So Awkward

Revel in your awkwardness.

With great effort I think I’m able to freeze my face into an impassive mask before my skepticism shines through. At the very least, I’m able to refrain from laughing out right in my instructor’s face.

He’s looking at me expectantly, and all the while, his words echo in my head. Revel in your awkwardness. Revel in your awkwardness. Your awkwardness. Your awkwardness. Changing and morphing until all that’s left is my own personal anthem: You’re awkward…You’re awkward…You’re awkward.

I manage a stiff nod to show my understanding, but inside, I’m appalled. Revel in my awkwardness? Impossible! How can I revel in something that causes me so much embarrassment?

As clearly as if I’d spoken my thoughts aloud, my instructor answered my desperate question. “Everyone is awkward when they’re learning. The problem is that we focus so much on our awkwardness that we end up hurting our performance. We are so afraid of embarrassing ourselves that we are unable to see what we might actually be capable of.”

It gave me a lot to consider, but I was still unsure. Or rather, still so sure. So sure of my nervousness that I couldn’t see beyond it. So sure of my embarrassment that I couldn’t see it for the learning moment it could provide. So sure of my awkwardness in one self-defense technique that I couldn’t see the other twenty I was capable of executing perfectly.

Sometimes I feel so awkward working a technique, that I’m sure I will embarrass myself if I really go for it. Instead, I hold back, am unable to perform the technique, and feel embarrassed by my lackluster performance. Maybe if we can try our best – and keep trying – despite the embarrassment we sometimes feel at our awkwardness, we would end up learning, growing, and achieving much faster.

Imagine what we would learn, what we could accomplish if we stopped worrying so much about embarrassing ourselves and started enjoying our awkwardness. Imagine, like my instructor suggested, what we might actually be capable of.

As a side note: I went home, still considering the advice I’d been given in my lesson. When I logged onto my computer awhile later, I stumbled across this video, and finally, everything clicked into place for me.