I have a friend who has a hard time taking compliments.
I tell him that he is awesome, or that he is spectacular or great, and his response is very often, “Not as awesome as you think I am,” or, “that is because you see it in me, many people would disagree.”
Well, I am done with this response.
This is an open letter to him, and to everyone else who has this misunderstanding of why, exactly, they are awesome. As with all forms of communication, it starts with a strange expectation of what their life should be.
When I say you are awesome, it is not because you are all light and love.
It is not because you are wonderful in every way, or because you do everything right.
You are awesome, dearest, because you struggle. You know your filth. You revel in the badness, in the darkness. You embrace that which others would reject, in yourself and in others.
You are awesome because you accept the darkness in me.
You are awesome because you walk through the world with an open heart.
You are awesome because you stumble, but you still try.
You are awesome because you see that people deserve a break.
You are awesome because you are very often the one who gives it to them.
Please don’t misunderstand what you are here to do and why you are so great.
You are here to be human. And you do that beautifully.
You have unabashedly bad days.
You strike out in anger and jealousy.
You are insecure.
So please, when I tell you that you are awesome, understand:
I see your struggle, and I honor it.
I see your darkness, and I accept it.
I see your bleeding open heart, and I love it.
Because you are living in this world as bravely as you possibly can.
And that, my dear friend, my dear heart, is awesome.
We can end this conversation in one of two ways.
I can either begin to believe that you are not as awesome as I originally thought, or you can start to see how uniquely beautiful you are.
Which way would you like it to end? It is entirely up to you.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: elephant archives