What makes you different that is a difficult question to ask someone. Most people as they read that are cringing as they think about what their answer would be, I know I did. I’m not cringing because I don’t have confidence in myself, quite the contrary actually, I feel the need to cringe because for most, talking or bragging about themselves is not first nature. I think that cringe that everyone experiences though helped me in discovering who I really think I am, why I am different.
There are two specific words that describe me. Words I haven’t chosen, but that will follow me forever as a description of who I am. Only child. Having dealt with this now for nearly twenty years I can honestly say those words get a reaction from people. Every.Single.Time. That is not an exaggeration either, I cannot tell you the countless times people have asked, “do you like being an only child?” or “do you wish you had siblings?” If it wasn’t a question then it was a remark, “oh…I wouldn’t have guessed.” or the ever self-esteem booster, “that explains a lot.” Yikes. Bottom line, people are going to think what they want whether they know you or not. I certainly do not believe that I am defined by the fact that I am an only child, so I don’t let people’s preconceived ideas of who I am or what I am like strike a chord with me. Being an only child has made me an exceptional people person. The concept of strangers is foreign to me. As a child I would go into McDonald’s with just my mother but when I left I always had made new friends. This happened again when I chose to go to summer camp alone, I was “alone” for about 10 minutes before I had already made friends. I can continue with the examples because literally everywhere I go I am capable of building relationships. I do not fear the unknown, or unexpected, rather I am drawn to it. Think of all the opportunities missed because people did not know what was going to happen or because they did not see a familiar face.
It may not always be easy, to make that initial extension to build a relationship or to pursue a career, dream, or opportunity that holds so many unknowns. As an only child I always only ever had two options whenever I was somewhere unfamiliar, be alone or forge relationships. As a result, I have discovered that I am an extremely confident, capable person, and all because I am always willing to take that initial step into the unknown.