Do you like yourself much?

A conversation with a cynical person is like pulling teeth sometimes. It’s like… okay, somebody shoot me now! At least, that’s my experience. Oftentimes, I wonder why I even try, in the first place. Maybe, it’s the Lennon in me that wants to convince the person to, at least, give peace a chance. But then, in turn, my own peace starts to go for a train ride into helter-skelterville. Not good.

I don’t mean to be insensitive. I have known many pessimists who have lived most of their lives in less than favorable surroundings in the company of, uh, well… party poopers, if you will. It makes me sad that they’re unable to think positively. Not even for themselves, in the least. And, I just don’t know how to deal with them. Much like, I can’t be a positive influence to an alcoholic since I’ve never been one. I just don’t have the credibility.

I knew someone who ran away from home and stopped going to school out of rebellion towards his parents. “I’ll show them,” he must’ve though. Now, I know, there were times during my school days when life seemed to just suck all the time. Didn’t we all, though? But, I guess, I felt lucky to have always fought to see the bigger picture. Sure, I can run away. It’ll make me feel better. I can even indulge myself in drugs or alcohol, to prove a point. But, prove to whom? I mean, isn’t this my life? If I successfully proved something to someone, would it make me a better person? Would I be any different? I believe, the only thing that would benefit here is my ego. Either way, guess who the loser in the end is?

Although, I have compassion for them, it’s unfortunate to see some people hate themselves for whatever reason. My ex-wife couldn’t bear to look in the mirror without having to whisper some sarcastic remark about herself. She couldn’t understand that it brings me down, for her to do this. I mean, didn’t I marry her, after all? I was proud to have her as my wife. And for her to insult herself, is to insult me. As if she’s saying, I didn’t have good taste, or something. I know, it’s complicated and all. Like I said, I just don’t have the credibility. I don’t know how to continuously absorb negative energy as I go on about my day everyday. I guess, one gets used to it, somehow. Like the song says, you become comfortably numb.

I had an interesting conversation with my dad years ago when he visited me in California. We were talking about raising kids, for some reason. Hmmm, raising me? Now, just the thought of that alone, has got to be like pulling teeth! Anyhow, I remember spewing out some high falutin’ philosophy on being an ideal parent (oh sure, like I’ve been there and done that). But I think, I was able to get my point across, well enough to make him nod in affirmation. And, that’s a great accomplishment, in my book. I think, I said that parents should only instill their ways into a child’s life, if they can honestly say, they like who they are. Like, they’re comfortable in their own skin. As in, wishing others would be just like them. As in, being an example to their own selves. Otherwise, they might as well just throw their kids out to the wolves, and have them learn to survive on their own. Or, more significantly, why have them, in the first place? I asked my dad that question, and he was speechless. He knew, he was the last person on earth he wanted anybody to be like. Now, I’m not talking about morals here. Obviously, that would just defeat the purpose. I’m talking about vulnerability. Sobriety. Humility. Coming to terms with the truth. Being brave enough to face your past, and have everyone take a peek at it, as well. Sometimes, confidence and craziness are one and the same. If only, because it’s how we’ve always equated the two, in our lives.

insecurityI don’t know of any other way to heal instantly, than this way. How many times have we seen parents hide their past from their kids, only to have the truth backfire on them, at some point. I have seen this kind of devastation, one too many times. And, what’s worse, is that the kids, whose lives are still ahead of them, are now shattered. Possibly, for the rest of their lives.

This experience is what makes children grow up, afraid to look in the mirror. Afraid to be alone. Afraid to be rejected. Afraid to be wrong. Who dares to be wrong? Anyone? Their examples are being shaped by society, instead of in the home. And, can anybody honestly say, today’s society is ideal? No, but what else have we got, right? We keep up with the Joneses, and we dance the dance. We’re careful to be politically correct. If not, we’re plain weird. Hence, the feeling of rejection and abandonment comes into play. How many single people would actually go to a party or some special event without a date and not feel awkward? How many would be confident enough to stand in a corner alone, while everyone else hurries to find someone to talk to for fear of looking odd? How many dares to eat alone? Eat out alone?

By the way, how much do you like yourself?

Insecurity is the oldest religion, in my opinion. And every one of us bows down in sheer idolatry, at some point in our lives (if not throughout), to the god of fear and shame. And, unless we brave the deep waters of vulnerability and humility, I’m afraid, we can never expect to like ourselves much.

And if that’s your case, just don’t expect anyone to like you much, either.