I can’t ask it yet, because it sounds mean if you don’t know how I intend it.
So let me start by saying that I like you. Hell, I love you.
There is nothing in this world you can do that makes you unworthy of love. I believe that to the utter core of my being.
(Though, as usual, you can disagree all you want. I don’t mind. I still love you)
So from that place, I would like to ask you:
“What do you like about yourself?”
(See, even though I said all that, doesn’t that sound kind of challenging? Like maybe I can’t think of anything and I don’t think you can either? That is not at all how I mean it!)
This is not a question you get asked all that often.
Even in places like job interviews, where you need to discuss your strengths, you’re being asked what the world likes about you, not what you like about you.
Generally, what you like about yourself brings up other people’s stuff. And we’re all sometimes bad at owning our stuff, so we can kind of throw it on other people.
Once you’ve had that happen to you a few times, you learn not to go around proclaiming your self-styled awesomeness so loudly, which is a shame.
But you are your best friend
Because you are always around so you might as well befriend yourself and be a lot happier than you would be otherwise.
Even if it can be a difficult proposition.
And it helps you befriend other people, so this isn’t some loner cop-out (much as I’m a fan of loner cop-outs).
At any rate, what I’m trying to say is that between friends, between you yourself and…you, this is a useful conversation to have.
So if you want to play, you start by making a list “Why I am awesome”
(Well, why you are awesome. I already made my own list. Don’t let the pronouns confuse you! )
My list turned out surprisingly long. The monsters are still really bothered by its existence at all and are in no way ready to let it go out on the internet so you won’t get to see it, but that’s not the point.
The point is that I wrote a lot of things, all very true reasons that I am awesome (yes, monsters, it was all true!), but there was only one I really cared about.
I mean, there was a lot of stuff on there about the ways I please other people. And I’m pleased to please other people and I’m glad to see that I can list ways that I do it. But the point was to find the ways I please myself. And there was mostly just one.
The thing I like about myself turned up in every single sentence and it was something I totally didn’t expect. I’m not even sure I’m a fan of this trait in other people, but apparently I love it about me:
I love that I take big dives of faith.
Not leaps, but dives down deep into whatever has fascinated me and called to my heart in a particular moment. Be it Nabokov or Havi or Tajikistan or Portland or starting a business. And I stay with it as long as my heart keeps calling me. And when my heart leaves, so do I.
I thought I hated this about myself. After all, it’s why I spend so much time by myself contemplating things. It’s why I seem to burn through places and people so quickly. It’s also why I can’t let go of some things even when everyone else knows they’re over – I have to hold on until I know.
I have more ex-lives, ex-friends and ex-interests at the age of 23 than most people will accumulate in several lifetimes. It makes me feel old.
But secretly I love that. I value it. I think it’s fabulous. I think it’s taken me great places and continues to take me great places.
And it leaves me feeling tender and satisfied to know that even as I freak out and balk and resist, I will follow my heart. Ultimately I trust it. And that trust brings me to good.
Your List Will be Different, Of Course
Probably you’ll like something entirely different about yourself. Or several somethings. And that’s wonderful.
The point is that finding some core trait of yourself that you adore makes it a lot easier to adore yourself more generally.
It makes it a lot easier to understand why you do what you do, what motivates you. It lets you give yourself better gifts.
It gives you an incredible amount of personal power.
And the world needs more people like you with power, so I’d be happy if you chose to take it.
At any rate, go ahead and give it a try if you’d like. Get a piece of paper or a Word document or your journal and start to list the reasons you are awesome. Take as much time as you’d like.
Then put on your detective hat. What is the secret thread running through your awesomeness? Look for glints and glimmers where you least expected them.
And then, if you’d like, you can share them here.
It’s okay if you “copy” someone else. You having a trait that someone else already “took” doesn’t diminish it in either of you and it doesn’t make either of you less or more than the other.
Of course, we won’t give people advice unless they ask, and we certainly won’t diagnose or judge them.
We will take some imaginary Samwise drool whether we comment or not! (And lucky you that it is imaginary. I, on the other hand, have to go change into a shirt that isn’t covered in kittydrool).
Thanks for playing!