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We Are Not the Same

happy_peopleHow boring it would be if everybody in the world were the same. Yet, how difficult it is for people to respect and appreciate those differences. Instead, we become impatient with others’ differences, letting them know how wrong they are for not acting or being the way we think they should be.

“Why can’t you be more like …”

“How many times do I need to tell you to …”

“You better change the way you …”

Yup, it’s tough for us to accept differences in people. Amazingly, we actually do better with plants and pets.

The nursery we purchase our plants from tells us, “Though all plants need sun to grow, not all plants need the same amount. Roses require an abundance of sun while begonias need only low light.” We are grateful for this information as we can now make each plant thrive.

We also accept that our pets are not made from the same mold. We don’t expect a German Shepherd to be like a Maltese nor do we expect a cat to act like a dog. We expect them to be who they are, not whom we wish them to be.

Everyone shines in the right environment. And everyone pales in the wrong one. So, ask yourself what makes this person you love flourish? Is their environment allowing them to shine or do they have to wear a carefully constructed mask to pretend they’re someone they’re not?

Sometimes, small changes are enough to help people move from failing to flourishing.

It could be someone who appreciates and accepts you, flaws and all. (It’s great if this is a fellow human being. Too often, however, the only ones who accept us with our flaws are our pets!)

It could be a room of your own. (My studio is my sanctuary; here is where I sparkle and shine).

It could be a community of people where you’re able to be who you are without apology. (I’m gay, proud of it and that’s just who I am!)

It could be a social environment where people show their respect for your differences by saying things like, “You’ve got such interesting ideas. I love to hear your thoughts even when I don’t always agree with them.”

Oh yes, wouldn’t it be lovely if we could be intrigued by others’ differences instead of trying to work so hard to make them over in our own image!


We Are Not the Same

Linda Sapadin, Ph.D

Linda Sapadin, Ph.D. is a psychologist and success coach in private practice who specializes in helping people become the best they can be. You can reach her at [email protected] Visit her website at Follow her on FB:

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APA Reference
Sapadin, L. (2018). We Are Not the Same. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 10, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 3 Mar 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.