Letter to a friend lost in self-loathing
When we get depressed and think to ourselves, “What’s the point?” we only suffer because we think there should be a point.
But there isn’t.
Hold my hand for a minute and let’s look at this. There is no point to life.
Whether I succeed as a writer or don’t do anything at all
and hate everyone around me because of it…
it doesn’t matter at all to life. Life just is, and we are its children, and we go about the business of surviving best we can.
But ultimately, nothing matters. Try that on as a good thing.
You can work just as hard hating yourself as you can getting to know yourself. Believe it or not, it requires the same amount of energy. It’s just that one feels different than the other.
Hate yourself — use that self-hatred to block all avenues of love — and you impact everyone around you. Your children will feel it, too. They will learn everything Not Good Enough about themselves. They will become skilled at trying to fill that hole, and desperate about not being able to. In time, they’ll resent you. They’ll see all your faults plain as day. They’ll know so much more than you do, right up until they notice that same self-hatred staring back at them in the mirror. That’s when they’ll realize they’ve just turned into an inverted, funky version of you, and sigh.
Get to know yourself — accept all your foibles with tenderness and compassion — and you impact everyone around you. Your children will feel it, too. They will see how natural it is to make mistakes. They will become skilled at learning from them and moving on, confident in their ability to steady themselves in a storm. In time, yeah, they’ll resent you. It happens. They’ll see all your faults plain as day. They’ll know so much more than you do, right up until they find themselves using the same phrase you used to use while helping a friend climb up out of a hole. And they’ll realize they’ve just turned into an inverted, funky version of you, and smile.
Either way, it doesn’t matter; because life is bigger than anything we can do about it. It doesn’t care what we do or don’t do.
You’ve said you feel like you’re in prison. You are in prison.
But the door is open.
So if nothing matters, and it’s anybody’s game, do you want to stay in prison? Or walk out the door?
It’s your choice.
I know you hate it when I say that.
But it really is your choice.
And not just this once, but every second of every day. Keep making more choices. Choose again. And again.
Try something sweet. Try loving yourself just for the hell of it. For spite.
What’s the worst that could happen? You end up softening into your own heart. And nobody dies.