In elementary school I was often teased for looking like a boy. I was tall, skinny, short hair and flat chested! I entered Jr. High with thick glasses and a fragile self-esteem. And when I was 18 years old a young man from a nearby high school looked at me and said, “I’m not going out with you. You’re ugly.” A lie I believed for twenty years. Luckily, I was blessed with faith, family and friends that helped me through those awkward years of growing up and in time, learned to embrace all things.
While precious stones like the Emerald, Jade and Ruby are mined from the earth, the pearl is actually grown. And while other jewels have to be cut, polished and shined for their beauty to be revealed, the Pearl, after completing the “growth” process, simply emerges from the oyster a radiant gem.
The Pearl is formed by “nacre”. A hard crystalline substance. When an irritant, like a piece of sand or other foreign object invades the oysters soft inner shell, “nacre” is secreted. Rather than try to expell the irritant, the oyster continues to secrete, layer upon layer, a silky coating around the foreign object. Over time, the oyster protects itself not by trying to rid itself of the object but rather by wrapping a part of itself around the irritant. The Pearl is grown by irritation.
What I have learned:
Some people and/or situations are brought into our lives not to love us. But to irritate us. Our lesson is not to figure out how quickly we can get rid of them or avoid the conflict but how effectively can we wrap our arms around the situation in love and embrace the challenge.
Irritants are opportunities. Opportunities for personal growth. While irritants bring out the worst in us, whether the irritant is a person or a situation, before we have that knee jerk reaction we must ask ourself, “What is the lesson I am to learn here?” Most often, when the lesson is learned the irritant leaves.
We can spend our lives digging around in our ego trying to spit polish ourselves into something or someone we are not, secretly hoping for the right person to recognize our beauty and feeling rejected when they do not. Or, rather we can humbly embark on the journey of self-discovery and welcome the people and challenges that life brings to us, and in time, emerge from our journey an authentic, real, and radiant gem.
Life is short. Enjoy life, live passionately, love deeply.