As a teacher, I sometimes came across a situation in which a child who was a little different was shunned or picked on by classmates. Perhaps you observed this when you were a student. Maybe you can identify with that child! The epidemic of bullying seen in our country bears out the fact that the strongest can make the weakest miserable. If there are days when you feel awkward and odd, if you wonder if there is something wrong with you, if you are not invited to parties or kept out of cliques, here are some things to ponder:
1. Keep in mind what St. Francis de Sales said: “Do not desire to be other than you are, but desire to be very well what you are.”
2. Many of our best human beings were a bit strange, including some artists (Vincent Van Gogh, Salvador Dali) and some saints (St. Philip Neri and Catherine of Alexandria). Jesus himself was an outcast in his hometown. People called him crazy and possessed.
3. Out of all the people God could have created, he brought you to life and he loves you.
4. Here is a recent reflection from my book Heart to Heart with Mary:
Being an Original
My child, at times you might sense that you are different from other people, that you don’t fit in with the group. Don’t let that disturb you, and especially don’t try to change in order to be like everyone else. You are a unique individual with your own gifts, feelings, and thoughts. Love yourself for who you are. I do, dear.
If people criticize you for being different, refer to you as “weird,” or shun you, they are not real friends. Don’t allow them to prevent you from being your own person. Be who you want to be. When you surrender your independence and imitate other people, you are being false to yourself and insult the God who fashioned you to be you. It will not lead to happiness.
By acknowledging that you are splashed with rich blessings and walk this earth as a one-of-a kind creation, you will grow in confidence and attain an inner joy. So be happy in your own skin, darling, and know that you do not have to go along with the crowd. Jesus and I didn’t always fit in either.
Share with Mary what you like about yourself.