Jessica Gonzalez
March 08, 2016 8:52 am

Whether you have just begun a new job, find yourself in-between friends or newly single, or are in the midst of some other important, nerve-wrecking, but potentially exciting transition, you might have experienced moments of feeling particularly, well, uncool. Maybe you feel like you don’t quite fit in with the other people in the office because you just moved to the area. Maybe you recently graduated college and are finding it difficult to navigate socially. Or, maybe you have always been plagued with feeling like the odd one out. In these cases, “uncool” might connote “unsure”, “unconfident”, and generally feeling lost or left out.

Well, I think most of us have been there — I mean, we can’t all be as graceful (or at least as charmingly awkward) as some of our favorite TV characters, or actors, or music personalities (and, who says they never feel uncool?). However, we can certainly reimagine coolness on our own terms by keeping a few important things in mind. Here are some ways to overcome those moments of not feeling cool enough and to own your own brand of cool in an empowering way.

Think about your strengths

When you feel uncool in a new place or around new people, try to remind yourself of things you are good at, or things you know a lot about. Feeling confident about yourself and your talents will help you feel très cool! Are you good at writing, or have an eye for photography? Do you have a knack for composing the perfect Instagram caption? Are you good with animals? Keep your strengths in mind or make a list of things you are good at and refer to it during those times you feel low. Once you become truly aware and attuned to your strengths, you can use these to craft and promote your own personal brand of cool that you can then share with others. You can then help others with your newfound positive vibes! Try to embrace your own version of cool, knowing that you have valuable ideas and talents to contribute.

Get outside of your own head

You can do this by simply challenging the notion of “cool.” It is important to keep in mind how objective this word can be. Some things that you find geeky or not worth sharing about yourself might really fascinate or intrigue those around you. (Of course, for many, geeky means cool! I mean, for me, it certainly does. I am writing this article from a desk adorned with crocheted cacti — let that speak for itself. What are words, even?)

If you are feeling uncool because you are surrounded by people who might be in-the-know about the city you just moved to, for example, take comfort in knowing that they were once in your shoes, too. Your head might be telling you how awkward and out-of-place you might appear to others, but how do you think they discovered all the cool things they know now? Ask a coworker if they’d be down to get drinks at the new karaoke bar that just opened up — and if they say no, at least you know you tried with one person.

It will be difficult to evade those pangs of feeling uncomfortable in your own skin until you challenge your old ideas and conquer your own thoughts. So get outside of your head and discover what’s out there!

Learn something new, plan a new experience, or travel

What could help you feel more cool than to know you are in the midst of planning an exciting trip or new experience? Learning new things, in turn, helps build confidence, which will help you overcome feeling uncool. Talking about your travel plans might help you look cool to others in a superficial way, but the long-term benefits of traveling will help you in a more meaningful way by contributing to your own personal brand of “cool.” By acquiring knowledge about another culture, for example, you are helping yourself by broadening your perspective. You can use this newfound knowledge to help yourself and others. The possibilities are endless when you choose to continue learning and engaging in new experiences.

Share your experiences with others, or teach people

Whether you are sharing your new experiences with others or are simply telling them more about yourself and where you are coming from, opening up and connecting with others will help you battle any fleeting feelings of ineptitude or “uncoolness.” I recently shared with a new friend about the languages I currently know, in addition to languages I am excited to learn, and that has helped us bond in a new way! We both enjoy French culture, and now I have a new friend to whom I can gab about Francoise Hardy all day (to supplement, of course, my obnoxious Tumblr reblogs.)

Relax, and take one thing at a time

Always remember to keep in mind that life is a series of moments — not one daunting thing in which you have to battle all obstacles at once, head-on. Even though life may feel more like the latter sometimes, try to relax and take one thing at a time. You won’t feel like you fit in at the new job during the first week — probably not even the first month — but try to feel good in knowing that in time, you will feel comfortable. You will find your friends, your significant other, your calling, in due time. But in the meantime, try to enjoy that bit of discomfort; bask in the awkward wonder of feeling uncool. It simply means you have left your comfort zone, allowing room for yourself to grow.

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