he do with the pain he feels about that? When the teacher announced three months later that he was leaving because doctors found cancer, should he feel guilty for keeping quiet? Would it have made a positive difference if he said something?

If you could live in the shoes of those who have “extra-ordinary senses” for just a day, compassion would replace ridicule and diagnosing and labeling “different” as “disordered” would cease. We might even  move from fear to fascination that emotions have colors, that sound heals wounds, that dead people don’t die, and that the vibration of our attitude ripples through the whole world.

We might want to learn from each other and enjoy co-creative collaboration. Imagine what kind of future we could create as we move from fear to excitement…which, by the way, can be seen as two sides of the same emotion.

Why not start now? How are you different?


Filed under: intuition


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  • The push to conformity in our schools, the rush to sameness can be daunting. Look at how we treat children who are exuberant and full of energy? We accuse them of being afflicted with things like ADD and ADHD, because they are not capable of being compliant zombies.

  • I am in complete agreement, Sue! The third day of kindergarten my daughter was made the example of "Sad Face" feedback because she didn't raise her hand before excitedly yelling out the answer. And so the muting of our children's exuberance begins. Time to change our understanding and ask ourselves: What do we really want for our children and how can we assure their gifts are supported?

  • little scary but very interesting (curiosity) every one can learn this "extra-ordinary senses"? I want to believe that we can, because I want to learn to depelop it, I know that is going to be difficult... thanks.

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