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Self-Knowledge • Fulfilment

Maybe You Are, in Your Own Way, a Little Bit Marvellous

For some of us, those of us who for whom joy doesn’t come easily and for whom the task of living can feel a highly arduous business, there is one thought that is frightening above any other, a thought we would never dare to admit to anyone even under duress, a thought we would immediately push away the moment it entered consciousness – but a thought that it may nevertheless be extremely important to honour every once in a while in order to endure the darkness and difficulties of existence: maybe you are, in your own special way, just a tiny bit marvellous.

Painting by Picasso of his daughter Maya.
Pablo Picasso, Maya, 1938

The terror can be immediate. What if someone heard! What if someone knew that such an arrogant, reckless and wholly misplaced notion had passed through our miserable minds! 

We – the ones who wince at our own reflection – have long come to associate survival with self-flagellation. We are world experts in our own awfulness, we hate ourselves more than our worst enemy ever could.

And yet, of course, this cannot be the whole story. We can probably be quite funny at times. We’ve got a distinctive way of looking at things. We’re really rather stylish from a particular angle. The odd person has found us a treat to be around. We’ve got something to add, we’re not simply an impediment, a problem, or a violent embarrassment.

The poignant difficulty is that someone else needs to find us a bit marvellous before the thought will ever sound acceptable to us – and for some of us, the right encouragement has always been lacking. Our present shame is an internalisation of a historic external verdict. We’re fiercely displeased with ourselves now as a consequence of having fiercely displeased others way back. Any alternative sounds not just wrong but a violation of a wise and unquestionable edict under which we had to grow up.

Such nonsense should not be allowed to endure. Everyone on the planet is, in their way, at points, a distinctly loveable proposition. An occasional thought of our own marvellousness belongs to health; it is the birthright of every human. You aren’t losing your mind. You don’t have to wince. You are allowed to feel – for a moment or two – just a little marvellous. We won’t tell a soul, we promise.

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