In our culture today, there is a certain sense of wanting to be seen and interpreted by other as being “cool.” Whether this pertains to younger people, middle-aged, or even older people, it is something that affects everyone in some small way whether we realize it or not. But just what does it mean to be cool? Is it something positive or negative?
What does it mean to be cool?
In the eyes of the world, the cool person is what may be perceived as someone who says the right thing at the right time and has not a care in the world. Someone who can get a lot of laughs from friends through great come backs and discussions about other people, and one who draws a good crowd at a party or gathering.
In a worldly sense, a cool person always has friends around him/her, dresses perfectly, has plenty of money to spare, and never appears foolish or unsure. He/she does the right thing at the right time and does not appear to be clumsy or unconfident.
A cool person fits right in with society norms and follows them closely, never hangs out with outcasts, and never experiences unsure feelings about life or decisions. The cool person does not have to ask anyone’s advice, but instead others come to them for advice and help.
The cool person does not waste his/her time in paying attention to the details of life or in being a sensitive person toward others. He/she goes through life with lots of support from others and is considered popular. There is no self-doubt at all. Life is easy for the cool person because there are no regrets. Even others agree that this person is always on the correct track and there are no worries.
Let us STOP.
What is wrong with this picture especially if you are a Christian or a person of good faith?
Here is what is wrong. First, life is not about being cool.
In fact, being cool according to the above definition is sinful, cold, uncaring, and narcissistic. Being cool is selfish, unkind, and self-serving. So why in society do we emulate these people? Sadly, even people who love their faith, pray, and care about being a disciple of Jesus can fall into this whole “cool” mentality.
Life should not be about who has the most friends and followers, says the right thing all the time, has a nice house, clothes, or car. It should not be about a large “friend group,” get-togethers which exclude others, or gossip sessions either.
Ways to let go of being “cool”
Once we can recognize this incorrect way of thinking, we can begin to see that being cool is the opposite of being a follower of Christ. Jesus did not care about worldly things such as fancy clothes, over-sized houses, physical appearance, obsessions with money, or any of the things we as humans focus on. In today’s standards of worldliness, Jesus himself would be viewed as uncool. But that is OK! It is a good thing!
To let go of being cool, we need to do the opposite of what society begs of us. Hanging out with those who are friendless, not focusing on possessions, and being more compassionate are ways to be “uncool” in terms of the world but are actually cool in reality.
Following one’s faith, praying, being a devoted friend, spouse, brother, sister, parent, are ways to go against the tide of coolness. Our Catholic faith teaches us that what society deems as cool is very uncool.
Most importantly, modeling after our savior Jesus Christ, the saints, and being lovers of God is a way to be holy which is what it is all about. Being authentic in love of the Lord is the road to true happiness and joy.
Being cool is not cool at all.
Let us spread this message especially to younger people. This can and will help to make the world a better place. Stepping away from the coolness of what the world offers and imitating Jesus is the best way to break the chains of narcissism and coolness. May God be with us in this journey toward heaven in doing his will and in saying “no” to being cool.