The Specialness Epidemic -- What Our Need to Stand Out is Really All About

04/17/2015 02:34 pm ET | Updated Jun 17, 2015
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It happened to me at one of the most inopportune times. That need to feel special, unique, be selected, feel seen; that feeling happened while I was being blessed by a monk.

On a recent holiday to Thailand, my husband and I were visiting The Big Buddha in Phuket. A glorious site with love emanating from every corner.

Then, in the corner of my eye, I saw a monk giving blessings. Drawn like a magnet, I took off my shoes and "walked" up on my knees toward the monk.

Before me was a mother and her young daughter, then a group of three teenage Thai girls. Everything felt beautiful and holy, as the monk prayed for those before him and sprinkled holy water on their heads.

Then suddenly, something different happened. Since I didn't speak Thai, I wasn't sure what was said, but what I SAW was that one of the Thai girls was "selected" to receive a unique gift. While most were getting bracelets made by the monks themselves (think friendship braided bracelets), she received a beautiful necklace, which he further blessed and prayed upon before giving it to her.

Next, I was up, and truth be told, I wanted one of those necklaces too. Yes, there before the monk, I was jealous. Thankfully, I quickly got over it so I could appreciate the experience. Tears trickled down my face to have experienced the blessing and I left.

But I had to think, What was this jealousy about? Then it quickly occurred to me: Oh yes, that need to be special.

Quite frankly, I think we have a specialness epidemic on our hands. We so desperately want to be seen and to do that we feel we need to stand apart from others. We can see it with young kids yearning to earn a trophy, healers believing they have been specially "selected" for their spiritual gifts or even our constant addiction to selfies.

Of course, we are all unique and have different gifts to share, but "specialness" is not just bestowed upon only a chosen few. Each of us has talents and gifts. It is just that some of us are utilizing them and some of us get tripped up in "not enoughness" to utilize our gifts. In order to try to help that "not good enough" feeling, our egos try to make us enough by being considered "special."

Yes, that most common of shame themes of not being "good enough" is what is behind our specialness epidemic. And there I was experiencing it.

After receiving the emotional surge of jealousy, I had two options.

1. Shame myself. My ego would want to go with something like "What's wrong with you? You having this jealousy demonstrates your not spiritual enough to receive that necklace. You don't deserve it!"

2. Understand the empowered message to jealousy/envy, which is: you can have it too. Obviously, I can't have the necklace, but I can give myself the meaning underneath the necklace. Which then I quickly reminded my little girl (inner child) "You are beautiful and enough just as you are."

Will our shame continue to rear it's head in obscure ways? Um, YES!

And, that's OK because you know that our negative emotions are the gateway to recognizing when shame is triggered AND you know that our emotions teach us how to provide for ourselves internally what we need.

What this means is that while unconscious shame will trigger you from time to time, you have a path to change the outcome of BELIEVING IN THE SHAME.

It is our belief in our shame that limits us from having a fulfilled life.

In order to take away our belief in shame we need to have PERSISTENCE. This means that every time a negative feeling appears, we need to understand both the disempowered and empowering messages. Then we have CHOICE: The choice to choose which message to believe. Each time a negative feeling appears, you have a choice. Choice 1, sweep it under the rug. Choice 2, understand the deeper meaning.

Although Choice 1 seems easier, in the long run it isn't! Not knowing how to provide for your internal needs means your emotions go SIDEWAYS and ultimately you'll feel like your needs aren't fully being met.

GO THE DISTANCE for yourself by going into what you truly feel. You are worth it and when you demonstrate your self-value, guess what? Your self-value is reflected back to you! When we aren't willing, the lack of self-value gets mirrored back to us as we struggle with finances, relationships or reaching our potential.

YOU are MORE THAN WORTH the time and persistence to make your life feel fulfilling to you! Just let your emotions support you -- OK?

If you would like how to learn to how to use negative feelings as a barometer for growth, go here to get your complimentary FEEL training kit:, which shows you where you get stuck and how to emotionally empower yourself to create changes internally and externally in all areas of your life.