Freedom to Be Different

Freedom to Be Different

©2016 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.

Do you ever think about your freedom to be different? Each July 4th, we in the USA celebrate our broadest freedom: the founding of our country on the basis of people’s right to live as they choose. We rightly remind ourselves that freedom isn’t free.


Hundreds of thousands fought and gave their lives, here and abroad, to establish and keep the freedom this country enjoys. Most Americans want people to live entirely as they choose. Each American can choose how to express himself/herself. Yet how much do we exercise this vital freedom?

Can others tell you what to wear? Each year, the fashion world changes the colors and shapes of fashion that are “in.” Some like to play the game and mix up their wardrobe collection to have fresh looks. But there are extremes of cultural ideas about which fashions to match. Last year, I saw a video scene that burned itself into my mind. In a community ruled by the Taliban, girls at age 11 were expected to start wearing a light blue burka with an open-weave eye opening. One day, 20 girls looked at each other and asked, “[W]hat would happen if we took these off?” They took them off and joyfully ran down a hill, together, celebrating their humanity, not their sameness.

Some of our differences are aspects with which we are born. I was born with white-blonde hair, 10 fingers and 10 toes. My sisters were all born with dark red hair, each with 10 fingers and 10 toes. Leaving New York City via train one day, I helped a woman with a beautiful baby when we were asked to change cars. I had never before seen a baby with 6 perfect toes on each gorgeous little foot. My ideas of what is normal, same, and usual expanded that day.

A priest friend of mine has a son, Christopher, who is now 7. When he was about 6, my friend shared this story, which I am using with her kind permission: “Christopher came home from his two nights at church camp raving about the ‘coolest man who was born with only one hand!’ The fact that he was born this way delighted him and clearly expanded his worldview immensely, because it hadn’t occurred to him this was a possibility before.

“We may get nervous when our kids stare at someone who looks different than them, but Christopher made it clear that differences are marvelous, exciting, and inspiring. Children are curious about people and want to celebrate the uniqueness of others which then, I imagine, makes the other not quite so other. And I am pretty sure that’s what the world needs. Thanks, Christopher.”

How much do we believe everyone is or should be the same? When we take delight in our originality and our differences, we are free. Celebrate your freedom and feel the joy. Truly, we are In/Joy/Meant. And that’s Upbeat Living.

Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert and author of the award-winning book, Kebba booksDiscover the Secret Energized You, as well as the 2013 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core, Second Edition. Her newest book, Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine, is available through her office. Just email for more info. Like this article? Buy Kebba’s books by clicking the links! Reach the writer at For an appointment or to ask Kebba to speak for your group:

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