I have had an influx of new followers lately so a big welcome to you all. Hopefully, you are all well and my longer-term followers are too. Now is a perfect time to share a bit about me, Just Average Jen, and why I believe that being average is just good enough. Average can make you happy, no one needs to be perfect and here I will explain why.
Why I am happy to be considered average
Since I started my blog in October 2016 many people have said that calling myself average is putting myself down. Advised me to change my blog name or even seek counselling to help me see that I am not “just average”. Whilst I believe these were sometimes said with all good intentions I disagree completely.
Look at my above photo, I dye my hair but I have greys coming through. My clothes are not designer, or anywhere near, in fact, most of my clothes are from the supermarkets, why, because they are good enough and I like them. My priorities in life are elsewhere.
Not meeting societies view of perfection is ok.
When you walk down the street do you feel like you should stand out with everyone looking at you in a positive or negative way or prefer to just blend in? The media seems to encourage people to stand out, Instagram influencers with perfect homes and as such we all come to believe that is how we should be. It isn’t!
Everyone should be whatever makes them happy. Whilst some people want to be in the limelight, have the perfect figure, perfect house, perfect family that is not essential for happiness and I truly believe average is the key to happiness.
The formula for happiness
Happiness is so often seen as societies expectations of happiness. For example, you should be happy if you have a job, have children, are in a relationship and of a healthy weight and good physical appearance. The happy family above, are they actually happy though?
Happiness is an individual thing and what makes me happy will be unlikely to make someone else happy. I love true crime, for example, a quite niche interest that I know many people are not interested in.
What makes you happy?
I believe to achieve a good life for yourself you need a combination of what makes you happy and what makes you healthy. You only ever need to be good enough at anything. You never need to be the best just good enough.
I know I am not the best blogger out there, I know I am not the best mum or best girlfriend. I am however good enough at blogging that it has become a job I enjoy.
In general, I would consider myself an average mum and average girlfriend, sometimes I am moody, sometimes I feed my family takeaway. I am not perfect but I am good enough and that is all we need to be.
Be happy with who you are
The above peacock is showing off and opening its feathers. I believe you should do that too. If you have grey hairs, so what! Do you sometimes phone a pizza because you have had a busy day and don’t have the mental energy to cook? Go for it!
You are good enough as you are and you do not need to strive for perfection. Normal is ok, normal is good enough and you are good enough.
Instead of worrying about your weight and that number on the scales worry about your health and happiness as an important formula.
Next time you find yourself looking in the mirror and worrying about the way you look think about the way you feel. Do you feel happy, are you nourished with healthy food most of the time?
I believe your goal in life should be to be a combination of happy, healthy and average. If you are mostly happy and mostly healthy then that is good enough.
You are good enough and that is all you need to be
Striving for my happy weight
When I joined Slimming World in January 2014 I aimed to lose weight to become average and be someone who would just blend in. I aimed to get to a point where I felt good in my own skin.
I am a big fan of true crime TV shows and my ideal was to be the sort of person that if someone was describing me as someone they had seen would struggle because I was just normal, average, nothing special.
I just wanted to fit in and be average.
I chose my “target weight” to be a weight at which I was just inside the healthy BMI range for my height. You see, I just wanted to be normal!
My weight loss to this goal took just 16 months with healthy nourishing meals following the Slimming World plan.
There were times I went a little off plan because I openly accept I am a secret eater! I didn’t write those items in my food diary so, of course, it doesn’t count, does it?
When I reached my target weight I was a size 6, a picture of me at that point is above when I ran the Great North Run. As a size 6 and looking as I do above I felt around a size 14-16 and sometimes even considered myself as fat.
This is partly due to the BMI scales. I could have lost a further 3 stone from the photo above and still fall into the “healthy weight” according to BMI.
In the same running gear, a week before the above photo was taken while I was on a training run, two different vans of workmen shouted at me calling me fat. Is it any wonder I did not feel thin?
At size 6 I still didn’t feel good enough
The BMI scale is very wrong in my opinion. Would I have still been healthy 3 stone lighter than in the above photo? I certainly don’t think so!
Whilst I was physically healthy at a size 6 I was not mentally healthy. My depression was still significantly affecting me and I did not feel happy with the person I was inside.
Since running the Great North Run in 2016 I have gained weight, which is plain to see in any photos I have shared on my social media and I have always been honest about that.
It is not something I intended to do but life gets in the way and my end goal is happiness and healthiness combined.
Where I am in my life now
Now I intend to lose some weight. I know I am not healthy as I am now but at a speed and in a way to suit me and ensures I am happy throughout.
I have realised that you should trust yourself to do the right thing every day and if the right thing for you today is to eat a big family-size white chocolate Toblerone then no judgement here, I have done that too!
Someone said to me the other day who hasn’t seen me for about 4 years “gosh you have let yourself go haven’t you?”. Have I let myself go, or have I focused on myself as a whole person not just a body?
I am in a great place mentally, aiming for progress physically
The above photo was taken by Ben on my 40th birthday. He focuses on taking a photo he thinks he looks good in and forgets you might want to look ok too!
Actually, this photo is great because it shows me as I am naturally, with no filter, no makeup just me. I was happy that day and as happy as I am today. Yes, I wish I was thinner but mentally I am happy and I love the life I have.
I no longer need antidepressants because I have worked on my mental health and accepted myself for the person I am and the average person that I love being.
I have stopped listening to all the people that say I should stand out and be different. Why? Why should I be anything? Why can I not just be normal, normal is ok and I am ok with that!
Why I aim to normalise normal
It is easy to see normal as the people we see with perfect hair and makeup on Instagram or the perfect house with stylish decor posted online.
This is not normal and the more we realise that the better. Instead of seeing normal as this fake “normal” we need to accept the real normal.
Normal is having to Febreeze your kid’s school jumper once in a while as you forgot to wash it then realise it was non-uniform day anyway and you forgot!
Normal is having takeaways sometimes because life was shit today and that means you didn’t feel like cooking or even heating up the leftovers in the freezer.
What is normal?
Normal is having grey hairs you have not made time to colour because you would prefer sitting in pyjamas watching The Great British Bake Off and eating chocolate biscuits.
Normal is putting yourself first and your mental health as much as your physical health.
Normal is being good enough, and being happy with who you are and what you have got. Normal is striving for progress, not perfection.
Are you going to join me in being normal?
Aiming to be healthy but also happy, accepting you are never going to be perfect and that you need to just be good enough.
Are you feeding your family mostly healthy nourishing meals? Are you paying the bills? Are you having some me-time every day and enjoying life?
If you can say yes to all those then that is great, if not then look to achieve those. Aim for progress, however small, don’t aim for perfection or you set yourself up to fail.
Progress not perfection
Do you watch shows like The Great British Bake Off? One week one of the contestants was told, you don’t have to be the best, just don’t be the worse. How true is this?
In a world full of competition and comparison take a minute to think, are you good enough as you are? Be kind to yourself, and be proud of yourself, whether you fed your children pizza or pasta salad they ate didn’t they? Be happy, be proud and be normal because that is ok and you are doing just fine.
I hope you will follow my journey to find out what works for me and see what works for you. Together we can make a stand and say that average is ok and normal is ok. Life is a balance of happiness and healthy with neither being sacrificed for the other.
Thank you for this article! So needed this today. For the majority of my life it has been Average=Failure. And therefore there has been a lot of “Failure” and unhappiness due to that mindset. I know that my internal life would get a lot better were I to make the Average shift. Admittedly my external life is a good one, just pretty “average”, which is a privileged thing to be actually. Anyway, your article helped me to relax and feel a bit more comfortable. Really appreciate your contribution. *hug*
Thank you for your emphasis on not being perfect, for admitting that you get depressed, that you’ve put weight back on etc. You sound like an encouraging normal person! I don’t do blogs but found yours when searching for information on Noom. All the best, Roselyn