I’m trying this new thing when I feel stressed or anxious. Sometimes when everything feels so hard, I try to look at myself objectively, from a higher perspective, the way a loving parent looks at a toddler.
Look at yourself. Really look. There you are! With a body and a soul and eyes that want touch the whole world. You’re curious, because you’re so confused. You have so many questions, never ending questions, about how the world works and why does that happen and where and by who? You’re hungry. So hungry for answers, and love, and connection. Your hands were built to touch another, your heart was made to love, but maybe you don’t see that yet. Before you even began to conceptualize yourself, by the time you even grew up, you had already collected a whole pile of beliefs and conceptions, and now you really have to examine what’s really yours and what was just given to you by your parents, your friends, and society. And it’s hard, but please don’t give up yet. And your emotions: you have so many of them and you feel them so deeply sometimes that it’s overwhelming. You hope: for a better future, in the goodness of people that you believe in so strongly even when it feels like nobody else does. And sometimes you don’t, when you’ve been hurt, rejected, abandoned. But somehow you keep coming back to yourself and picking yourself up when you’re down. You grieve: for friends gone and passed, for your younger self, for times come and gone before you were able to appreciate just how important they would be to you when you were a bit older. You make mistakes, so fucking many. You have to learn the same hard lessons again and again, because that’s what you do. You trusted people easily and got burned, and now you hide behind snide comments and a shield of judgement. Maybe you open up a bit more selectively now. You’re learning how to set boundaries and how to communicate your needs again.
You find so much joy in the smallest things, like the way the trains glint in the sunlight or the splashing of waves or board game nights with friends. You listen to the same song over and over again because it just hits something in you so deeply. You go to concerts and jump up and down in loud clubs even though you don’t like it but you want to experience everything anyways. You buy yourself flowers and surround yourself with plants just because they’re pretty. You worry about so much: school, money, family, climate change, inequality, but you have just as many ideas for solutions. You love your friends and partners hesitantly but deeply, and you’re learning to love yourself just a bit more. You’re trying to practice gratitude, get to the gym a bit more, and set a sleep schedule. Sometimes you wish you didn’t exist, because there’s nothing for you to be alive for. Some days it feels like a never ending dark night of the soul. And sometimes the sun comes out and things are just a bit easier again. You write things because you think you can change the world, somewhat. You’re trying. You’re always trying. Can’t you see that?
And if you can, can you see it in everyone else too? Every friend, family member, stranger sitting next to you on the bus are incomprehensible miracles of dreams and suffering. As humans, as people, together we are all children stumbling our way through this thing called life. We build houses and tiny skyscrapers and little trains networks so we can see each other. We fight about everything and try to control others. We fuck up badly and perpetuate harm and don’t really know how to make up yet but we’re trying. We make art and write silly plays and poems about our insignificant significance. We collect fallen leaves and put them in books and make up games and go on trips just to see some mountains from a different perspective. I like to think we were all born from the same consciousness so many generations ago. How different is our capacity to learn, to love, to hurt, to suffer than from those a thousand years ago or a thousand years in the future? When you give yourself compassion, you simultaneously offer that same grace to everyone you’ll never meet.