You’ll never understand what you mean to me. That used to bother me quite a bit, but I’m starting to make peace with it.
Make peace with the fact that you look in the mirror and see some other person who bears no resemblance to the one I love.
That you don’t understand how capable and intelligent you are. How funny, how stoic, how strong. How you’re different from just about every other person I’ve ever known.
You don’t see all the things you do well. Or all the ways you improved my life simply by showing up and being there and being you.
No, you don’t see your talents or your potential. You look into the mirror and see all the ways you’ve screwed up. The way that your childhood dreams and your adult existence don’t quite line up. Because of this, you think you’ve failed.
You’re wrong about that, you know — or at least you’re too narrow in your focus. Your dreams and reality do line up in a lot of fundamental ways. Viewed through a certain lens, you’re just as successful as you dreamed you would be, but your child imagination didn’t understand how the world worked or what adult constraints even looked like — let alone what yours would be. So the person you dreamt of being when you grew up and the person you are now — well, they don’t line up exactly in a literal sense. It happens here and there. There’s overlap. Overhang. Empty spots. And you’re human and have flaws.
But if you look at it another way, you’re better than you dreamt you would be. Because this version of you is real. And this version of you improves the lives of everyone around you — even if you can’t see it. Even if you’re too busy doing those good deeds to register how much of a difference you make. And too busy being distracted by your flaws. Too quick to dismiss your accomplishments.
I wish I could show you how great you actually are, but I can’t. I’ve got to accept my limitations, too, I suppose. Make peace with the fact that I can’t be the partner I wish I could be for you. That I can’t make you see what I see. Accept that I can’t find a way to shower you in the self-love you so richly deserve.
But I’ve found that self-love is overrated anyway. Given a choice, I’d take self-compassion and a deep love for others over self-love any day.