Being allergic to being considered average isn’t as obvious as perfectionism but if you look closely, you might find it lurking there.
I sure did.
Before I tell you my story, I’ll tell you a funny one about my daughter….
It’s her first day in Acting 101 and they are to find an adjective to describe themselves that starts with the same letter as your first name.
Go ahead, what would be yours?
My daughter’s name is Avery, so the classmate she was partnered with offered words such as awesome or amazing. My daughter wasn’t into those descriptions – too boring she felt.
When she got into a circle to introduce herself, she came up with what seemed normal to her and stated “Hi, I’m Average Avery.”
To her surprise, everyone was rolling with laughter. She didn’t think it was that funny.
But in a school district where the kids are already being told ways to set themselves apart to get into their choice colleges, so they can have their choice careers, her peers recognized how hilarious it was that she could own her averageness.
I’ve got to say, it was a proud moment as a parent because it affirmed she felt good with who she was without the need to be more, better, or accomplished. Which of course, she is in some ways and not in others, the same way you and I are.
But my story isn’t the same as hers. My story for years was about trying to be perfect…. until I realized how exhausting (& boring) that was.
It wasn’t until my recent sabbatical that I realized all my ego did was morph the way in which I tried to fill up a sense of worthiness from perfectionism to standing out.
Just like perfectionism, there’s rewards to the behavior of standing apart. According to my ego, standing out was necessary for success. And, it’s true. But there’s a huge difference between how your heart leads you on your unique journey to do your unique thing and the way the ego wants to use that same uniqueness about you to drive you to be enough and worthy.
What the ego is so good at is locking arms with your rational mind to convince you that the ego’s way is the right path. What I heard was “Successful people keep going even when they don’t want to right?” “You do what others aren’t willing to do!” “If you want something bad enough, keep going to make it happen.”
Thankfully, my emotions were there to guide me and showed me that my pushing was making me really unhappy.
So I just stopped pushing and waited until my heart wanted to move forward again.
It was both liberating and horrendous ;/
The liberating part was the freedom I felt from the pressure of my ego to push my way through.
The horrendous part was the questioning of my ego that I was letting my purpose & dream die by not continuing to push.
“What’s going to set you apart Michelle?” my ego asked.
Nothing. No-thing. Not a New York Times best-selling book, an interview with Oprah, or a million dollars in the bank.
It’s not that I wouldn’t love any of those experiences to happen. It would be flipping amazing!! It’s the push that my ego has convinced me of that I need to become those things in order to be enough.
So I sat in my nothingness. And there was nothing.
There wasn’t the banter of my ego nor my desire. It was kinda odd to have neither.
Then I finally got it: there was just me and I realized I am fine as is. (Which is usually what you find when you peel back yet another layer of the ego. Note to ego: I feel properly exfoliated. Thank you!)
All the fears my ego used to keep me pushing (you’ll go bankrupt, you’ll never fulfill your purpose, you’ll be seen a failure/person who let it all go, you’ll be average/invisible/not special) became so clear that they weren’t true.
What I found was that when there’s a push from my ego needing those things to set me apart, it keeps me apart in ways known and unknown from aspects of myself, from you, and from the divine that shows up in average ways in every moment.
Today, my heart feels absolutely compelled to share is that your emotions are there to guide you and any child you love (from itty-bitty-thing to adult) to be truly happy and fulfilled.
The truth is you can’t have happiness and fulfillment based on your ego’s demands. The ego’s way of manipulating you will make you believe the inner sense of joy and accomplishment come from the external ways you can set yourself apart.
Your emotions, on the other hand, are your inner-barometer to guide you to what inwardly will light you up and out in the world. And when you aren’t lit up, your emotions will teach you the love, guidance, and wisdom in that average moment to support you on your journey so you can indeed receive long-term joy, inner peace, and fulfillment.
Want to know where you stand with your ego and average?
Here’s a quick quiz/signs you’re Allergic to Average….
How many of these sound like you?
- You don’t celebrate yourself.
- You get bit by the comparison bug more than you would like to admit.
- You grew up and sometimes continue to struggle with not feeling enough.
- You are always onto the next thing.
- You are a recovering perfectionist.
- You feel like you should be further ahead.
- You over-indulge more than you’d like to admit in…food, alcohol, social media, shopping, binge-watching tv.
- Others view you as extreme in some way (amount of hours you work, how often you work out, the strictness with your food).
- You constantly feel (and secretly enjoy being) busy.
- You are hard on yourself in ways you would never be toward others.
The more yes responses you have, the more allergic to average you likely are.
Rather than run from being average, the above quiz can serve as a list to be watchful for how you are treating yourself.
The amazing news is your emotions will be there moment by moment to guide you back to your truth, self-love, inner-peace, confidence, and toward absolute fulfillment of your fullest, most joyful expression of you. When you are in this state, you’ll stand out to those who are like you. In fact, they’ll be eagerly searching for you 😉
In the next couple of weeks, I’m going to be reaching out to those of you who are parents because, based on what I’m seeing on social media, the trajectory for our kids with this need to stand apart by doing whatever is more fun, more different, more better….is going to be worse for them. What’s at stake is our kids happiness, emotional resiliency, and confidence.
The great news (that science backs up) about being a parent is that even if you have something that you have been challenged by, it does not have to be passed along to your kids.
In many ways, that’s what I think the job of a parent is, to see the insanity of the norms you grew up with and outgrow them to make your kid’s life better. (This goes the same for you if you are an aunt/uncle, teacher, coach, or any form in which you connect with someone younger than you.)
If you are a parent, I invite you to sign up here (http://parenting-webinar.michellebersell.com/) for my special free training I have coming up called 3 Simple Solutions to Troubleshoot Your Kid’s Negative Feelings (& Cultivate Happier, More Resilient Kids).
In the meantime, may the momentum of your heart be free of the pushing of your ego so you may truly fly high!