The Uniqueness of Our Lives
How we respond to life is a testament to our humanity and individuality.
Our view of the universe is largely determined by our experiences. It is when we are caught off guard by the spontaneity of existence that we are most likely to respond authentically, even when our feelings do not correspond with others’. Events that arouse strong emotions in us or are surprising in nature can be disquieting, for it is often in their aftermath that we discover how profoundly our histories have shaped us. The reactions that differ from our peers’ can be upsetting because they force us to confront the uniqueness of our lives.
When this happens, we may feel driven to dismiss our feelings as irrational or incorrect. But reactions themselves are neither right nor wrong. The forces that sculpted our development are not the same forces that shaped the development of our relatives, friends, colleagues, or neighbors. There is no reason to believe that one person’s reaction to a particular event is somehow more valid than another’s. How we respond to the constant changes taking place in the world around us is a product of our history, a testament to our individuality, and a part of the healing process that allows us to address our past in a context we can grasp in the present.
Life’s pivotal events can provide you with a way to define yourself as a unique and matchless being, but you must put aside the judgments that might otherwise prevent you from gaining insight into your distinct way of interpreting the world. Try to recognize your feelings without categorizing or evaluating them. When you feel unsure of the legitimacy of your reactions, remember that cultural, sociological, spiritual, and familial differences can cause two people to interpret a single event in widely dissimilar ways. Examining your responses can show you that your emotional complexity is something to be valued, because it has made you who you are today.