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Celebrate differences this month


January 9, 2020

The beginning of a new year is always filled with plans to eat healthier, exercise more and quit smoking. Sure, all of these will lead to a healthier person, but January is also the month that celebrates the uniqueness in every one of us. Accepting yourself and everyone else for who they are will also lead to a healthier, happier you.

January is “It’s OK to be Different” month. The objective is to build self-respect and confidence for not only yourself, but others as well. The world has progressed, and we now live in a realm where there are so many different beliefs, styles, cultures, religions, sexual preferences and political views. Who’s really to say one way is superior to all others?

There are many children’s books on the market that teach youngsters about the importance of acceptance. Bestselling author Todd Parr’s “It’s OK to be Different,” a top-selling children’s book states, “It’s okay to need some help. It’s okay to be a different color. It’s okay to talk about your feelings.” Parr dedicated the book to “Megan … for believing in something different.”

University of Washington experts (Dario Cvencek, Andrew N. Meltzoff, Anthony Greenwald) found 90% of five-year-old children had a positive self-esteem. Through this finding, they determined most people by the age of five developed a sense of self-worth. This is one reason the movement for self-esteem, acceptance and awareness education has become prevalent in school systems throughout the nation and is practiced in schools throughout Sanders County.

What happens to that continued training after graduating school? What about adults who never received this type of education when they grew up? What about adults who could use a refresher course?

In addition to focusing on improving physical health this year, why not spend some time on improving the world we live in? Join the nation in celebrating “It’s OK to Be Different” and cherish the differences of those around you, create a more peaceful world and learn to love and respect the person you have become.

Perhaps Christopher Bergland, a world-class endurance athlete, coach, author, political activist, motivational speaker and founder of The Athlete’s Way, said it best. “Learning to love yourself might actually be the greatest gift of all.” When you learn to love yourself, love for others will follow.


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