Awesome Alex’s Burning Question: “How do we tell when it is time to find the positive aspects of something and when to just say “umm, no, definitely not”? Like, let’s say you walk into a really lame dance party. Do you think “Hmm well I suppose there is nice lighting,” or rather, do you laugh and think “Hah! Nope!” Or maybe one could even fully embrace and make fun of the lameness, having fun doing so. It seems that there are many possibilities in such a scenario, and many creative ways to make it more Awesome.”
Dear Awesome Alex,
Thank you for your awesome question. How do you know when to make the best of a situation, and when to walk away? I believe Kenny Rogers said it best when he sang:
You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
And yes, I’m aware that I may have just turned this blog post into a super lame dance party, but bear with me, I do have a point to make. So, strap yourselves in puppies; here we go:
Who decides if the party is lame?
Now, this may go without saying (although, it obviously doesn’t), but who exactly gets to decide if a party is lame? Well, you do. But that decision isn’t as cut in stone as you may think it is. There are no parties that are inherently lame. You can decide, for example, that if they start doing the Macarena (*gasp!*), that the party has officially jumped the shark. But that would be your choice. And it’s a choice that many people make all the time.
For example, I was dancing at gay club a few months ago (because that’s where the really good dancing can be found), and a girl in our party was standing at the edge of the dance floor, looking like she’d just smelled a fart. At the risk that she had actually just been crop dusted and I was about to walk into a cloud of airborne poo particles, I carefully approached and asked her if she wasn’t having a good time. She replied that she couldn’t have a good time, because she hated the music (80’s pop. Obviously). I asked her what music she did like, and she said “Rock”. She had decided that she could not have fun unless a very specific type of music (whatever her definition of rock was) was playing, her night was ruined. Like seriously, she just wasn’t going to allow herself to let go and relax. I advised her to get gloriously drunk and she agreed that this would probably help.
What I really wanted to ask her but didn’t since it wouldn’t have been received well, was why she had bothered leaving the house at all? I mean, if you can only have a good time under very specific circumstances, and if you can’t control those circumstances (the way you can if you throw your own party, for example), then it’s pretty much a guarantee that you’ll end up being miserable. Why even bother, I ask you?
If, on the other hand, you decide that you’re going to have a good time, no matter what, then you never have to control anything or anyone again. This is how I approached the club that night. You see, in Spain, they love to sprinkle a set or two of Spanish Pop into the mix. If you’ve never heard Spanish Pop, it’s akin to the German Schlager. There really is no equivalent in the English speaking world for this (lucky you), but honestly, it’s like a big old chunk of Gouda set to music. In other words, it’s cheezy as fuck.
In other words, this is not music I would, if given a choice, purposefully listen to. And yet, if I happen to be out dancing, having decided to have a good time (otherwise, why the hell go?), and Spanish Pop comes on, I continue to dance with wild abandon. Why? Because I choose to. Because there’s still a beat. I’ll even sing along. Are there songs that make it easier for me to shake my booty with utter joy? Well, yes. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop having fun and stomp off the dance floor in a huff because I just can’t handle the fact that they’ve played a song that isn’t on my personal favorite playlist (how dare they?!). And as long as I’m there, I’m going to make the absolute best of it.
How to have a good time no matter what
So there you are, having walked into the lame party. Now, you have a choice to make. You can either have a good time, or you can leave. How do you decide what to do? Well, CAN you have a good time? Or are the decisions you’ve made (knowingly or unknowingly) about what is and isn’t lame, and what is and isn’t acceptable to you, basically your judgments, making it impossible for you to just let yourself go and be in the moment? If the cheezy music or the fact that your ex is there is distracting you to the point that you can’t relax and have fun, then leave. The one thing you don’t want to do is stay in a situation that isn’t fun, while TRYING to have fun. Stop trying. Either have fun or go home. Anything in between is going to be torture.
Now, if you’d like to get to the point where you can have a good time anywhere, no matter what, you’re going to have to learn a few skills.
- It’s your decision. The first thing you want to keep in mind is that it really is just your choice whether or not to have fun. If you keep looking for certain conditions, you’re giving your power away. Who cares if so and so is here, or if the food isn’t organic, or if it’s too hot? Ignore him, live dangerously and get your sweat on. Or, go home. No one is forcing you to be there. Standing in the corner scowling at everyone is a decision too. A shitty, shitty decision.
- It’s no one else’s decision. You do not need anyone else’s permission to have a great time. So, just because your friends declare loudly that “This place blows, and not in a good way!”, doesn’t mean you have to agree. Make up your own damn mind. If they can’t have a good time there and you decide that you want to find a place that you all like, that’s a choice, too. But if you find yourself agreeing with them out of fear of disagreeing, you’re going to end up feeling resentful of them every time they express an opinion different from yours. That resentment comes from you not being willing to speak your truth, though, and actually has nothing to do with them. Keep in mind, also, that people who criticize everything are also criticizing themselves all the time. Nothing is ever good enough because they’re never good enough.
- Realize that your environment is a mirror. You have to remember that whatever your reality is showing you, it’s just a mirror of your energy. You kind of have to ask yourself why you manifested a lame party in the first place? Have you been feeling a little powerless lately? Have you been focusing on what’s wrong with the world instead of its awesomeness? If you start to emanate the vibration of “good time”, if you decide to get into a feeling of fun on your own (no outside circumstances needed), then everything around you will have to morph to mirror that fun back to you. This is, incidentally, how you influence a whole room full of people. I’ve done this many times, and it’s an amazing experience. But you don’t do this by worrying about the other people, or the conditions. You do it energetically, by being the beacon of fun, by appreciating, by deciding to see the awesomeness in everything. You can also do the exact opposite of that, by the way, by deciding that everything is shit. Make that decision and watch everything turn to shit around you. Actually, never mind. I’m sure you’ve had that experience already. Just go with the fun for a change.
- Don’t be afraid to be the freak. I have done the chicken dance at a wedding. In a cocktail dress. “Why?”, you may ask. Because they played it, I was on the dance floor, and it was fun (seriously. It was glorious). Do you ever notice how people over 50 (generalizing here, stay with me) often go wild at weddings and other get-togethers? They’re out there doing the conga lines and the chicken dance and line dancing badly without a care in the world for what others think of them. Why? Because they have finally gotten to that stage in life where they no longer give a fuck. They’re allowing themselves to live, to experience, to be in the moment. They’ve learned that what other people think just doesn’t matter. They’d rather have a good time than cater to other people’s insecurities. Look to the fringes of the dance floor, and you’ll see those who haven’t yet learned that lesson – the teenagers and 20 and 30 year olds, too embarrassed to get in on the fun, who console themselves with making fun of the lameness. “Yes, we’re here, but we’re only here ironically.” Either join the fun or get out, I say. You’re fooling no one.
Why having fun by making fun is not a good idea
Which brings me to the next part of your question: Can you have fun by making fun of the situation? Well, yes. To a degree. But it’s not authentic and won’t lead to joy. You see, either you like something or you don’t. If you’re making fun of something, it’s either because you don’t like it, but think you have to stay (you don’t), and are therefore making the best of an ugly situation. Just be honest about not liking it and leave. Or, you may actually secretly like the thing you’re making fun of, but not feel like you have permission to because your friends have declared it lame, so you do, too. Again, just be honest about how you feel and admit that you do like it. So what if your friends disagree? Do you really all have to share the same hive mind? And if you do, are you sure you want to be hanging out with these people?
So, while you can have a bit of fun disparaging the situation you’re in, by doing so, you’re not being honest. It feels so much better to either really get into the action or just go someplace else.
If you’re able to have a great time, stay where you are. If you notice that certain judgments you’ve made are keeping you from having a great time, then either let those judgments go (“You know what? I can totally dance to Vanilla Ice!”), or make the decision to leave. But if you do stay, make the decision to really enjoy it. You don’t need anyone’s permission except your own. So, get your ass out there and do the chicken dance! You know you’ve always secretly wanted to…