Be honest, was your first thought ‘no I’m not, bloody cheek!’ Was your second ‘oh crap what if I am ordinary’ followed by a feeling of ‘I need to do something extraordinary….now’. That would certainly be my normal thought process but this morning I questioned why. What’s wrong with having no special or distinctive features (dictionary definition of ordinary in case you were wondering), what’s wrong with being ordinary?
We are constantly being told to strive for more, to be the very best that we can be and that’s all very well, there’s nothing wrong with ambition, but what if the heights we are being pushed towards just give us vertigo? In the name of ‘motivation’ we are told to ignore fear, exhaustion, problems and just reach for the stars. We are told that we cannot be successful without confidence, strength, determination and a relentlessly positive attitude. We are constantly having great men and women held up before us as bastions of achievement: the rich, the famous, the beautiful, the athletic, the intellectual, the spiritual. We are presented with so many images of people that we should aspire to that it’s easy to lose our own face when we look in the mirror…..
Many of these people that we so admire, and often feel so inferior to, have their place in the halls of fame for no other reason than genetics; they are born with a symmetrical face, a beautiful body, intelligence, athletic ability etc. Yet we often feel that we can’t live the life of our dreams if we don’t somehow attain these attributes; what do we think we can do? Go back and change our parents? Of course not, that’s impossible, so we do what we can: we have plastic surgery, we diet, we study, we work out, we push and push and push until we are satisfied……are we ever satisfied?
Invariably no because there will always be someone cleverer, more attractive, more successful, more talented…or is that just what we tell ourselves? We look at those people we aspire to, we want to swap our lives for theirs but what do we really know about them? All we ever really see is a media image, a reflection of their success. How many ‘stars’ have died young from drug overdoses, how many have broken marriages, how many have become a recluse in an attempt to escape their world? How many are accused of assault or are victims of the same? They struggle with their weight, their mental health, alcoholism, drug addiction and often lose those battles over and over again.
Their lives are ‘ordinary’ inasmuch as they suffer from exactly the same challenges that everyone else faces; they are merely extraordinary because they face them under the glare of the spotlight. Yes they have success, fame and money but none of those things will detract from the pain of grief or betrayal; they will suffer no more and no less than someone who has nothing.
To say that we are ‘ordinary’ is to say that we have nothing special that defines us but each of us is unique; there is no-one else absolutely identical to us on the face of this planet. We are one in 7.5 billion. Isn’t that extraordinary? If you found a flower that was a one-off, never seen before or since, wouldn’t you cherish it and protect it from harm? Wouldn’t you shower it with everything it could possibly need to keep it alive and thriving? Wouldn’t you hold it up for the world to see so that you could share its unique beauty, the traits that no other flower shared?
You, exactly as you are, at this very moment, are far from ordinary. If you want to change something about yourself then do it but not because you want to be less ‘ordinary’, you will never be that….