It was Easter night. Wonderful food, wonderful company, and a pleasant evening. The night couldn’t have been any better for a celebration of Jesus’ resurrection.
But it was the night of my personal death.
The text came in: “Call me now.” I knew why, and I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty.
He had heard secondhand that I was smoking weed. If I was still in Denver, it wouldn’t have been a problem. It’s legal to get baked a mile high in Colorado. It’s illegal to get baked ten miles from the Mississippi River.
I don’t look like a stereotypical drug user. I look like a straight-laced recently graduated college kid who is focused on helping citizens with their health insurance plans. I had an eighth of an ounce on me, at the most. I was not scared of the cops.
But I was scared of my father.
He had hired me the summer before, helping me get my foot in the health insurance door. His reputation as an insurance agent was immaculate. Most of his clients adored him, and if I did anything wrong, his reputation would be tainted. No more clients, future or present. Not only did I work for him but I was also living in my childhood home — a house he owned at the time, and still does. He resides in town now, but he still owns the house I grew up in (I lived in the townhouse for ten years). Not only was he my boss, but he was also my landlord.
I was weirdly calm throughout his tirade. His questions were legit. My answers reduced to three options: I don’t know, Yes, sir, and No, sir.
The question I remember most clearly is the one I ponder the most:
“Why did you do it, Andrew?”
“Dad, I don’t know. I just needed to feel good about myself.”
And there it was. The death of the old me.
All You Need Is Love…
Before that fateful Easter night, my life was all right. I had a job, a house to myself, a dog to keep me company, and food on my mom’s table whenever I was hungry. What more could I want?
Apparently, I wanted to feel good about myself for once in my life. I thought drugs and alcohol would do the trick. It took one big kick in the pants for me to realize I needed something better (and cheaper) than drugs and alcohol.
I needed to love myself.
Kamal Ravikant’s book, Love Yourself: Like Your Life Depends On It, changed the way I viewed life. It was the most positive book I have ever read. The words flowed magnificently throughout the pages, talking about the wonders of a life worth living. For me, loving myself had been a struggle.
Growing up, we’re taught to love others, care for others, show loving kindness to one another. Hold that door open, give a gift, be nice and gentle, help the elderly cross the street, and don’t be a dick to the mean receptionist. All humans are taught to be loving towards others.
What about me? What about us? What about ourselves? If we’re too busy loving others, how can we love ourselves?
Sometimes we think we’re arrogant for only thinking about ourselves. It’s not humbling to love yourself with all of your mind, body, and soul. According to society’s standards, you’re supposed to love each other, like Jesus taught us. Treat others the way you want to be treated – by others.
What about treating others the way you treat you?
I treated myself like crap, but tried to treat others with respect. Most of the time this worked, but there were other times when my true self came out. Without thinking, I would treat women like garbage and men as competition for certain women. Now you understand why I’m still single.
…Except The Times You Need Forgiveness
When I started to love myself, my life felt better. My heart started to match my outer appearance. I had faked this compassion for others for so long, some strangers and friends could see right through me. Now, my inner and outer appearance match up.
Yet, I was missing a secret ingredient: forgiveness. It’s an action much deeper than love, so I decided to tell myself these three words:
I forgive myself for the women I’ve angered. I forgive myself for pissing off multiple coaches. I forgive myself for letting the name Andrew Krehbiel become synonymous with ‘douchebag.’ I forgive myself for my angry words and negativity. I forgive myself for unknowingly hurting people—the old me didn’t know any better. He didn’t care.
Forgiveness doesn’t have to be directed only towards others. Sometimes we confuse forgiveness with “blaming the other person for the sin/fault/bad action, then saying ‘Sorry’ to them for their actions.” What about our own actions? Forgiving ourselves goes a long way towards forgiving others. How else will we know how to forgive unless we experience it directly?
This forgiveness towards myself was tough at the beginning, but it has gotten better. I hope the same happens to you. Here’s how I love myself and forgive myself every day.
I repeat these words: I love myself. I forgive myself.
Some people, like Kamal, gently tell themselves to do this through meditation. When you breathe in, say ‘I love myself.’ When you breathe out, let any thought come out. That’s it. Repeat for a set amount of time. Five minutes, seven minutes, twenty minutes, however long it takes to get into the right mindset.
That’s all we have to do. It’s basic at the beginning, but forgiving ourselves can do wonders for us long-term.
Love yourself, forgive yourself. Tell that to yourself every day. That’s what I do.
How do you love and forgive yourself?
Andrew Krehbiel is a blogger, writer, author and entrepreneur. As a genuinely happy person, his goal in life is to share his energy and thoughts about life through his actions and his writing. Check out his book here, connect with him on Twitter & Facebook, and follow his blog here.
Image courtesy of Jannes Glas.