Awkward happens when “who we want to be” is revealed to be different than “who we are at this moment”. Maybe we are trying be suave in front of that cute guy, savvy when we talk to our new boss, or awesome in all our yoga poses….when suddenly we insert foot in mouth, lose the thread, topple over, and sheepishly look up from a crumpled heap on the proverbial floor.
But here’s the sweet soft spot in the middle of that embarrassment: awkward only happens when we are invested, when our hearts are engaged, and when we’re trying. There is an earnest beauty to awkward that only comes from putting our hearts on the line, risking embarrassment, and testing our boundaries. Awkward, as it turns out, is incredibly brave.
How often do we stay safe rather than risking awkward? Over time, to avoid that hot flush of embarrassment, we start to limit our behaviour and our possibilities. Perhaps we hide our Star Trek books and pretend we don’t wear a mouthguard (um, that’s me), or we resist walking up to cute guys and girls because the potential risk of looking interested just isn’t “cool.” We hug in the boundaries of our potential in order to be hip or socially acceptable. And in doing so, we limit our freedom to really express our silliness, our joy, and our abandon.
We can only grow from pushing our boundaries, falling over, and getting back up. So give me your awkward family Christmas videos, Star Trek memorabilia, and posed cat photos! Show me someone who isn’t afraid to fall over, share their enthusiasm, and be excited about their lives.
In your yoga practice, have the courage to risk being awkward by testing your boundaries, embracing failure, and laughing as you pick yourself up.
Through the fire of awkwardness, new possibilities will be revealed. And as you embrace your inner ugly duckling, you give permission to those around you to similarly free themselves from the restrictions of cool and hip, and instead get down to the business of living from their beautiful, earnest, vulnerable hearts.