The internet. I am so glad that my friend Erin convinced me to get connected to other people through social networks because I would not have otherwise been able to grow friendships with so many different people so easily. Houston is full of fun, cool, interesting, funny and crazy people that I have met in person and got to know better online.
Also, I found this, which has made my life better in so many ways...
December 8: Beautifully different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different - you'll find they're what make you beautiful.
He said something to me that I won't ever forget. Instead of just saying that I was a pretty little girl and not to worry about it, he said "Look at you. You have green eyes and beautiful auburn hair. I bet those women have to dye their hair to make it look like yours - it's so shiny and pretty!"
For some reason, that made me understand different. Something about those words have given me license to feel beautiful even though I don't look like everybody else and it helps me see the things that make others beautiful too.
UPDATE: I just realized that I totally whiffed it on answering this question so I'm going to expand my answer.
I've always been a bit different. Not in the quirky, movie heroine (Zooey Dechanel I'm looking at you.) different - weird. I'm a bit weird. I have a perpetually derailed train of thought, think poop jokes are funny and sing to my dog all the time (I realized I was doing it just this morning while walking him. My neighbors think I'm crazy.)
As a result, I have a lot of compassion for people who are weird, embarrassed or are having a hard time. I can't stand to see people uncomfortable or hurting, so I do my best to lay my pride on the altar of shared human connection and try to make them laugh. At me, at something silly, at a fart joke - anything.
Yes that might make me juvenile or make them think I'm an idiot (this happens a lot! It's hard to be nice and have people take you seriously), but I'm always reminded Gretchen Rubin said in the Happiness Project: "It's easy to be heavy, hard to be light." It's very true - it's so much easier to be cynical than it is to be fun, kind and easy.
Cynicism needs only to tear apart other's ideas and beliefs, but doesn't require a person to put themselves out there. It's like a suit of rude armor, deflecting people's insecurity back on themselves and protecting the cynic from any connection with other people. If you can't tell already, I'm not a fan of cynics and I think that this quote sums up why:
The cynic is one who never sees a good quality in a man and never fails to see a bad one. He is the human owl, vigilant in darkness and blind to light, mousing for vermin, and never seeing noble game. The cynic puts all human actions into two classes — openly bad and secretly bad. Henry Ward Beecher
Ok - enough hating on cynics. All of this small rant boils down to one main point: vulnerability makes people beautiful and it helps us love each other for who we are. We're all different, all a little sensitive about our quirks, but the people who love us do so because of, not in spite of, these quirks (ex: I talk too much and so loudly, it bothers me, but my husband thinks it's cute).
I love being different. It makes me, me :o)