And then, one day, you’re going to get home from breakfast with your folks and the police are going to pull up to your house and tell you they got a call about your brother. You’re going to freeze for a moment. Then, you’re going to run into the house, up the stairs, into the dark bedroom, fear swarming your brain. And he’ll be okay. Just asleep. That one day.
The police will be there for longer than you or he would like. Questions and answers. Embarrassment. Unexpected visitors with guns and squawking radios.
Your mom will be downstairs crying and softly speaking to some other police officer.
Eventually, it will clear out. And you talk to him.
You try to converse, but you end up just monologue-ing. Useless words falling like dust bunnies in a neglected corner of a busy room.
He doesn’t make eye contact with you. He’s hurt and hurting, but he’s still playing defense.
A few words spill out.
Then, you walk out of the room. Close the door, deliberately and calmly.
And you know it’s really hard to like yourself. You know your brother loves everyone and struggles to even care for himself. And you know you are perplexed and confusingly mad at people who appear to love themselves. And you know you brother loves everyone, but hates people who love themselves openly.
And, no matter what you do or who you become, you know you’ll have a hard time–at least, for now–liking yourself. And you don’t know why. You have a long-standing grudge against yourself. So long-standing, you don’t remember its origin.
And he does too. His self-image warped, inaccurate, exaggerated, and hateful. And you know this and you wish he’d see the truth.
But, also, your self-image is warped, inaccurate, exaggerated, and negative. You know this, but you can’t really change it. The panic of seeing or realizing something you don’t like in yourself kind of nukes your objectivity.
And then, you realize you made it about yourself and you beat yourself up a little more.
And you think, it’s so easy to keep sparring and clawing at yourself. Constant critic. But, how do you put the gloves down? And why is it so hard to stop fighting yourself?
And then, you think back on your brother and his big heart. So big and inviting; but closed to himself. Why couldn’t he love himself like he loved everyone else?
And you remember how much he hated the self-righteous, the confident, the proud.
Maybe, just maybe, it is okay to be proud and confident. Maybe it is okay to love yourself unconditionally. Maybe you can be a little self-righteous. Maybe it’s okay, if it saves your life.
And then, you stop yourself.
No. It just has to be okay to love yourself. Loving yourself doesn’t mean always supporting or being proud of what you do. It’s being honest and true to yourself and supportive of your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.
You can be critical when it’s warranted. But, not every decision, action, feeling, or thought is grounds for criticism. And sometimes, it is okay to be happy and proud of what you’ve accomplished or who you are.
Sometimes, you look good and you can take a picture of yourself if you want. Sometimes, you achieve a goal and it’s cool to tell your friends and family about it. Sometimes, you like something and it’s okay to tell people about it–no matter what liking that thing connotes.
And one day, maybe, you can be genuine and honest and real because you have loved yourself enough to live in truth instead of cloaked in lies to cover up the psychic self-inflicted wounds left behind by your own acidic thoughts.
To get to that day, you have to start today. Right now. Being real. Being straight up. Cleanse yourself of the constant drumbeat of critical thoughts. Clear out your mind and soul with companionship, music, laughter, and good things. Get away from your negative self.
Be real. Be realer than you think you can. Just try it. Try it over and over. And someday, one day will come where you’re just you and that is enough for you.