“You’re a special, unique snowflake.” Chances are you haven’t had anyone tell you that recently. Maybe

the last person to say something that cheesy was your mother, of course at a time that was extremely

embarrassing. It’s more common to hear that you aren’t special or different; just another person going

about his life. And it’s true – you are just one person out of 7 billion. But to the people you interact with

every day, you are more. And you need to see each of them as the special, unique people that they are

to you.

It’s very easy to put the people that we meet into neat categories. “Loner,” “meathead,” “Cali girl.”

People want to feel like they belong, and that makes it easier to stereotype them. When you can keep

someone in a box, you can keep your distance. Distance allows you to pass judgment and feel superior;

distance allows you to tell yourself it isn’t your responsibility to help or get to know someone.

When you turn on the news these days, you can’t avoid seeing the stories. “Black lives matter,” “Blue

lives matter,” hate groups, protests, political violence, religious extremism from all sides. And when we

see these stories, we usually take a side. It could be because of the way the story is portrayed by the

media; it could be from a childhood experience, or something we saw at work. It could be something our

friends say, or that we want to disagree with someone we don’t respect. However, we almost never

have all of the facts. And letting these stories affect how we treat and see others in our daily lives is

unfair to them.

People might appear to be simplistic and easily reduced to the image they portray – but they are more

than that. We can help lessen the sadness we see all around us simply by remembering that, and taking

a second look. Give every person a chance to show you what makes them unique. Give them a chance to

show that they’re more than the snap judgment you made based off their clothes. Give them a chance

to be the special, unique Jonathan, Muhammed, Brittany or Laila they are, and you might be surprised

who you meet.

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