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Connected: Differences

October 24, 2017

As with most families, any time people see my siblings and me together they all have the same things to
say. “You all look exactly alike.” “You have the same eyes.”

They’re certainly not wrong. We’re not identical, but if the four of us were placed in a lineup it would
probably be pretty easy to identify us as being related. On top of that, we all share some personality
traits that make us clearly identifiable as siblings. I see characteristics of myself in my older brother
Cullen, in my younger brother Sean and in my five-year- old sister Molly. Similarly, I see characteristics of
them in each other.

If you start to look at our particular skills and talents, then you’ll see four completely different people.
Cullen is the craftsman of the family who can build incredible things from scratch and who taught
himself how to do intricate electrical work. Sean is the star athlete who has not only played but
dominated at every position in football imaginable. Molly is the artist who has already demonstrated
natural talent at such a young age. My success comes from academics.

The thing about having three unique, incredibly talented siblings is that it’s easy for me to start
comparing myself to them. I’ve had my fair share of moments where I’ve wondered why I can’t be as
creative as Cullen or as naturally gifted in art as Molly or why I couldn’t have had Sean’s athletic ability
when I used to play sports.

As teenagers and young adults, we’re prone to constantly compare ourselves to others, especially in a
world where lives are constantly on display with social media. It’s easy to fall into the trap of measuring
anything from the clothes we wear, to our abilities. even to the kind of college experience we’re having
to that of our peers. It’s equally as easy to compare ourselves to our family members whose abilities we
see in action every single day. We’ve created an internal competition to see who is the most talented,
who is the most attractive or who is having the most fun. It’s in human nature to be this way, but it’s
exhausting.

I’ve certainly struggled at times with comparing myself to others, but what I’ve come to learn is that it’s
far greater to spend your time celebrating individuality than trying to be like everyone else.
I’m incredibly proud of my siblings and all that they have accomplished. With every event, every show
and every game they’ve participated in, I’ve grown more and more aware of what amazing gifts they
each possess. Through watching their successes, I could have easily let myself become jealous of them,
but instead I’ve learned to grow more aware of the fact that I possess my own unique gifts.

Living your life in a constant state of comparison is exhausting and leaves you only feeling empty when
you are inevitably unable to succeed in being the best at everything. In reality, there will always be
someone who is better than you at something, and that is alright. The fact that you are not the best in
one area doesn’t mean you are not gifted in another.

It’s time that we stop comparing ourselves to each other and start celebrating our differences instead.
College is a time for us to really grow into the people that we are meant to be. The first step in doing
that is to become happy with the person that you are instead of looking around and wishing you could
be someone else. The second step is to become aware and grateful for the differences that those
around you possess. After all, the things that make us different are the things that make us special.

If I had spent my whole life wishing I was just like my siblings, I would have never found confidence in
my own abilities and in myself as a person. I also would have never been able to fully appreciate how
truly amazing my siblings are.

We may all look “exactly alike,” but we have our differences, and that’s a beautiful thing. The fact that
you have your own unique abilities is a beautiful thing too.

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