Life Outside Social Media

"Find the Gem"

     I met a young, pleasant couple who approached me at the Self-Growth section of a bookstore and engaged in an enlightening conversation with me. Not trivial small talk where you struggle to find something in common, but a truly riveting intellectual conversation about self-development, societal flaws, and healthy relationship-building. They told me how refreshing it was to find someone as kind as I am, but I think it was really them who brought it out in me because their genuine nature was so communicable. It then crossed my mind how regrettably difficult it is to find truly genuine characters – as in people who spread positivity and actually mean what they say. I find that most people who seem wholesome tend to act for their own benefit instead of genuinely empowering and believing in others, but I could tell that this couple was different. Their persistent drive to seek knowledge in understanding themselves and others was a reminder of why I constantly look within myself to find my strengths and evaluate my flaws – and in turn, proactively work on them.

    Not only did that interaction fuel my motivation for self-improvement, but it also reminded me of the one thing that my mental health professor preaches in nearly every lecture, "Find the gem." That is – find that one positive thing in every single person (no matter who they are) and hold on to it. Nurture it. Let it flourish until it embodies their whole being. And help them step off the ledge by amplifying that one thing they have going for them. My professor particularly employs this mantra in the context of mental illness, but it can easily apply to anyone who may be stuck in a rut or pushed so close to the edge that they don't have the power to bring themselves back up. I, myself, often struggle to find people in my life who lift me up whenever I can't do it myself, but I've built enough resilience over the years to the point that if I can't have something, I'll give it instead. I'm incredibly fortunate to recognize my strengths in the face of adversity, but other people aren't so lucky because they've suffered at greater lengths than I've ever had.

     Regardless, occasionally being validated for one of the qualities I deeply value about myself was surely therapeutic and moving. This random couple went out of their way to dig up one of my gems, which empowered me and excavated my hope in humanity. There may not be many people like them, but I'm determined to be someone who can leave an impact on others just like they did. Hopefully, someday, I'll have the power to radiate the kind of positivity that they instilled in me in that brief, once-in-a-blue-moon encounter.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018



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