snowflake

We are all special. And……we are all EQUALLY special – none more, none less.

I think most of us can agree on that. What we do not agree on, however, is just how we should be treated as individuals. Thus, the term “snowflake” was coined to mean a person who has a heightened view of their own importance.

According to Dictionary.com, the word “snowflake” has existed as a derogatory term for some time but changed in meaning and became more mainstream after its use in Fight Club when one character states: “You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake.”

Dictionary.com goes further to state: “Fight Club, nevertheless, did help to spread snowflake as a contemporary insult online in the 2000s to tease sheltered, helicopter-parented, everyone-gets-a-trophy young adults. The core metaphor is that such people are delicate like snowflakes, easily hurt by the hard realities of life, and think of themselves as special without realizing they are entitled and privileged— because every snowflake is different, as they say.”

That sounds like a VERY self-centered person, wouldn’t you say? But the problem with people who are snowflakes is (bet you guessed it) they don’t know they are snowflakes. They see traits such as selfishness, being easily offended, and living in a bubble in other people, but usually don’t see these in themselves.

Here is a little advice I gave myself to help maneuver through life in this hyper critical world and make sure I don’t become one of these self-indulged people. (It will also help to NOT become the butt of someone’s else’s joke.)

  1. Not everyone will like me.
  2. No one owes me anything.
  3. People are allowed to have opinions I don’t agree with.
  4. I am a wonderful person, but so is everyone else.
  5. No one is perfect, not even me.

While I’m at it, let’s discuss this: Everyone deserves their victories and celebrations in life, there’s no doubt about that.

However, some people (including me) think we have now gone too far. For example, when I was growing up most people had a bridal shower when they got married. Sometimes there was also an engagement party. Two parties to attend. No biggie for the friends and family. (Well, three actually. The wedding ceremony itself is a huge party as well.) So three commitments.

Fast forward to today. There is an engagement party, a bridal shower or tea (sometimes multiple ones), a lingerie party, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and the wedding. To make things worse, weddings are often destination affairs with the happy couple often becoming irate if loved ones cannot afford or choose not to attend the big bash.

Newsflash: Not everyone can, or wants to, spend $10,000 to fly half way around the world and stay in an expensive villa for a week just to watch your 10 minute wedding ceremony. THEY shouldn’t be paying off a credit card for a year because YOU got married.

And they shouldn’t have to. They don’t owe you anything.

The viral stories circulating online about bridezillas throwing temper tantrums because someone “insulted” them for the slightest little thing have become legendary. These reflect badly on the person as an individual and our society in general. We have now crossed the line from “come celebrate with me” to “come pay tribute to me”.

Here are some other things that have become excessive:

  • Throwing separate baby showers/teas and gender reveal parties. Most people don’t want to hurt your feelings, so they keep quiet. After all, it’s your child we are talking about.

 

  • Handing out school awards for EVERYTHING in EVERY GRADE. This makes awards so monotonous that when someone earns a real award it no longer feels special. In fact, I’m sure some of those categories are made up just so everyone can get an award. (Who really earns an award for best pencil sharpener in Ms. Smith’s 2nd grade class?)

 

  • Having graduation ceremonies for pre-school, kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, high school, and college. Again, it no longer feels special because you graduate and get gifts all the time, so nothing feels like much of a milestone.

 

  • Giving trophies to every child who plays a sport or participates in an activity. This sets kids up to feel like a failure when they do not get rewarded for every little thing they do as an adult. Also, taking away the competitive spirit will make many kids do less than their best. Why bother, everyone gets the same trophy, right?

Over the past few years I have pondered these points and I have learned two things that have truly impacted my life:

1. I need to earn my way through life in order to feel good about myself. Maybe that is not always fair, but it’s real. Fake accomplishments don’t give me any character or sense of self. I need to look inside myself and stop asking others to make me feel special. (Also see: Yes, You Can Be Taught How To Be Happy.)

2. Also, my whole life doesn’t need to be displayed on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. It’s nice to keep some things for myself and my closest loved ones. Having some privacy feels good when I embrace it.

These new insights have given me freedom, rather than holding me back. Imagine that!

If I have stepped on anyone’s toes or hurt their feelings, I’m not sorry. That means you need to stop being a snowflake.

Now toughen up, and have a nice day!

Angela Christian PopeAngela Christian Pope is a teacher, author and creator of Happiosity.org. Check out more on Twitter and Facebook.