The Diamond, the Horse Crap, and the Nail Polish: a Story About You
How would your life change if you suddenly discovered there was nothing actually wrong with you?
We often view ourselves as inherently broken or deeply flawed creatures. We believe we require a great deal of work before we can be sane, happy, or healthy human beings. (But this is just another story we tell ourselves.)
What if the real you is perfect, whole, and blameless, and the only thing that gets in the way of this perfection is your temporary thinking in the moment.
Imagine a beautiful diamond.
This is you. The real you, anyway. The True You is beautiful, valuable, indestructible, one-of-a-kind, and reflects the Light in unique and wonderful ways. This part of you never goes away and never changes. It was there when you were a baby, it’s here observing these words, and it remains perfectly intact all the days of your life. The Real You is an invincible diamond.
Now imagine at some point, the diamond gets covered with horse crap. This equine manure is made up of lies and self-limiting beliefs you hold about yourself. These ideas came from parents, authority figures, peers, and the media in general. You started to believe you were less than worthy.
You started to believe you were not smart enough, pretty enough, strong enough, creative enough, talented enough — that you were not enough. You started to believe that there was something deeply wrong with you. In other words, you started to identify with the horse crap and you lost sight of the diamond living underneath.
Enter: the mask.
But as we know, walking around as a piece of horse crap is not socially acceptable, so you had to find a way to cover up. Even though you “knew” that you were worthless, in order to survive, you had to prove to others that you were worthy of love. So you began to lather on the nail polish. You began to find your worth and identity in your accomplishments.
Now, nail polish can take on many forms: a thriving career, a flawless relationship, a beautiful body, academic achievement (how many letters can you collect after your name), religious piety, perfect children — the list goes on. Some might call the nail polish “ego.” Whatever you call it, the nail polish is any attempt in your own effort to prove to the world that you are valuable and worthy of love. It’s the character or role you feel the need to play, in order to be respected or loved.
Now — there is nothing wrong with these achievements themselves. You can have an enjoyable career, a blissful relationship, a healthy body, a colorful education, a deep spiritual practice, and high-functioning children. These can be beautiful things. The problem only arises when you attempt to find your worth in these outward accomplishments — when all along, your real worth has been with you since birth. Somewhere along the line, you forgot about the invincible diamond and only saw yourself as the nail polish (in an attempt to forget about the horse crap.)
Here’s the good news…
Neither the horse crap nor the nail polish is the Real You. Neither is necessary. You’re not a piece of crap, and you don’t need to achieve anything in order to be valuable.
We don’t look at a newborn baby and say, “This kid is worthless. She poops herself, she can barely support her neck, and she’s a burden on society.” No. We recognize that tiny humans are inherently valuable, beautiful, and worthy of our affection. Our instincts tell us, “this creature is precious and worth caring for, before they do a thing.”
→ When did we stop seeing this beauty in ourselves?
It was the moment we started to believe the horse crap. We stopped seeing the indestructible beauty of the diamond, and we started identifying with the lies of the objectionable horse crap. But we can start to shift the story, but letting go of the lies and looking for traces of the diamond.
Change is easier than we’ve been taught.
The stories we tell ourselves shape our experience of life.
If you tell yourself, “I’m a piece of garbage and it will take a lot of work for me to become good,” then yes — it will be an uphill battle for you. Change will be slow. Struggle will be your constant companion.
But there are other stories to tell.
Try this one: The truest part of me is good and beautiful. I forget that sometimes and get lost in my thinking. But when my mind becomes calm, it’s easy for me to be a wonderful person.
This is a new story, and I can tell you from personal experience, it makes evolving as a person 10x easier. Because instead of “fighting against your rotten self,” you recognize that kindness and creativity and goodness are actually your default setting — underneath all the temporary, distracted thinking.
Feel free to start letting go of the horse crap and nail polish. Start recognizing the beauty that has been within you all along.
To dissolve the horse crap:
You can start by recognizing that you can change your interpretation of past events. If someone hurt you and you decided that you deserved it, perhaps there’s a new story waiting to be told. Perhaps they were acting out of their own pain, and, at the time, you were doing the best you knew how, given your understanding in the moment.
To dissolve the nail polish:
Don’t take yourself too seriously. Learn to laugh at this character you’ve constructed over the years. Recognize that just because you play a certain role in one area of your life, it doesn’t mean that’s “who you are.” You can be many things, in many moments. So don’t cling to outward achievements or titles. If you were no longer able to fulfill that role, you would still be You.
Ponder these things. Begin to notice the diamond within.
Looking beyond yourself
See if you can find the diamond inside the people around you. Take a break from getting caught up in their flaws and achievements. Find the eternal value that was present when they were but a child. Chances are…they’ve lost sight of that beauty too. Remind them of the good you see in them.
Become a treasure hunter.