You may consider yourself to be “just like any other person” – but nothing can be further from the truth. In fact, if you had to do the math for all the different levels of uniqueness, it would be staggering…
And since several of these are subject to change, any person you come into contact with represents a unique experience, even if you have met that person before.
Consider all the things that combine to make you unique:
1. Physical attributes
This may seem like a no-brainer – but there are things about you that are absolutely unique to you, no matter how much cosmetic or reconstructive surgery is done on your body. Your eyes, your DNA, your fingerprints and your voice are absolutely unique, even though you may (on the surface) look exactly like someone else.
Your personality is a very complex concept. It gets bits and pieces from your parents, siblings, friends, teachers, and other people and events that influence your thinking. And even though you may have some basic characteristics, those continue to evolve over time, and through strong positive or negative influences, may exhibit some changes.
3. Mannerism and demeanor
How you do things might seem “everyday” to you – but look at the finer details. The way you choose to match specific items of clothing, the choice of your treat when you go shopping, the way you pick up and observe an interesting object, how you carry yourself in different situations…
This in itself makes for a multitude of potential combinations, although both of these can change and evolve over time.
Your handwriting is almost as unique as your fingerprints. In fact, it has been proven that handwriting experts can tell a lot about a person by merely studying his or her handwriting. You handwriting can appear “nice”, but the expert will still be able to observe your (for instance) dominating tendencies.
5. Self esteem and self confidence
Both of these are part your personal make-up – but both of these are also very fluid. Fair enough, there are many people out there with either bullet-proof self confidence, or a very low self esteem – but the “average Joe” in the middle can experience ups and downs in his or her self esteem and self confidence depending on life experiences and circumstances.
For instance – if someone who is usually bubbly and vibrant goes quiet, we note it as being “out of character”. His or her level of self confidence is part of what makes then unique, and how we define our perception of them.
Each of us has a specific set of values, norms and beliefs. It defines what we see as right and wrong, what we see as fair and unfair, and how we believe the world should be. It also includes our religious beliefs and principles, which will – to a large extent – influence our values, norms and our philosophy of life.
7. Habits and rituals
Humans are essentially creatures of habit. While those of us who are into self improvement are trying to cultivate bigger habits like morning rituals and regular exercise, most of what we do is made up of tiny habits. Look at how you eat a slice of bread (bite size, how you hold it, from which angle you start eating, etc). Look at how you have many tiny things that you do in specific ways, some of which may not be similar to how other people do it.
In addition to that, we all have some “rituals” – and the older we get, the more stuck we get in our habits and rituals. When you get out of bed, you have a sequence in which you do things up to the point where you get to work. You tend to do them the same way on every (working) day.
8. Your life experiences
Our life experiences tend to shape us. We learn – often the hard way – not to touch hot objects. Some of us learn – the hard way – not to mess with bees. Some of us have to live through awful experiences which no person should experience. All of these, over time, shape our perceptions of life, and our behavior.
9. How you perceive experiences
Two people walk in the early evening, and a light breeze comes up. One feels cold, the other doesn’t. Two people each have a headache of similar intensity. They both take the same painkiller. One experiences alleviation, the other one doesn’t. Two kids are ridiculed at school. One gets angry, and one starts sulking. In each of these cases, the event was the same, yet the outcome was different. What gives?
Both the body and the mind has its own parameters for measuring the impact of experiences. Some of us experience physical and emotional sensations more intensely than others. That means that – literally – your pain isn’t necessarily the same as that of the next person; neither is your joy.
That is why we sometimes feel that someone else is overreacting when confronted with a situation – because we wouldn’t have made such a big deal out of it. To them, in fact, it is.
In fact, once you realize this, you will know that none of us can truly say “I know how you feel” – because even though you lived through the exact same experience, you still don’t know how that person perceives the experience.
But that’s a conversation for another day.
10. How you react to experiences
How we react to experiences is a mix of our current emotions and circumstances, personality traits, habits, our past experiences, principles and beliefs. In addition to that, the type of event determines which one of these dominate our reactions. For instance – you may be someone who normally turns the other cheek, because that’s what you believe. However, when you see someone hurting a child or an animal, it really gets to you and you become aggressive.
As such, depending on who you are and what the situation is, your reaction may or may not be predictable.
Each of us is as unique as a singular view in a kaleidoscope. And to make it even more complex, our perceptions and reactions can, at any given time, vary substantially.
In fact, you are so unique, you are not even the same person you used to be a year ago.
You are unique to the point where you are unique in this very moment – possibly even relative to yourself a few minutes ago.