I know you went to bed last night feeling like a terrible person.
I know you woke this morning hoping you’d do better after the sunrise.
I know that I beat you up yesterday. A lot. I’ve beaten you up before—every day of your life, in fact. Sometimes it’s for the little things, sometimes the bigger things, but I’ve always been consistent. I’ve always been there to push you down when you needed it the least; to remind you that you weren’t living up to the high expectations I set for you.
Yesterday, when I could see you were struggling, I stared into your eyes with seething disgust and reminded you that you weren’t good enough, that despite all the effort you put in to being a ‘good person’, you just never quite get there.
I was nasty and unfair. I made things worse, not better.
I know I’ve been bad to you. I just want to say: I’m sorry.
I realise now that you need me to be your biggest fan – that quiet voice of compassion and understanding that whispers “you can do it” and “you’re doing great” just when you need it the most. What you don’t need is for me to keep beating you up. We’ve tried that for years and years and it isn’t working.
Things are going to change. This is my promise to you:
Instead of pulling you down, I vow to hold your hand.
Instead of pushing your buttons, I vow to offer you compassion and understanding.
Instead of insulting you, I vow to build you up.
Instead of being your enemy, I vow to be your friend.
We’re in this together, you know. You’re doing just fine. We’re doing just fine. All those things I’ve beaten you up about in the past, they just make you human. And, you know, the thing is that you’ll probably keep doing things that I wish you didn’t. You’ll say things and do things that I will regret. That’s okay. Just because things don’t always go to plan, I’ll be more understanding now.
After all, if history has taught us anything, it’s that not being understanding leads us nowhere good.
I’m going to settle myself deep into your heart and do my best to make you feel loved. I’m going to remind you when things are getting too hard and you need a break. I’ll prompt you to ask for help, to go get a massage, to sit and read a book. I’ll encourage you to leave the dishes and the washing and show you that things carry on just fine as a result.
Self, we’re in this together. I’m for you, not against you. I am your biggest fan.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: elephant archives