Hi, Robert. I wanted to write to you because your dad told me about the hard time you’re having after your recent break-up.
I would just like to say that I know how you feel. You feel like a loser. Like a joke. Like a Knucklehead McSpazatron. But it’s simply not true.
If you could see yourself from another perspective you might believe me. But you can’t see yourself from a distance. Nobody can. Just like you can’t touch the tip of your finger with the tip of the same finger. Just like pizza will never know what pizza tastes like.
I might be carrying those examples a little too far, but you get the idea.
Right now, you feel this way because you are probably remembering all the crummy moments of life. The mistakes, the humiliation, the parts that sucked.
The time you were passed over for the baseball game. When Lee Daniels skipped you and chose someone else for his team. And you just wanted to die.
The time a pretty young woman from the uppity side of town made a remark about how you were plain-looking. Those were her actual words. It hurt worse than being called ugly.
There was the time you were hanging out with a bunch of friends, and someone convinced you that it was a brilliant idea to attempt a dance called “the Worm.” A dance which originated in ancient Rome, whose name literally means “I’ve had a few beers.”
You wish you could take that back.
Everyone has these kinds of experiences. Not just you. They replay in the brain like a song recorded on Memorex tape—I’m sorry if you’re too young to know what Memorex is. Google it.
Sometimes these old songs haunt us. Something will trigger your brain’s play-button and this little number replays in your head until the song is over. Whenever you close your eyes, there you are, Larry the Loser, doing the Worm at a Shriner’s convention.
And you can’t shake those feelings of low self-esteem. You wish you would have been born confident like other people. After all, when confident people wake up in the mornings they look into the mirror, take a deep breath, and think, “Hey, I’m terrific! I’m handsome, smart, moderately successful, I have a booming career with Amway!”
Why couldn’t you be like that? The answer is simple:
Because Amway is a multi-level marketing scheme.
So getting back to what I said earlier. Remember all that stuff about touching your fingertip with the same finger? The reason I want you to remember this is because Amway Joe—the proverbial guy I just told you about—has the EXACT problem you have, only in reverse. His overconfidence is just as horrible as your under-confidence.
He thinks he’s hot snot on a silver platter. You think you’re a cold booger on a paper plate. You’re both wrong. And you’re both totally insane. And this leads me back to my main point:
You’re pretty great.
Whether you believe me doesn’t matter. What you believe about yourself is not accurate. None of us see ourselves for who we really are. We go around believing things about ourselves that we THINK are true. But we’re wrong.
Just look at Amway Joe. How many times have I told him that I am not interested in hosting one of his weird recruiting parties at my house because it is a well-documented fact that my heart will always belong to Tupperware® parties?
But Amway Joe never leaves me alone because his overconfidence is nauseating.
It ain’t gonna happen, Joe.
I love Tupperware too much to betray it. My mother used to host Tupperware parties in our den and they were great. A bunch of old ladies would get together and marvel at the suction noises that air-tight lids make.
My friend Billy and I learned how to manipulate this sound. Soon, we could make these Tupperware containers produce a noise that was not unlike your uncle Harold passing some major gas into a microwave-safe plastic container.
We were a big hit at Tupperware parties. The little old ladies loved our brand of humor. They would show us their appreciation by breaking our legs with baseball bats.
Speaking of Billy, he was under-confident, just like you. Just like me. For most of his life he didn’t see much in himself. He hated photos of himself. He made bad grades. He grew up believing he was below average.
But he was wrong. He was the kind of person who would find a car stuck in the sand, hook a tow-rope to its bumper, and tug the stranger from the ditch.
He was the kind of guy who gave money to anyone who needed it. To a homeless man outside a Burger King. To an old woman standing outside a bar who needed cab fare. To a young immigrant who needed a bicycle.
What do you think people saw when they looked at Billy? Do you think they saw a loser? Do you think they saw a fool? No. Do you know what they saw?
They saw the same thing I see when I look at you. Another soul. You don’t have to believe me. But please remember this:
Sometimes people abandon you even though you love them. Don’t hate them for it. For they know not what they do.
And remember one more thing.
Friends don’t let friends do the Worm in public.