All my life I have been in awe of things I admired. If I wanted something badly, the want made it unattainable. The more I wanted something the further away it seemed and the harder or more impossible it became to acquire. This became the basis of my life: The things that you really want you cannot have. By either self-sabotaging or creating an awe-struck anxiety around the things I wanted, they became unattainable.
When I was younger it was easier to get what I wanted. I could simply put it on my Christmas list, write a polite letter to Santa and SHAZAM! If it was realistically priced it would pretty much always end up under the tree on the big day. But some things, the things that really mattered to me, could not be wrapped in pretty paper and tied up with ribbons.
In Awe of the Crush
As I reached adolescence it was boys. If I liked a guy for whatever reason, found them handsome or funny, I’d clam up. My throat would fill with sand and my lips would glue themselves together. I’d be so in awe of them that I’d ignore them or even act like a bitchy little snob if they spoke to me. I couldn’t even manage to make friends with them. Are you kidding? How can you even talk to someone you are in awe of!
This behaviour continued into my late teens and early 20’s where it was pretty much impossible for me to talk to any guy I found attractive or interesting. Eventually I turned to alcohol. The thing with drinking is that knocking back a few can help you pluck up the courage to come out of your shell. Known as social lubricant, alcohol can help you open up and release that awesome personality you keep locked inside. However, relying on alcohol to help you be yourself is never a good idea. And, as the mighty Lorde sings ‘But what will we do when we’re sober?’ Because, you can’t be drunk all time.
In Awe of my Own People
I’ve always had a thing for musicians. I used to have huge mega-crushes on minstrels and troubadours alike, who would not only make sweet sounds but also pen romantic verses to match. How many musicians have I dated? Zero! Why? Because I was so freaking busy being in a state of awe of them that I placed them on a huge pedestal. I made them into Gods in my head because I really liked what they did. Instead of just waltzing on up to them and saying “hey, that’s a really cool song” and talking to like a normal human, I stood back in awe and wished I had more nerve.
To make it even more ridiculous I too was a musician and a poet so I would have had plenty to talk about with these guys. But the awe made me feel less than. I loved music so much. I felt every note and every key change in the sediment of my soul. Music was my passion. Music was cool; far too cool for me. So eventually the awe around creating music became too great and I stopped all together.
Awe Sabotaging Friendships
As a teenager awe made it impossible for me to make friends with people I genuinely thought were cool. When I was 14 I moved from Hamilton – a small farming city – to Wellington – city imbued with art and culture. Everything was so different. For starters the kids at my new school wore mufti where I’d always worn a uniform. But these kids didn’t just slip on a pair of jeans and head to school. Oh no! They had a distinct individual style.
I desperately wanted to compliment some of them on their awesome sneakers or sweater, or mention that I really liked the bands that they had scrawled across their pencil case. But I couldn’t. It was as if the moment my mind decided I liked them, or had anything in common with them, they were off limits. They were too cool for me.
Inevitably this lead me to either make friends with people who were younger than me – and therefore for some reason less intimidating – or people who didn’t treat me very well. I also felt more comfortable around people that didn’t register as ‘cool’ in my mind. At one point in high school, I remember purposely sitting next to people I thought were nerds, just because I felt no pressure around them. I could be myself. So not only was I letting my Ego judge myself and others, I was then letting it decide who I was allowed to make friends with. And, seeing as I didn’t think I was worthy of being friends with like-minded people I found interesting, I allowed myself to create friendships that didn’t support or fulfil me.
Awe Stole my Tongue
At 14 I fell into a lonely depression. I had friends, but be honest I didn’t enjoy their company. I was not brought up in a religious family but still I prayed. I prayed that somehow I would manage to make friends with the group of girls whom I thought were cool -one of them wore the most awesome fur-trimmed coat I’d ever seen. I willed it in my mind each night. I imagined talking to them about music and art and hanging out at lunch times. I didn’t know it yet but what I was doing was manifesting my reality.
Towards the middle of the year a new girl arrived in our class. The teacher sat her down next to me. “Hi!” she said, “I’m Ella.” She plonked her bag down next to me and then said “Hey we have the same shoes!” I looked down. So we did. The exact same purple Doc Boots.
Ella and I chatted throughout the whole class. We liked the same music and both liked to draw. As the bell rang she said “Hey, do you want to come and meet my other friends? I kinda moved schools to be with them. I hated my old school.”
“Sure,” I said with a shrug. As we neared the canteen I saw them. It was the girls I had hoped to befriend. I couldn’t believe it. But as Ella introduced me I felt my throat seize up and my chest grow tight. I managed a stifled hello and that was it.
They invited me to join them for lunch. We sat on the field and made daisy chains. I listened to them speak but I could not join in. My lips were sealed together. I had what I wanted – I had been invited to hang out with people I actually thought were interesting – but it didn’t matter. They were still up on that pedestal and I was wallowing on the ground beneath them. What was the point of being around like minded people if I wasn’t able to open up around them?
Now that I knew Ella was friends with the ‘cool girls’ I could no longer relax around her either. I couldn’t talk to her like I had before. She was too cool for me.
I learnt a valuable lesson from that experience. Firstly, the universe is always listening, trying to meet your needs and your requests. Secondly, be careful what you ask for – you may get it but it might not be exactly what you need. I had asked for an opportunity to make friends with people I thought were cool. But what I really needed was to learn that I was worthy of quality friendships and true connection. I needed to learn that I was cool too. That what I had to offer another person was of merit. I’d forgotten that I was a unicorn, full of awesomeness. My mind was full of the belief that I wasn’t good enough to be friends with interesting people that I rated highly.
I remember seeing an interview with Jack White on Conan O’Brien. He was talking about how he’d bought a new house in Nashville and it needed a bit of work and that Bob Dylan, who now works as a welder, was fixing his gate. I could not believe it! Not about the welding part, that didn’t surprise me. It was the fact that Jack White was relaxed enough around Bob Dylan for him to fix his gate. I mean he’s Bob freaking Dylan! How can you ever get past that fact and move on to a cup of tea and “Hey Jack, I’ll fix your gate”? I don’t know if I could ever talk casually with someone I admire. Which is sad. After all, the people we admire are just people like you and me. What’s to say someone doesn’t admire you like that too?
Putting my Goals on a Pedestal
Awe also affected my goals. If I discovered something that I wanted to achieve, something that I thought would be fun or cool or enjoyable, I’d amp it up so much in my head that it became too over inflated to conquer. Or I’d over think it: I’d nit-pick at the idea or question my ability to complete the project and then ultimately fall victim to analysis paralysis. Basically, I’d let the Awe freeze me out until I gave up, feeling worthless.
If I did develop the nerve to strive for something I was in awe of, the anxiety created by the Awe would usually sabotage my attempt.
After I attended Performing Arts School I auditioned for a prestigious Drama School – twice. Both times I freaked out because I had spent years placing the school in question inside a big bubble of awe.
My first audition wasn’t too bad – I was told I needed more life experience – but my second was just appalling. I performed my monologue multiple times but failed to follow the tutor’s direction. Every time he spoke my mind filled with Awe filled waffle. I was too busy being completely awestruck by the head tutor to even listen to what he was saying. The fact that I was even allowed inside this prestigious drama school was enough to make my head explode!
Awe and the Ego
In her book The Universe Has Your Back, Gabrielle Bernstein writes about placing people on a pedestal or making them ‘special’. In her experience, it was a High School boyfriend whom she’d placed on the pedestal, ultimately making him into an idol. So not surprisingly when the relationship ended she was left heart broken. Bernstein that the Ego is responsible for the creation of Idols. The Ego, thinking only in good or bad, better or worse, likes to pull rank. It wants us to judge ourselves against others and determine our worth. The Ego is what makes us believe we are either above others or beneath them.
Believe it or not, most of us feel the effects of the Ego telling us we are either better or worse than others. Even the most successful, beautiful organised people feel at times that they are not quite good enough compared to someone else.
Sofia Amoruso shared in her battles with feeling inferior in her book #GIRLBOSS. Despite being the CEO of multi-million dollar fashion empire NastyGal, Amoruso admitted to feeling like “an interloper in a Black Sabbath T-shirt” when sitting in the board room next to Harvard graduates. She’d worked hard to get to where she was but still she felt inferior amongst these big-wig investors. “Finally though, I arrived at a point where I decided this was bullshit. I stopped feeling as if I didn’t belong anywhere, and realised that I belonged anywhere I wanted to be.”
When we place things up on that pedestal we can strain our necks looking up. When we make idols out of every people we are wasting value time worshipping them that could be used on investing in ourselves.
“I don’t want to be put on a pedestal. Anyway, I’m way to ADD to stay up there. I’d rather be making messes, and making history while I’m at it. I don’t want you to look up #GIRLBOSS, because all that looking up can keep you down. The energy you’ll expend focusing on someone else’s life is better spent working on your own. Just be your own idol. “ – Sofia Amoruso.
We are all Unicorns
The thing is dear Unicorn, we are neither better nor worse than anyone else. We just simply are. We are no better or worse than the janitor at the mall. We are no better or worse than the lawyer in the BMW. We are all equals and we are all God Damn Magical Unicorns.
To believe you are awesome is not to believe that other people are not. A true unicorn knows that being their best self and loving themselves down to their marrow, has no bearing on others. There is enough awesome to go around for everyone.
“Loving yourself does not mean hating on others.” – Lisette Prendé
There are no Pedestals
I’d don’t know about you but I’ve never actually seen anyone stand on a pedestal. They are for cakes and contestants on Gladiator. The pedestals in our minds simply are not real. They are part of an imagined ranking system that only exists because we let it. What if we were to lower those pedestals to the ground where we are all equal? How would that feel?
How Awe Blocks Abundance
The number one thing to remember when it comes to manifesting what you want is surrender. When we obsess over things we’re more likely to block the flow of abundance than to welcome it.
The ability to submit to the will of the Universe is fundamental to manifesting your desires. Have you ever noticed that it’s the little things that randomly pop into your head throughout the day, that you manage to manifest, yet the big things that you plead for, you do not? That right there is an example of how begging for abundance blocks its flow. Because when we beg it comes from a place of lack, scarcity and doubt. When we beg we are not using gratitude, faith or trust.
Similarly, when we place the things we want way up high on a mountain top and think to ourselves, I wish was good enough to play music/learn fluent French/find a spouse, all The Universe is hearing is what you are feeling and the vibration you are creating. And when we are in awe it is a vibration of Not Good Enough. Which, in Universe speak means I Don’t Deserve Good Things.
Calling out the Awe
A while back I realised that my awe issues ran deeper than shyness. They ran deeper than thinking someone was cool and wishing I had the guts to say so. My issues with placing things up high on a metaphoric pedestal stemmed from that fact that I did not place myself on one.
One of the most effective ways of breaking the awe is to call it out pretty quickly. If you think someone is beautiful, tell them. If you love someone’s art/music/books et al, tell them! The truth is most people don’t know they are awesome, so it’s nice to tell them you think so!
Meditation for Removing Awe
Another way I remove awe is to focus my meditations on lowering them pedestals. Once I have completed a body scan and have moved into deep relaxation, I visualise a large vast field. In that field is a very tall pedestal. Whatever awe issue is erking me at that moment is what I place up on the pedestal. In most cases it will be a person you put up there.
I see the pedestal slowly lowering until it has reached the ground. The person on it is now the same height as me. I walk up to them and take note of how they look up close. I take in their humaness. I give them a hug and thank them for the things they have done, created or achieved. I tell them that I admire them for their work. I watch as they blush from the compliment. I tell them that I have struggled from being in awe of them and I watch as they react, surprised. I explain that now I understand that we are all equals. We are all one. We are all connected in the Universe. Their gifts are mine. Mine, theirs.
No woman is an island. I want to surround myself with people I think are awesome. I don’t want to push them away or fear them. I want to work with them, support them and collaborate with them. I want to strive for the things I want to achieve. I don’t want to psyche myself out or subconsciously will myself to fail! I want to win.
Life is too short to spend it lurking in the shadows. Get out of your own way. Go after what you want. Befriend people you admire. You’re worth it.