The Happiness Connection  

The uniqueness of you

Anomaly: something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected.Oxford Dictionaries

Last week, someone suggested I am an anomaly. She was referring to the fact that I’ve been successful learning how to practise happiness through personal development.

She explained that many studies suggest people won’t make the long-term changes needed to replace their negative perspectives with positive ones.

Apparently, research is now looking at helping people do this through brain re-programming.

I haven’t looked for any of these studies because that isn’t what struck me most about her statement. She’s an expert in her field, and I have no reason to believe her knowledge isn’t sound.

What struck me was the realization that where once I would have loved to think I was special, I no longer do. Although you and I are each unique, I don’t believe any of us are an anomaly.

If you’re like me, you may have felt like one on many occasions. I’ve spent much of my life wanting to be part of the crowd, but instead feeling like an imposter.

I’ve stood in rooms full of people, many who I know, and felt totally alone.

Society encourages us to get on the same page and behave in a certain manner. There are evolutionary reasons for this that are less important in our modern world.

You may feel like an anomaly within your family, or work colleagues, but that’s because the sample is so small. Try thinking in a global perspective.

You will never be the only person in the whole world to experience the challenges you have, nor indeed the talents or blessings. The details might be different, but that’s only the wrapping.

I often talk about the comfort of finding other people who share your experiences and challenges. There’s something beautiful about knowing you aren’t alone, and that others can relate to your triumphs and struggles.

I don’t agree that I’m an anomaly. If I were, I wouldn’t get so many emails from readers who can relate to my experiences. The gift in her comment was the realization that we’re all unique, but no more special or ordinary than anyone else.

You are you. You have the power to choose what you want your experience in this body to be like. You get to decide whether to find the lesson hidden in the trying times or turn the other way and choose a different route.

Motivation for change often shows up in the form of immense challenge. Sometimes this is referred to as the dark night of the soul.

I was in a place of suicidal depression when I became pregnant with my daughter. It gave me a whole new perspective.

I was adamant that she had to be better prepared for the difficulties in life than I’d been. It shaped how I parented, and my decision to learn and then model emotional health and empowerment.

A few weeks ago, my acid reflux became such a problem that I knew I had to find a different approach to my health. I turned to Ayurveda, an ancient lifestyle practice that’s been used in India for thousands of years.

It’s only been three weeks, but the alterations in my body and general health have been astounding. The need for change was so great, that I didn’t just dip my toe into the process, I jumped all in.

That might have been more difficult to do if I’d been experiencing mild discomfort rather than bouts of vomiting and digestive pain.

Those dark nights of the soul are unpleasant to endure, but take heart. Once you come out the other side, you’re forever changed — for the better.

You’re the only person who’s just like you, but you aren’t the only one who feels the way you do, has certain challenges, or acts in specific ways.

Of course, if you never share what you think, how you feel, or things you’ve done, with total honesty, you may never discover that fact. That’s one of the main reasons I share so many things about myself in this column.

  • I know I’m not an anomaly.
  • I know there are many other people who have used personal development to grow into happiness mavens.
  • I know there are people just starting this journey that will be as successful as I was.

I’m not sure I want to re-program my brain using electrodes. I don't judge people who do, but that’s not for me.

My journey has helped shape me. I’m grateful for it and I doubt I’m the only person who feels that way.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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