I have always known I was special. Neither because I was born with natural dada hair that was tough to comb nor by virtue of my equal length teeth that often has people asking if I filed them or underwent a procedure to have them look the way they do. My belief that I am a different breed does not stem from everyone else’s inclination to believe the same, after all, we all have a unique thumbprint and genetic makeup. It is none of those things.
I have been self-aware for a long time; taking the time to track my natural proclivities as well as my aversions. Of course, this is a non-exhaustive journey. I am well aware the process of getting to know oneself is a lifelong one.
One of the earliest traits I observed about my personality is my independent streak. As a youngster, I would take decisions without recourse to my parents, friends or a higher authority just to test my ability to choose right independent of a third party’s influence.
If things panned out the way I had hoped, I would consider it a win and score myself some points. If things swung the other way, I would rue the repercussion and take the learning points from my poor lack of judgement.
However, this did not mean I would involve a third party the next time I wanted to make a decision, and if I did, It was only because I was convinced they knew better.
My individualistic leaning also meant I was hardly swayed by friends. Peer pressure was a myth to me even though I saw others struggle with it, and often, I would joke that if there was anyone who would do the pressuring, it would be me.
Fast forward to the present day world where opinions of the vast majority are largely shaped by social media, the concept of independent thinking has become rarer. These days, there’s a horde of people who are all too excited to sacrifice their personal values on the altar of acceptability and likeability.
The desperation for validation via likes and positive comments holds more allure than a uniqueness that translates to less visibility and engagement.
It takes far more work to be steadfast in one’s conviction and double down despite the multitude going the other way; therefore, the ability to shun the popular path for a lonely one remains one of the qualities that stands a person out as special.
To the general populace, special people are famous, wealthy, successful or highly placed. But that’s not what makes a person positively different from the pack. Uniqueness is more of an inside job. It resonates from within a person and has little to do with their background or social status.
It’s how they choose to carry themselves. What they say, how they say it, the things they do. Their response to situations and allergy to drama or strife.
Special people are grounded and unaffected by material possessions. They are calm even when there’s a raucous going on within them. They are introspective and averse to drama. Bandwagonism exhausts them.
In fact, many times, they would choose to go in the opposite direction when most are headed one way because they know that the crowd is almost always wrong. They own who they are and are unapologetic about their non-conformism.
We may not admit it but we know it when we encounter special people.
It is their approach to issues—their discerning spirit and accuracy in judging character. The emotional intelligence they employ to address situations. Their blindness to hate and deafness to side talks.
Special people own their personality. They are not pressured by the need to sound intelligent or share an opinion of every topic. They do not force friendship and are civil with the lowly and highly placed alike. They understand that being talkative is often a cover for deep-seated insecurities.
They have shed the need to impress…if they ever had it, knowing that humans are fickle and likeability is not exactly a function of what one does but rather, how one is perceived.
Nevertheless, special people also have testifiers to their top-tier personality. Witnesses who are not given to flattery or sycophancy; folks who speak from a place of observation and conviction.
That’s how special people know they are special.