Maria’s Top 5 Coolest Things about Being Different
As we enter Craniofacial Awareness Month, I have been reflecting on some of the things that make being different really cool. I couldn’t narrow it down to just one thing, so I have created a list of the top 5 things that I think are really cool about being different.
#5: We can face challenges with confidence.
Being different has taught me to adapt to my differences and overcome challenges with confidence. Everyone faces challenges in life, but being different has caused me to face challenges on a more regular basis. For some people who haven’t been challenged often it can be difficult to navigate those challenges. For those of us who are different and have faced many challenges on a day to day basis, we have the confidence to face any challenge placed before us.
#4: We have the chance to educate those around us.
Being different is scary and confusing to some people at face value. They are afraid to ask questions or even get to know someone who is different. We have the amazing opportunity to educate those around us that difference does not equal bad or scary. I remember one day working at a clinic and walking past this boy who commented “Eww look at her hands”. At this point I had two choices, be offended and upset, or stop and talk to the boy about why my hands were different and show him that it was really no big deal. It was neat to watch his attitude change when he realized that I was really the same as him.
#3: We can relate to each other regardless of language barriers.
In 2008 I had the amazing privilege of traveling to Morocco with Operation Smile as the surgical photographer. I had always wanted to travel with Operation Smile because of the work they do repairing cleft lips and palates, both of which I have had done. While on the trip I was able to relate to the families that were there for surgery because they could tell that I had also had the surgeries. Despite the language barrier, we were able to form a bond and understand each other in a way that other mission team members were unable to.
#2: It allows us to be thankful for the little things in life.
I believe that you can be thankful for the little things in life without being different, but I also think that going through all sorts of challenges in life helps you to appreciate the little things. When you go through life facing potentially life altering surgeries and challenges, you realize quickly what is most important in life. While we still enjoy all the gadgets and material things, we understand that those things really don’t mean anything in the end, but that the relationships we have with our God, family, and friends are the most important things in life.
#1: We have the ability to inspire and give hope.
The absolute coolest thing about being different is our ability to inspire and give hope to those around us. We can give hope to other families that are just beginning their journey with a child facing difficult life challenges, and we can inspire those around us by overcoming all the obstacles our difference puts in front of us. We can inspire others by showing them that no matter what life puts in front of us, we will walk through it with confidence. Our ability to overcome tough circumstances shows others that they too can overcome trials in their life.
--Maria Summers, Guest Blogger