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I am whatever YOU think I am until YOU get to KNOW me. This is true for everyone else too, of course.. so don't make assumptions about anyone or pass judgment; ask questions. You might just make a new friend.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

THE BLACK SHEEP (ONE OF A KIND)





Many of us have had an experience in
which we felt like the lone black sheep in a vast sea of white sheep. For some
of us, however, this sense of not belonging runs more deeply and spans a period
of many years. It is possible to feel like the black sheep in families and peer
groups that are supportive, as well as in those that are not. Even if we
receive no overt criticism regarding our values, there will likely be times
when it seems that relatives and friends are humoring us or waiting for us to
grow out of a phase. Sometimes we may even think we have been adopted because
we are so different from our family members. These feelings are not a sign that
we have failed in some way to connect with others. Rather, they should be
perceived as the natural result of our willingness to articulate our
individuality.
 



Many black sheep respond to the separateness they feel by pulling back from the
very people to whom they might otherwise feel closest and embracing a different
group with whom they enjoy a greater degree of commonality. But if you feel
that your very nature has set you apart from your peers and relatives, consider
that you chose long ago to be raised by a specific family and to come together
with specific people so that you could have certain experiences that would
contribute to your ongoing evolution. You may be much more sensitive than the
people around you or more artistic, aware, spiritual, or imaginative. The disparate
temperament of your values and those of your family or peers need not be a
catalyst for interpersonal conflict. If you can move beyond comparisons and
accept these differences, you will come to appreciate the significant role your
upbringing and socialization have played in your life's unique journey. 



In time, most black sheep learn to embrace their differences and be thankful
for those aspects of their individuality that set them apart from others. We
cannot expect that our peers and relatives will suddenly choose to embrace our
values and offer us the precise form of support we need. But we can acknowledge
the importance of these individuals by devoting a portion of our energy to
keeping these relationships healthy while continuing to define our own
identities apart from them.

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