Sometimes we all get caught up in feeling hopelessly average - like being average is something to be feared and loathed. Neither being good nor bad. Just meh. That mindset where I would never be exceptional in ONE thing bothers me...A LOT. It shouldn’t because I am pretty good at many things. After all, if we were all meant to be great at everything, how do we measure true greatness? Maybe that’s why I do so much, because I’m still looking for that ONE thing I could say that I was really good at - my standout moment. Or am I hoping that my collective 'above averages' can add up to satisfying my ego?
In this day and age, to be average seems to be something that we need to avoid. Could it be viewed in a worse light than not being good? Not being good has this hopeful standpoint that you can improve from, whereas if you’re average, and have been for some time, you start to feel like you’re invisible.
This is not a dig at people who pursue their own big magic or Olympic medal. I respect and admire the endless sacrifices these people make to define their measure of greatness. I have a lot of talented friends, and some have lived on two-minute noodles and air for a shot at their dream. However when you buy into our society’s pursuit of exceptionalism, it can be quite exhausting. In reality, not everyone is going to be a gold medalist, or a professional dancer, or be that researcher that discovers the next wonder drug.
The hard truth is, even if you were born with a talent that you mold and nourish (which is only a head start, not a guarantee) - the path to exceptionalism is forever filled with doubt, sacrifice, hard work and at times, loneliness. We are all human after all.
As with life, most ‘rules’ are just guidelines. So here are my FIVE guidelines for doing ME and to live a more soul-enriching lifestyle:
If you value your vibe, choose your tribe. Often I find myself flowing in and out of different circles depending on where my head’s at. It’s about owning your self-worth, valuing your time - because you have the choice who you surround yourself with. This can mean physical or emotional/mental separation. Yes, I get it, what if it’s family or friends you’ve had forever that is causing you discontent? Start by empowering yourself, you can’t control their words or actions, but you can CHOOSE how you react to them. Remember we are all mirrors, what you find frustrating in others you also see in yourself. Oh snap!
Let go of judgement, because guilting yourself into action sucks. If you did something because someone made you feel guilty, would you feel good about it? So why do we do it to ourselves? If where you are in life isn’t where you want to be - own it! Don’t play the victim because that gives you excuses and reasons why you can’t make it better, right? Start at where you are at this moment, not where you hope or feel you should be. Don't be so hard on yourself...
Appreciate the small wins as much as the big ones. Our lives are actually a collection of wins - often we’ve set our sights on the big ones that we don’t make time to enjoy the journey. The cool things about being mindful is that it creates joy in awareness of the building blocks of your life, and puts external gratification way down on the list of what we seek. It’s a bit like craving chocolate, finding one piece left in your stash. You can be like I wish I had more, or just be happy that at the moment you had some in your stash. Chocolate lovers always have emergency chocolate, right?
Give yourself permission to do things you love. This goes in part with the guilt thing. Busy people, busy lives, and we only have so much time to do life. In always doing and trying to live up to perceived responsibilities (like jobs, family, friends etc) we don’t leave enough time for ourselves. We give, give, give, give all of our energy because either we feel we HAVE TO (see Letting Go above) or it’s always been the way and we’ve never really thought about how different our lives can be if we OWN our choices.
Breathe. Oxygen, I love it. More than food, yes even more than chocolate. Just can’t live without it. I’ve tried - like that time my cousin threw me into the pool before I knew how to swim. Luckily for me I didn’t die, because I didn’t learn to swim until I was 8 years old and now I LOVE IT. Of course, there are some things or actions that are time dependent. Like putting out the trash the night before, or before the truck comes in the morning so you don’t have to run out in your shower hair and dressing gown. A little bit of adulting is good. However, if everything in our lives is super serious - where’s the fun in that? If I’m lucky enough to live to an age when I’m more wrinkly than not, I hope to have awesome stories to tell my future grandkids, and not have such a boring obituary.
I’m yet to be convinced that there’s such a thing as a perfect life. Maybe I could believe in perfect moments - where for a split second all the stars have aligned and I wouldn’t change a thing. Perhaps it’s the cynic in me, or I could just be hangry. As the saying goes, it’s not about the glass being half full or empty, it’s knowing you can always refill it.
Peace, love and chocolate.