What does "cool" look like to you? For me it's changed over the years but usually it involves someone who's extroverted, bubbly, pretty (but not too pretty), athletic, thin, and has all the *right* stuff. I know, I know you're thinking "Jeez we're not in high school anymore - what's the big deal?", and I would agree that even though the cool thing is not nearly as bad as it was in high school I think the idea still exists in us as adults.
Maybe now "cool" is defined as any/all of the following:
Neighborhood you live in
Car you drive
School your kids attend
Music you listen to
Clothes you wear
Friends you hang out with
Book you read
If your KIDS are cool
and the list goes on.....
The problem for me with the whole idea of "cool" is that generally categories and boxes come along with it. For example: I live in an artsy neighborhood and most of my friends are into organic food. I like organic food too but I also occasionally still eat at McDonald's! Shhhhh!!! Or : I love thrifting clothes for many reasons from the fact that it's less expensive to the idea of recycling our resources BUT I also still sometimes shop at Anthropologie!! SHHHHHH!! And you get the general idea. There's something inherent in us as people about wanting to "fit in". It's so comforting to be part of a group. Problem is that most if not all of us don't neatly fit in these kind of boxes. We're eclectic. We're a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll.
Brene writes ~
There are many ways in which men and women hustle for worthiness around these issues, but the two that keep us the most quiet and still are hustling to be perceived as "cool" and "in control".
We hustle for our worthiness by slipping on the emotional and behavioral straitjacket of cool and posturing as the tragically hip and the terminally "better than". Being "in control" isn't always about the desire to manipulate situations, but often it's about the need to manage perception. We want to be able to control what other people think about us so we can feel good enough.
For me this whole idea goes back to authenticity and being vulnerable. It takes serious guts to be authentic! Putting the real you out there is an extreme act of vulnerability. Being willing to unhinge others perceptions of who they think you are? That's brave. Letting go of categories? Crazy hard. Being willing to be a silly goof-ball when everyone else is standing around looking good? Nearly impossible (for me)!
Maybe a lot of it boils down to the notion of being able to laugh at ourselves and not take ourselves so dang seriously! For me, watching my kids just be who they are is so awesome. They are (for the most part) still little enough that they're unaware of trying to fit in or be someone they're not. There's nothing more beautiful and inspiring than seeing that pure joy in them as they play and dance and are goofy.
In the words of Mark Twain ~
"Dance like no one is watching.
Sing like no one is listening.
Love like you've never been hurt and
Live like it's heaven on Earth."
p.s. If you're interested in some more audio on this topic click here