April 28, 2017

Pretending we’re Not Awesome is a Weird Freaking Thing to Do.


If someone came up to you on the street and asked, “Are you totally awesome?,” what would you say?

At my healing women’s retreats, I tell participants on the first night that only awesome women are allowed, so I ask each participant whether or not they fit the bill.

At first, most of them pretend like they don’t know how awesome they are.

They say things like, “I’m not awesome because I have three failed marriages,” or “I’m not awesome because I’m not doing anything good for the world,” or “Everyone else here is awesome, but not me.”

They have some strange notion that they are being nice or good or generous or humble by excluding themselves from the awesomeness club.

It’s weird. And completely inauthentic. And I totally call them out on it.

At some point in the weekend, each participant admits to her own awesomeness. She admits that she’s known it all along but has been pretending she doesn’t.

Here are six reasons why pretending you’re not awesome is really weird and why you should stop:

1. You think people will connect better to you if you deny your awesomeness. You look around and realize that other people don’t recognize their own awesomeness and so you think you are doing them a service by pretending not to recognize yours. But really, you’re just reaffirming the belief that “not awesome” is a real thing. It’s not. “Not awesome” club is like “unicorn believers” club. It’s weird. And not something you want to belong to. Stop it.

2. You think denying your awesomeness makes you humble, but you secretly think that being humble is awesome. So you pretend you don’t know how awesome you are so that other people will think you’re humble, and therefore awesome. It’s manipulative. And inauthentic. And weird. Stop it.

3. At some point in your childhood, you failed at something or got rejected or hurt, and you decided that you have some sort of inadequacy. The past only exists in your story about it, but you live your life as if your past is real. You are reacting to something that doesn’t exist. That makes you a superstitious, crazy person. Which is weird. Stop it.

4. You want to be right. You’ve spent your life trying to be right about your superstition that you are inadequate. You pretend you’re not awesome because you think being right about not being awesome is more awesome than just owning your awesomeness. So you look for evidence to prove that you’re not awesome. You even try to defend how not awesome you are when someone calls you awesome. It’s annoying when you do that. And really freaking weird. Stop it.

5. You would rather deny your awesomeness than get disappointed. You think that if you admit to your awesomeness and that awesomeness is not constantly reaffirmed, you’ll look stupid for thinking you were awesome. You would rather be totally powerless, live a very small life, and sit around pretending you’re not awesome than be disappointed. You would rather never admit to how awesome you are than own your awesomeness and risk allowing others to disagree with you. Which is absurd. Because some people are going to think you suck no matter what you do, say, think, or believe. People have weird thoughts. And you’re weird for caring about people’s weird thoughts. So stop it.

6. You’re hiding behind “not awesome.” You think that by insisting that you are not awesome, you are getting off the hook for having to play all-out in life. You use “not awesome” as a justification for why you’re not taking responsibility for your own happiness, making a bigger difference, and/or producing better results. Stop making weird excuses. Either take responsibility or don’t. Own your choice. Don’t pretend like you can’t. Just be real about what you are actually committed to.

So here’s the down-low:

It’s not true that we’re awesome. It’s equally not true that we aren’t awesome. Awesome or not awesome doesn’t exist in the realm of truth. If we put our cells under a microscope, we would not find awesomeness or the lack thereof.

Both are valid perspectives that can be backed by evidence. Having evidence to support one perspective doesn’t make it true. That’s just selective perception. Neither awesome or not awesome are more true for anyone. We are free to choose whatever perspective we wish. So, isn’t it weird to choose a disempowering perspective?

Like an optical illusion, if we believe we are not awesome, that is what we will find. And if we believe we are awesome, that is what we will find.

If we believe we are not awesome, we are being stingy with ourselves. We are creating lack where there is none.

Stop it.

Look around the world. Look at what the hell is happening. We do not have time to pretend to not be awesome. We don’t have time to pretend that we don’t know how incredibly brilliant, special, and awesome we are.

I don’t care how much you make or weigh or where you live or how talented you are or how many friends or followers you have.

We are, always have been, and always will be, completely and totally awesome. And it’s weird, annoying, and selfish when we pretend like we’re not.

So stop it and own the awesome self that you already are. 


Author: Brandilyn Tebo
Image: ellevalentine/Flickr 
Editor: Catherine Monkman

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