I like me.
I know, I know, that sounds very egotistical. But it’s true.
Mind you, feeling comfortable with who I am is simply one of the benefits of having lived for quite awhile.
I’m comfortable in my skin because it’s the natural, curmudgeonly response to a lifetime spent in this wacky world. I used to worry more about events around me or what people thought of me, but now … not so much.
For example, I have not conformed to the pressure I feel to use the self checkout at the grocery store. I am not interested, thank you. I don’t care if you think I’m a fuddy-duddy (just using the word fuddy-duddy makes me one). I know I will eventually have to master that way of purchasing but for now I am quite happy pretending not to see the bored clerk who is trying to tempt me.
Oh, and I have an unnatural need to put my feet up. Let’s just say that that if you don’t have a recliner or an ottoman you shouldn’t even think about inviting me to visit for the weekend. If I can’t put my feet up there’s no reason to sit down. Weird? Yes but I don’t care.
Tailored suit, designer underwear? Nah, mark me down for jeans and T-shirt and something with a pocket. I wear cotton all over and all under and I don’t care who knows.
Another reason I like me is because I have lived well. I’ve learned what I like and what I don’t; what matters and what doesn’t; my regrets and my well-dones.
I’ve been successful in my pursuits, in marriage, in friendship and my children are amazing adults; I have a home, my bills are paid and I own an expensive coffee maker. Everything else is fluff.
I won’t pretend to like golf, dumplings, skiing or your cowboy hat and I don’t need you to understand why I love Brussels sprouts, oil paintings, dry humour, books and straight lines in my lawn after I cut it. So what’s it to ya?
I’m not as good looking any more but I’m okay with that too. I’m good looking enough to make the sweet babe who married me happy so any more attractiveness would just be a waste.
I like my values and opinions which shouldn’t be surprising. I have been moulded by people I’ve known (good and bad), experiences I’ve survived (good and bad) and an inherited faith (good and bad) that I have experienced as ever-new.
In fact, it’s because I am comfortable with me that I feel no need to fight with you. I don’t feel any need to push my opinions on you but I will speak up if you’re selfish or dangerous. Politely of course. In fact, something missing from our lives it seems is that freedom to disagree strongly and walk away respecting each other. I think I do that pretty well now because I’m good with who I am.
Mostly I like me because God likes me. I grew up knowing that God loved me but it wasn’t until I was an adult that it occurred to me that God also likes me. In spite of my quirks and brokenness, he likes me.
But wait, these all apply to you too! I hope you can like you.
As my dad has often observed so simply, ‘People are good.’ No you’re not perfect, maybe even dirty in some ways, but you’re good. You are good, you are loved and you are liked.
To be clear, I’m not departing from the conventional wisdom that there is sin and evil in all people. Plus there is that hateful minority who indulge their darker instincts and ruin things for the rest of us. However, measured carefully, there is lots of good to be found.
A portion of New York City had a blackout a couple of evenings ago and initially there were concerns about mass chaos and danger. Well, didn’t happen. What we saw instead was people giving help to individuals trapped or inconvenienced, others voluntarily directing traffic at intersections. I even saw video of a Broadway cast bringing their music outside and singing a cappella for the crowds in the street.
It reminded me of driving through Toronto a few years ago after a major summer storm had knocked out a large section of the electrical grid and flooded most street intersections. Four-way stops flowed smoothly without traffic lights, drivers helped other drivers who were swamped and we stopped at a No Frills store who had opened their staff washroom for public use and were handing out bottled water in the humidity.
I find that when I try to get to know someone I can almost always find something interesting and good about them. If our purpose in relationship is to live in peace with others and to be honest and fair in our dealings then isn’t that worth even more attention?
I talked to somebody not too long ago who didn’t know who Carole King was. (Yeah, seriously; I’m still traumatized.) Anyway, as I thought about all this, her song Beautiful* quickly came to mind and the words,
You’ve got to get up every morning
With a smile on your face
And show the world all the love in your heart
Then people gonna treat you better
You’re gonna find, yes you will
That you’re beautiful as you feel
The words are some of that simplistic, feel-good, positive thinking fluff. And a great way to live.
On a news program last weekend there was a guy who cares for other people’s orchids when they are not blooming. They bring them to him when the orchids are just leaves and/or stalks and he keeps them healthy until their next flowering cycle.
Isn’t that great? Someone who sees and feeds the beauty even when it is not apparent. If only we could master that in our lives… If only each of us would take it on ourselves (with God’s help) to see the beauty and be the beauty in a world that isn’t looking for it.
Or ponder this verse from the biblical writer of Ecclesiastes:
‘Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.’ – (NLT)
There is beauty everywhere. You are beautiful. There’s even more beauty than you know.
I know this seems like a silly, shallow, nonsensical, feel-good post.
On the other hand, if words like ‘good’ and ‘beautiful’ are important in life, then everything else is just fluff.
* Carole King, Beautiful lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC