Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I Am Not A Unique Snowflake

Yes, I'm quoting 'Fight Club' but that line spoke to me during that film.

Some films are entertaining, some are exciting, other just make me feel good. But on a rare occassion, I get a film that makes me think.

In one section of the film, the nameless soldiers are digging in the 'garden'. Tyler Durbin's voice is repeating, "You are not a unique snowflake. You are not special."

And yes, you could take that in a negative way but for me it was a relief. If I am not special, if I am not a unique snowflake, then I can relax. I can just be ordinary me.

Because a person who has great abilities, who is unique, also has great responsibilities. If you are gifted, you obligated to develop those gifts for the betterment of yourself and those that follow you.

If you are ordinary, you can sit the game out or follow at your leisure.

To be special, you live your whole life expecting more. Expecting your 'unique snowflakeness' to be acknowledged.

But if your ordinary, things are not always going to go your way. You will not get to go to the front of the line. Sometimes other people will win.

That's okay.

Take a deep breath with me. It is truly okay not to be extraordinary.

It is okay just to be you.

So many parents I know have raised their kids with the idea that they are the best, the most wonderful, the most unique snowflake in the world. While I applaud their efforts to build self-esteem, this attitude doesn't do their kids any favors.

I think some kids feel that they have to be perfect. That they have to be that unique snowflake in all it's spiral glory.

That's a lot of pressure.

What happens when the world doesn't agree that they are the most gifted or the most wonderful? What happens if they don't get a trophy like everyone else?

They fall apart.

What one should know is that being an 'ordinary snowflake' is acceptable. That learning to see your flaws and your abilities together makes you a stronger person. That drive is almost as important as talent.

Working for something, striving for something beyond your scope is admirable. You might just stretch far enough to get to your goal. And even if you don't reach it, look at what you learned on the journey.

Being ordinary is not a terrible thing.

Many ordinary people have done extraordinary things because they weren't afraid to fail.

I am not a unique snowflake. But even an ordinary snowflake is a wonderous thing to behold.



  1. I always taught my daughters that they were loved no matter what, just for being. I thought it would be nice to have at least one person in the world who you knew loved you unconditionally without having a lot of pressure put upon you to be something other than just yourself.

    For some reason your example of the person moving to the front of the line got me to chuckling over a Three Stooges routine of having a group of people standing side by side (it was usually in a military setting) and a leader addressing the group asking for a volunteer to take on step forward, and then there would be the lone reluctant "volunteer" standing because everyone else in line around him took one step back.

    Thanks for the thought provoking post Tirzah.


  2. Isn't it cool to be normal anyway? When are you actually unique? Is it when someone tells you, or when it's evident that you are. For anyone I'm sure it's nice to have those " I am pretty special, aren't I? " moments than the " You're special, now keep doing what you're doing or you won't be anymore. " So, yeah..go normal us! lol

  3. Great! So me trying to get Jake to embrace his 'special' 'unique snowflakeness' has been all for naught? I always assumed I was doing a good thing calling him 'special'--in that 'It's okay that you have your shirt on backwards and need wipes to clean your arse, unlike the rest of us toilet tissue users--. Special with my kids is in that Special Olympics kind of way. LOL

    And Jake just wants to be NORMAL. hahaha

    Thank God Jax is blissfully ignorant of the definition of normal.

    Jeni ;)

  4. Jeni---That is normal for him (and me somedays). By snowflakeness--I mean this idea that we have to be the most wonderful, the best, the first in the class, award winning, certified unique snowflake.

    Specialness---is a lot of work. I for one...abstain. LOL.

    It's okay not to be the center of the universe. And a relief to be free of the

    I'm making no sense now. Sigh. I ramble.

  5. Hi Ann and Unauthorized---

    Yes, Yeah Normal--however you define it.

    Normal--is what works for you, your normal.

    And Ann--knowing they are loved no matter is wonderful.

    I dont' think I worded this essay well. LOL.

    What I meant is this idea that kids have to be the most special, most unique, first in their class--did you ever hear two mom's bragging about their kid's snowflakeness?

    All kids are special in some way...and most of them are normal in some way.

    Let's take off the pressure to be that 'unique snowflake' and see what develops from letting them be them.


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  7. I think the worst insult someone could pay me is if they said I was like everyone else. Unfortunately, young people think they need to belong and be exactly like their friends.


  8. Oh, and I have your author's bio up...take a look and suggest changes.

  9. I really must have written this blog badly.

    I don't think my point is coming through at at all.

    I'm not saying be like everyone else. What I'm saying is this National drive to have everyone be a 'star' or special is ridiculous.

    It's too much pressure to expect anyone to be 'extraordinary' all the time. To be special all the time.

    It's a lot of of pressure to be expected to be a unique snowflake.

    Be yourself. That doesn't mean be like everyone else. It just means you don't have to be special or exceptional to be valued.

    Ah, I give up.

    I don't think I can articulate what I'm trying to say at all.


  10. I get what you mean. When my daughter was little, there was a Mum who pushed and pushed her daughter. My baby does this, my does that, she's won all these medals, and look at all her trophies and I used to think to myselfm "It's going to backfire". And sadly it did. The young girl went on to rebel and truant from school. From an A grader she became a flunkie and I don't blame her one bit. Her Mum had forced her to live her dream, rather than just letting the girl be herself and find her own way.

  11. You are so right! It's such a burden for a child when the parent expects him or her to be special. I tell my kids it's perfectly okay to be anything they want to be. Especially my daughter who insists she wants to graduate with suma cum laude, whatever that is. I told her she could quite college and paint the grass for all I cared. I thought I was crazy not to care so much.


  12. Exactly, you have to let them be them, normal, weird, or special.

    Not everyone is exceptiona, is special, is head of the class...and that's okay.

    We each get our own talents.

  13. I think what often happens is people think they're "special" a side effect is they feel the world "owes" them great success, riches, etc. And if that doesn't materialize where does that leave them. Of course everyone's child is special to them! Support your child surem encourage, praise, etc. That's what parents should do. But everyone can't be "the chosen one." It doesn't mean you can't make a mark on the world either, it just means the world doesn't owe importance to you.

  14. YIkes, I hit lucky 13 on the comments today, twice. That just proves PMS and bad luck are related.


    Thanks for the comments! I appreciate it and read every one.

  15. This was a breathe of fresh air to me. IMHO, the whole world is crazy with the stress of unrealistic expectations.