Red Cardinal Life: Why We Are Made to Stand Out

He didn’t know how beautiful he was. The red cardinal bounced from branch to branch, twittering, and looking around himself as I stared at him. His bright red took over the green leaves of the trees. He looked both regal and vulnerable; his color screamed, “Look at me!” while he seemed tiny in comparison to the tree he was perched.

I refused to look away. Birds never stay still for long. I didn’t want to lose him. His color was riveting, and he had my full attention, for just those few moments.

And he didn’t even know it.

He didn’t even know I stood there gazing, caught by his beauty. That I ignored my morning coffee in my hand, steam rising as I hoped he would bounce closer.

I realized then, isn’t he like me? Aren’t we all like him? Beautiful in our own way. One of a kind, stand out from the crowd type of people, yet we don’t even know it. We don’t realize how amazing we are. We don’t realize how special and unique our vision, our gifts/talents, our personalities, our passions make us in comparison to everyone around us.

Not a single person on earth is made to blend in. We were all made to stand out. In our humanity, we don’t have defense mechanisms like some birds, insects, reptiles, mammals, and sea creatures that make us blend in to our surroundings. We were born with thoughts and feelings that make us unique compared to everyone… even our siblings who may have had all the same inputs as us.

Our bodies, minds, and emotions are uniquely ours- uniquely created. We have influence over our families, friends, and coworkers around us that nobody else does. I look up to some women in my life who look down on themselves and the same may be true for me as it’s easy to get caught up comparing.

“I’m not like her.”

“What do I have to give?”

“I’m plain compared to that person.”

Going back to the birds all around me on the porch that morning, besides just not realizing all the time that we are each uniquely crafted with inherent beauty, it’s the differences that make the world so much better. I thought of how a woodpecker is different than a cardinal. They don’t compare. They just live. And both are beautiful and unique.

If we were to drop our defenses, stop trying to blend in, and just live beautiful in our own right, how would the world look different? Maybe we’d spend more time talking to people around us rather than scrolling on our phones. Maybe we’d go for that promotion at work, rather than talk ourselves out of it with negativity. Maybe we’d apply for a business license, taking our side gigs to a new level of work.

Unlike the cardinal who might never realize his beauty, let’s step into the fullness of all we are meant to be and able to do. Let’s let confidence over fear carry us to the next “thing” in life. Let’s stop trying to blend in and recognize how intrinsically valuable we really are, owning our gifts and capabilities in the process.

Let’s be okay with standing out. We were made to!

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