The Importance of Feeling Special

I’ve been listening to a podcast lately about a kind of guru who calls herself a “spiritual catalyst.”  Her name is Teal Swan.

Here’s what’s interesting to me–Teal Swan grew up in a hippie family in Utah, non-Mormon, and so feeling different.  She had some problems as a young person that led to at least one suicide attempt, and so her parents (wealthy hippies) took her to a Chinese spiritual healer, who took her in as a person with a rare gift–the ability, with some training, to, well, have a look here.

But I really have nothing to say about Teal Swan other than that she was treated, from a comparatively early age as special.

That’s not an uncommon experience.  It happened to me.  I grew up in a nominally Jewish household, but joined the Lutheran church when I was 17 or so, and was baptized at 18.  I was treated as special.  Because I was Jewish, I was treated as a kind of fulfillment of prophecy (find an Evangelical  to explain the Book of Revelation to you if you don’t know what I mean).

I joined the youth choir and was told that I had “perfect pitch.”  I still don’t know if that’s true, but it made me feel special.  Once I made it to college, I felt it was required of me to study Hebrew, and to explain the Old Testament to people.

I surfed that wave of special for years.

My next dose came when, casting about for a college major, I decided to try sociology.  The sociology department at my school had an honors program, and once they looked at my transcript I was proclaimed one of the best and brightest.  Special.  I had the attention of faculty, I was given a paying job as a TA.  Cool.

And then I was accepted into ten of the eleven graduate schools to which I applied.  I was stoked.  I was stroked.

In other words, I had become a special junkie.

That was really quite hard to deal with when I dropped out of grad school.  I got a little bit of the sauce from time to time in other careers, but never another sustained hit.

Withdrawal is a bitch.

Maybe Bruce Springsteen put it best.  He often does.

(Hard to believe that in all these years, I’d never seen that video until today.)

Look, we all want to be special.  We all want to feel special.  We all want to be recognized.  And there is a reality in the sense that each of us is unique, and special for that reason alone.

And to the extent that we establish relationships with other people, we can be special to them–I think that’s what Dash fails to understand in the video above.

But special in the sense of “superior” is problematic.  We are all humans, and it would be a good idea if we behaved that way.

Teal Swan may or may not be a special junky.  But I was.

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