In a blog post on The Great Growing Up site a short time ago I wrote “Beware the Inner Con Artist” in which I shared how my own egoic thinking can convince me that something I am doing is better than it is, more conscious than it is, more audacious than it is.
Once it was posted I realized that one of the favorite arenas for the “inner con artist” to be doing its thing is when it comes to making us think we are “special.” For clarity, I’m using the word as it pertains to self-importance, thinking one is better or more important than another. This kind of specialness lives in the paradigm of separateness, where fear and scarcity also help define the context. This is the paradigm we strive to transcend. The paradigm I have been advocating for over 25 years is one of interconnectedness, love and sufficiency.
Thinking of oneself as special separates one from others; it reinforces the myth that we are not interconnected. It argues for the outmoded myth that others have to lose so I may win. It is based on fear – fear that if I am not special then I am worthless or inadequate. In the blog I cited Marianne Williamson’s somewhat famous quote:
Each one of us is unique. So we are “special” in this sense. There is no one in the world who is exactly the same as you or me. So our uniqueness is a fact. But it doesn’t make us any better or worse than anyone else, just uniquely different.
I like Marc Gafni’s take on our uniqueness which I wrote about in my guest blog at Global Dialogue Center in May, from his book Your Unique Self:
You are a puzzle-piece. If you try to round out the unique curves of your puzzle piece through meditation or any other spiritual oneness practice, the puzzle piece that is you will simply not fit into the divine oneness. The part fits into the whole through its unique part nature. You are not interchangeable with any other part. Only the puzzle piece that is your authentic Unique Self can seamlessly connect you to the divine one. Similarly, Unique Self is not absorbed in the whole. Unique Self is integrated into the whole, meaning that the part does not lose its integrity as it merges.
Our uniqueness is our gift so long as it is not confused with what Gafni calls “the skin-encapsulated ego” or separate self, or special self.
To close, let us relish our uniqueness but shun the temptations of the inner con artist to think of ourselves as better or more important than anyone else.