“It takes all kinds” is a popular phrase that’s been used to express a tolerance for difference. After all, we all are unique individuals. Underneath our similarities partially defined by ethnicity, race, gender, class, geography, etc. we are each our own person.
If it’s true that “it takes all kinds,” then why do so many of us spend time and energy feeling bad about and apologizing for our so- called “limitations?”
It may be a source of pride that you were the first one in your family to graduate from college, for example. In your family and perhaps even your community, this makes you unique.
On the other hand, you may not feel so proud of the fact that you don’t learn in the same way that some other people learn. If the bulk of your school years was spent worrying that someone will discover this about you as you struggle to try to keep up, you might not feel positively about this particular uniqueness.
Regardless of the specific “oddity,” “disability” or “abnormality” that you have either been labeled with or that you’ve labeled yourself with, it’s likely that this difference in you feels like something that is lacking.
Understandably, you might look around yourself at all of the other people in the world who appear to do or be something that doesn’t come as easily to you– or doesn’t come to you at all– and you can’t help but feel limited and somehow less than because of it.
Isn’t it time to stop apologizing for your unique way of being you?
The rainforest of human brain functioning.
Dr. Thomas Armstrong writes about the importance of something called “neurodiversity” in an article recently published by Ode magazine.
In his article, Dr. Armstrong describes this new scientific field– neurodiversity– as quite like that well-known phrase quoted above…
Yes, it does take all kinds to create a wonderfully dynamic and thriving world. It takes all kinds of people whose brains learn and process information in vastly different ways.
Using the analogy of a rainforest, Dr. Armstrong proposes that it is this diversity of brain processing that helps us continue to expand and grow as human beings.
No matter how “limited” you think you are, in actuality, your way of thinking and being is vital to whole human race!
For example, Dr. Armstrong points out that dyslexics can sometimes more clearly “see” a plan in three-dimensions than non-dyslexics can. Someone with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) may be able to handle a fast-paced, physically active task better than someone else.
This is not to say that those who have been diagnosed with dyslexia, ADHD or any other “disorder” do not face challenges, many do.
However, when what was before considered a “disorder” and perhaps even a weakness is viewed in a new way– from a point of view of opportunity– the doors of possibility and success open.
Honor your own unique contribution.
Even if you have never been diagnosed with a learning disability or some other brain function “disorder” or challenge, you can benefit from this lesson.
Instead of continually apologizing for whatever it is that you do or however it is that you are that you believe is “off” or lacking, stop.
Shift your perspective of your own self and your abilities. Figure out what you like to do and the way that you can best do it. Then, deliberately place yourself in situations that are a good match for who you are.
It can be beneficial to challenge yourself to go beyond where you are, of course. But, that doesn’t mean you have to constantly run up against the same wall over and over again.
For example, I have a belief that I am bad at mathematics and I shy away from numbers as much as possible in my day-to-day life. I can certainly present myself with opportunities to become more practiced at math and more comfortable working with numbers.
At the same time, I don’t necessarily need to choose a job or daily activity that is centered on math. My talents at this time lie in other areas. And, I absolutely do not need to deem myself a less valuable person merely because math is not my forte.
Make it your goal to highlight your strengths AND to find hidden advantages to those aspects of you that you may have before believed to be only limitations.
You might just find yourself doing things you’d never before dreamed possible and being the person you always wanted to be.