September 1, 2011

You Are Special ... And So Is Everybody Else!

When my daughter was young (and we are talking really young here, people) she loved Barney. You remember Barney - that purple dinosaur that absolutely, positively never seemed to have a bad day and told kids day after day how special they were? I put up with Barney because, well after all, my daughter was special and the message was wonderful. Here is the problem - it would seem that some grown ups have begun embracing this message as their personal life mantra. News flash people, this is a message for children. Adults don't get to walk around espousing how 'special' they are to everybody within earshot and behaving badly because they are 'special'. I call this behavior 'Special Person Syndrome' (SPS)* and it is NOT cute.

What does 'special person syndrome' (SPS) look like at work? The person suffering SPS at work doesn't believe they have a grandiose personality nor do they think that they are better than everybody else, lack good listening skills, or are unable to work as a collaborative team member. Oh no!! they are just special and therefore different and therefore we just don't 'get them'. We don't know how to work with them and if we could figure out how to work with them everything would be just fine. We are the ones with the problem.

SPS at home? Because 'special people' possess inordinately extraordinary and special skills and abilities, the only way anything can be done properly is if they do it themselves. Why should anybody else even bother trying? - it won't be right enough, good enough or just plain enough. Of course that means that they are always tired and a martyr, but hey, nobody ever said being special was going to be easy.

SPS with friends? When 'special people' look around they often find they don't have many friends but don't quite understand why. They often feel very betrayed by people who have dared to be honest with them about their behavior towards those they deem to be 'ordinary'. Far worse, sometimes they ask for others' opinions and when people who are not 'special' are not smart enough to understand that they do not in fact really want an honest opinion and offer one, all hell has been known to break loose.

It should go without saying that 'special people' have a very hard time sustaining meaningful relationships, so we won't even go there.

The truth is none of us have time to read a care and feeding manual for each and every person that we meet. Each of us is indeed special in our own way. 

If you are suffering Special Person Syndrome you might wonder how you can snap out of it. I would offer the following:  stop thinking that you are the special one and consider that every person you meet is just as special as you are, just as smart as you are, and just as important as you are because guess what ... we are.
*Quasi-Legal Disclaimer: 'Special Person Syndrome' and 'SPS' are purely fictitious terms with no medical basis and are not real disorders that can be found anywhere. I am not a doctor, I do not play one on television, blah, blah, blah and all the other legal mumbo jumbo.

No comments:

Post a Comment