Do you know that it’s okay to be different?

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I know a highly intelligent young lady (let’s call her Zoe) who allowed opinions of her peers to cause her to drastically change her academic performance. Zoe was an excellent student who hung out with friends who barely passed many classes. Due to pressure from her friends, however, she made a dramatic scholastic turn. Because she did not wish to earn the title “nerd”, she reduced her academic achievement in conformance with that of her friends. Zoe lowered her educational standard in order to “fit in.”

How wise is it to relinquish or compromise God-given blessings in order to receive the approval of others? In my opinion, that choice is not very practical. However, sometimes social approval is a determining factor in choice of style or behavior. Have you ever wondered how many possible careers, or opportunities have been missed because of learned behavior or attitude? Often life advancements are offered or presented to those who have prepared for the opportunity. So why not strive to be the best you can be as you prepare for a successful future.

As Zoe looks back over her life, I’m sure she regrets having made that decision. Perhaps a prestigious institution of higher learning denied allowing her to enroll because of her low GPA. Perhaps she missed receiving a treasured scholarship for a similar reason. As she matriculated in school, social identity (fitting in), was a strong priority for her. Unfortunately, she failed to count the cost of being accepted by peers as opposed to being herself. She did not realize the fact that it’s ok to be different. (See: I’m Okay, You’re Okay. 1967. T. A. Harris).

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