I have always rooted for the “under dog”. That one person, real or in movies, books or TV, that is not expected to come out on top. You might be sitting there thinking…”me too!” I used to believe it was because when that woman or man, girl or boy becomes the winner, the world learns the value of that person’s unique gifts and talents. What a win when we all realize that we are not supposed to fit in when we were born to stand out (not my words). While I still think this is an important lesson and one of the reasons to root for the “dark horse,” I learned a different reason from an unlikely source…The Lego Movie.
This is the part where I warn you of possible spoiler alerts (nothing that would completely ruin the movie for you, but spoilers nonetheless). The Lego Movie is about a man who worked so hard to fit in to the crowd only to find out that was not who he was supposed to be. He lived his days desperately trying to be just like everyone else, believing that be being just like everyone else they would see how special he is. Now you read this and think (hopefully), how silly to try so hard to fit in and expect to be considered special but isn’t this what most of us did or do as young people and well into our adult years! We have to have the clothes everyone is wearing, the video games everyone is playing, the house in the neighborhood that everyone wants and the car everyone drives. Yet, we wonder why not enough people see what is unique and amazing about us.
Back to The Lego Movie, this man (Emmet) fought the idea of being “the special” fiercely until someone told him it was his destiny. Emmet is not alone…most, if not all all, of us need someone we trust and respect to tell us “You are the special” before we see it in ourselves. Take a minute and think about that. Who do you surround yourself with, who are the people you trust and respect and does that person tell you it is your destiny to be the special? If the answer is no or if you are even unsure, your homework (yes, homework!) is to seek out that type of person.
So…now you are probably thinking (or telling the computer screen in lieu of me), “Cheryl, I am not dropping my friends because they don’t tell me I am the special!” I absolutely agree with you! That is where my last Lego Movie spoiler alert comes in. You see, it is not enough that you are told that you are the special and you believe it, you must also bring that message to those that hurt around you and need to hear they are the special. You see in the movie, Emmet told his nemesis that he was the the most creative person he knew and that his genus (even though it was misguided at times) inspired others to reach greatness. He too was the special.
At the end of the day, being special doesn’t make us better than others, it gives us the courage to be vulnerable and tell that “bully” or our nemesis (who in reality need this message just as much as anyone) that together we are the special.
-Cheryl Lvovsky, MSW
Cheryl is a mother of one amazing Kindergartner and a wife to an extraordinary man. She is a social worker currently working in hospice and loves what she does. If you have any questions or comments about this post or for resources on confidence and self esteem, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.