I recently watched one of my favourite TED talks from Brene Brown, entitled, ‘The Power of Vulnerability.’ It’s a fantastic talk. I really took on board what she said and used it to re-frame my view of anxiety and specifically public speaking nerves, going from a mindset of ‘If I look nervous, people will think I’m pathetic,’ to… ‘showing vulnerability and humanity allows me to better connect with my audience.‘ Click below to watch this now:
Today, I just want to touch on something that Brene only briefly mentions – the danger of feeling that you’re not good enough if you’re not extraordinary.
With hindsight, I think that this is something that I feel foul of throughout my teens and twenties. I wanted to travel to exotic places; meet exciting people; attend fabulous parties; tackle physical challenges. Or at least – I wanted to be seen to be doing these things. Would I have wanted to do all of these things if I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone? Mmmmm…. some, yes. But many not.
Because actually, I was more concerned with being seen to be doing extraordinary things, than I was in actually doing them.
If I wasn’t doing these things, then it meant that I was boring. Lacking. Not enough somehow.
And I’m not alone in this. Every week, there’s a new story about another Insta-wannabe, who plunges themselves into debt and depression by trying to living this extra-ordinary life. Worse still, are the millions whose self-esteem is shaped by this need to be seen to be different/unique/special. Whether they’re looking to social media stars, showcasing fabulous bodies on fabulous beaches; or at their peers’ posts on Facebook, assuming that the filtered selfies and greatest moments are realistic representations of their actual lives (for more on this – click here); the greatest danger of all is that we’re so intent of being seen to be enjoying ourselves, that we forget to actually do so.
Luckily, the answer is simple!
As someone who has gone from having this mindset, to now being much more content with the ordinary – I can tell you that all hope isn’t lost. The key is MINDFULNESS.
Be in the present moment. Pay attention. Breathe. Notice everything around you with the mindset of someone who has never seen, heard, smelt, tasted or touched anything like it. Be curious about the little things.
Do that, and you’ll find that that your sense of peace and contentment rises to the point where you don’t need ‘likes’ on your holiday pictures; and where you can appreciate others’ pictures, without comparing your own life to theirs.
And the biggest upside? Paying attention to ordinary moments this way… will make them feel extraordinary!
Even better, you’ll realise that you don’t need to be anything to be good enough.
You just need to be.