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July 18, 2017

To Be (or Not to Be) Awesome: a Guide to Daily Being.

“I’m awesome! No…I’m f*cking awesome!”

It’s the hot, new affirmation—and who doesn’t love it? We’re all “f*cking awesome.”

We chant this in meditation and yoga classes. We make it a morning ritual to remind ourselves. Many have put it on mugs and t-shirts.

Yes, I was feeling the awesome—until one day the arrow of critical thinking burst my bubble of bliss. Suddenly, I wasn’t feeling so awesome.

I get it. In our own unique way, we are all awesome. We all have talents to share with the world. This is the premise; yet, in my analytical mind, I had to find fault. Well, it’s not so much fault, as it is reality.

“Oh, sh*t, reality,” you say. “I forgot about reality.”

My first dive into extinguishing our flames of awesomeness was the awareness of our society. We live in a culture that judges self-worth on social media—how many friends we have, or how many likes and shares our posts receives.

It made me wonder: Are some people more awesome than others?

How can we feel awesome, when—in some cases—the world at large ignores us; whereas, others are ripping it up with their supreme awesomeness? What are the measurements of awesomeness, and how do we quantify it? Yes, I know. I really need to stop thinking. I’m being a buzzkill.

But here’s how I broke it down. There are days when I feel awesome—I wake up, look myself in the mirror, and say, “Gosh darn it, I’m awesome!”—and I believe I’m channeling my inner Stuart Smalley (for those old enough to get my comparison).

Then there are the days I can barely look at myself. I feel at odds with everyone in the world. On these particular days, I am far from being awesome. I am the worst of negative ninnies—however, most days, I am the dreaded word: average.

Oh snap! She said the dirty word, “average.” I know, I hate it too. Mediocrity has been the bane of my existence. I hate feeling and believing that I’m average. When we break down our feelings (if we dare to do so) statistically, we will find that on average, we feel average—or maybe slightly above or below.

We are content with our lives. Hooray! I am f*cking average!

The problem with the motto or affirmation, “I’m average,” is that it doesn’t sell well. It’s boring on coffee mugs and uninspiring on t-shirts. Who wants to go around promoting their averageness?

However, there is no shame in being average—in fact, it is a way of human life. We are all flawed.

Yes, I know it’s hard to admit we are not perfect—but, we are all perfectly imperfect. While affirmations are designed to guide us into a more positive state of mind and ultimately rewire our thinking process to achieve better lives, I contend that they also set us up with expectations we cannot fulfill.

We simply are not awesome every moment of every day, no matter how many times we chant it. We may convince ourselves we are—but then, we’ll have a setback, and we’ll demean and berate ourselves for not being awesome. See the spiral? It’s an existential trap.

So, what’s the key to all of this? No one wants to wake up in the morning, look themselves in the mirror, and chant, “I am average.”

So, I suggest removing the adjective in the sentence. In fact, remove all adjectives from all sentences. The key is not to label or define who we are, what we are, or how we feel, since life is given to change at any moment.

So, what are we left with?

“I am.”

Brilliant simplicity.

“I am”—or maybe, “I f*cking am,” if you love using f-bomb emphasis as much as I do—frees us from any expectation.

We don’t have to be anything—and yet, we can be everything in the present moment. There is no self-judgement or holding ourselves up to any set standard. We just are at any given moment, and that’s okay.

 

~

Author: Jennifer Ott
Image: Flickr/Lisa Parker
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Copy Editor:  Travis May
Social Editor: Sara Kärpänen

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Leslie Blanchard Jul 19, 2017 7:15pm

Right on! This was the exact right thing to read today. Peace.

Aimee-Claire Smith Jul 19, 2017 4:33pm

This was so positive and lovely. Thank you

Donna Townsend Jul 19, 2017 2:20pm

truth! I AM... great article... more from this Author please..

Jodi Marie Olson Jul 18, 2017 9:12pm

fantasic article! I AM!

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Jennifer Ott

Jennifer Ott was inspired by watching way too much “Monty Python” as a child. She is the author of several fiction titles, including the award-winning, Saying Goodbye, Vietnam Veterans of America highly recommended, Edge of Civilization, and Survivor of the Clan. Most recently she published Secrets of a Recovering Loner, a semi-autobiographical account of the several times she withdrew from societal demands to pursue creative endeavors. Connect with her on her website or Instagram.