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Due to whatever sort of personality flaw/strength, I have, my entire life, strived to be some sort of “badass.” Now, I’m not talking tattooed, motorcycle riding, bar fighting badass, but a badass all the same. Here’s the trick – defining it.

Throughout most of my 20s I think I was fairly well known in my circle of friends for being the type of person that wouldn’t take anyone’s BS. I’d call people on it, I’d toss people out for being full of it, I was impatient with those teetering on the edge of it. People did not BS me, and they certainly did not BS my friends, if I had anything to say about it (and I had a lot to say about it). I’ve been told by several people that they always admired that about me. I’d like to think that was true – that I didn’t take anything from anybody, that I was a badass; however, I put up with, and put myself in positions to have to put up with all sorts of trivial, juvenile nonsense – repeatedly. I kept doing it, over and over again. Who knows why – maybe some of it was a striving to have to show off just how badass I was at slaughtering people’s BS.

Or maybe, just maybe, I had no idea what it REALLY meant to be badass.

It’s not awesome, or cool, or all that enjoyable, to have a no-nonsense, hardened outer emotional shell all the time. Sure, there are situations where people need a “rock” – someone to fall back on when things are looking uncertain, or rocky, or just plain crappy. It’s nice nice to have a friend with the strong “put your big girl panties on” attitude when you need to be smacked out of moping about some idiot that just broke your heart and get on with your life. But, to always be that person, that “badass” who is always running around intentionally not taking crap from people, well that’s not all that awesome. Here’s why:

1. No one that is that “badass” in the way described above has a healthy emotional relationship with themselves.

2. You are constantly finding yourself in the middle of other people’s drama in order to continually prove to yourself how emotionally void you are.

3. You are emotionally void.

Sure, sometimes you have to be the one that yanks a friend out of a week long, post-breakup crying bender with a Pooh blanket (153), but that sort of bad-assedness is only going to get you so far.

So, during my 2011 “find yourself” phase, the old “I ain’t taking nobody’s crap” me told the new late-2010 mopey-wah-wah me that I was sick of my own crap. I needed to re-define bad ass. Here’s what I’ve got.  A real badass is:

1. Honest with myself. There’s no putting on some stoic emotional front. Sometimes I’m sad, sometimes I do not have it all together, sometimes people walk all over me. I am only human.

2. Takes care of myself. True badasses set goals and reach them. I ran a marathon – bad-freaking-ass.

3. Honest with myself. I don’t actually want to be alone and spooning with my cat for ever. I want human interaction, compassion, encouragement…love.

4. Has self-respect. I have standards – in relationships and friendships. I won’t compromise them for anyone (anymore)- that’s not me being snooty or elitist. That’s me having respect for myself. I don’t want to be around you if you’re a drain on my energy and morals. Cya.

5. Honest with myself. It’s ok to change your position on major life events. As long as you’re thoughtful and thorough in your decisions, and you’re making these decisions in the best interest of yourself, then go ahead and change! Change is good! Change is growth!

Seeing a pattern here?

A badass isn’t what you are on the outside. Being badass is borne out of self confidence. A confidence you get from honoring yourself. You can put on a front of confidence in the form of being emotionally vapid for as long as you want, but if you don’t believe it, eventually no one else will either.

Being a badass is a positive thing, if you use it right!

What does “badass” mean to you?