Find the diamond within…

January 19, 2021

In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed uses this Dolly Parton quote – “It’s hard to be a diamond in a rhinestone world.” 

He goes on to write – I believe that she’s saying that it takes determination to be a person of value in a world that so often settles for “the cheap.”

Dolly lives much of the time in the rhinestone world of entertainment, but as Freed went on to write, she is actually quite a thinker and a very genuine person in real life – a diamond in her rhinestone world.

We all live somewhat in a rhinestone world of our own creation. What we show the world is often the rhinestone persona that we create to meet what we think is expected of us. Inside there is the diamond of your true self – that person of value that you want to be. The challenge is not to settle for the cheap rhinestone you that you believe that world demands. Rather, find that diamond within and proudly show the world the real you.

It does take determination and courage to be yourself, rather than what you think those around you might expect. It is so much easier to just dress like they do and talk like they do and act like they do. Yet it is really not satisfying, especially if that is not who you really are. “Fitting in” may initially seem like the thing to do, until you realize how uncomfortable it can be to always be acting a part, rather than just being yourself. The rhinestone world that you are trying to live in is as fake as rhinestones themselves.

The key to finding the diamond within is accepting yourself and loving yourself for who you are. I’ve posted her a few times about loving yourself first, before you can love others (and they can love you in return). Back in April of 2020 I wrote a post titled Don’t mess with your selfie in which this quote was used – “The easiest thing in the world to be is you.  The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be.  Don’t let them put you into that position.”  (Leo Buscaglia)

So, why does it seem so hard to just be you and not what you think others want? Because you have yet to accept yourself, to become comfortable with who you are, to find your diamond within.

Perhaps that should be the focus of your prayers today, to ask God to help you accept and be happy with yourself. You can start by realizing that God accepts you as you are and loves you as you are. God loves the diamond within you and not the rhinestones that you may have thought the world required of you. If you accept God’s love for you as you are, there is no need to put on those rhinestones. Just find and show the world the diamond within you that God loves. If you share God’s love for you with the world, it will love you back.

Find your diamond within today.

Who are you?

December 14, 2015

“Who Are You?”, composed by Pete Townsend, is the title track on The Who’s 1978 album, Who Are You. Black Sabbath did a song with the same title in 1973, which was written by Ozzy Osbourne, for their fifth album Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, but it is not even close to being the same song – check it out.

mystery womanMany of us spend a lifetime trying to figure out the answer to that question. Some wander about “in search of themselves.” Some just can’t seem to like the person that they see in the mirror and continually try to be someone or something else. Some turn to alcohol or drugs, which just add to the fog of not knowing who are you?

Many men see themselves primarily within the context of their jobs or careers. They know where they fit within an organization. They have a boss and co-workers and many have clearly defined roles, which they get comfortable fulfilling. Those men often have serious problems coping with life if they are suddenly removed from the comfort of that setting, mystery personthrough a layoff or a retirement. Military veterans especially have that issue when they get out of the service. In the service you always know who you are what is expected of you. You have an infrastructure all around you and cohorts sharing your experiences. Leaving that structure is particularly hard on those who have served their country. They knew who they were and they don’t know who they are now. Sure they have roles at home, with family and friends; but it was at work or in the service where they could identify and really answer the question, who are you?

Many women seem to have a more balanced view of who they are and what roles they play. IF asked, “Who are you?” they might just as quickly
mystery girlanswer that they are a mother and a wife as they would identify what they do at work. They might express their identity in terms of friendships and roles within their day-to-day lives that have little to do with work. More and more, of course are in the workplace and achieving great success, but fewer than men seem to be as dependent upon their place within their work organization for their sense of identity; to help them answer the question, who are you?

I’m not sure when we start focusing enough attention upon our identities to start asking ourselves who we are. I suspect it’s sometime around Middle School age, when we starting encountering a more structured environment in school and within the social structures that fall out of that environment. We are in this group or that group. We are an athlete or a geek or maybe a Goth. We may run with the “in crowd’ or be called a loner. Perhaps we start worrying about who we are at the same time that exclusionothers start trying to classify us and either welcome us or exclude us from various groups. Certainly we become more aware of the exclusions and perhaps more concerned about “fitting in” somewhere, with some group. It is through membership to those groups that we begin to formulate the answer to the question, who are you?

There’s an interesting saying from Mitch Albom, author of the book – The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto – “Everyone joins a band in this life.  Only some of them play music.” 

Mitch is pointing out that all of us join various organizations, either formal groups or casual bands of people. Our membership in those groups or band serves to add to our sense of identity. Albom is also saying that the bands are made up on many people with different roles, only some of whom actually play the music. Many of the members of th4e band are called “roadies”. These are the people who travel with the bands and do all of the behind-the-scenes set up and teardown work that is needed to put on the show. Most of us are probably roadies in the groups that we belong to and not the ones who go on stage and actually perform. Being roadies in the bands that we belong to adds to the character that is the answer to the question – Who are you?

For most, the biggest influence on who we are comes from our significant family relationships – child, spouse, parent, caregiver.  Those roles change over time and there is again a great difference between the influence and sense of identity in our lives based upon the sex of the
family grroupperson. There are few (but it is not unheard of) instances in the animal world (including mankind) where the male is the caregiver to the young. The roles of wife, mother and caregiver strongly impact the sense of identity for most women; while most men focus more on achieving identity from their role as “breadwinner” – the great hunter for the family. With that mantle comes the requirement to be more stoic; more focused upon success in business and less on empathy at home.  Caregiving takes a back seat to providing the means to survive and prosper. Standing off and watching from afar all too often takes the place of being involved and helping at home. The home becomes the man’s “castle” whereas for the woman it might be viewed as her “nest”. It’s not the best answer, but for many it is the only answer that they can see to the question, who are you?

Eventually, we all get old enough and perhaps wise enough to finally get comfortable with a self-image that is a composite of all of the roles that we play. For many men that time comes after retirement and getting over the shock of losing that portion of the identity that we thought we had. Many look back in regret at all of the missed opportunities to play bigger roles in the lives of their children or perhaps to have done a better job as a husband. Some wives may look back at the importance of the role of mother and regret that it overpowered the role of wife. Most let go of that past and embrace the new reality of making the best of the time that remains to take on the identities of grandparents, loving spouses and grandparentscaregivers. You have another chance to provide a new answer to the question. It is perhaps that time that you also conclude that who you are is less about how other people want to classify you and more about being comfortable in your own skin and in roles of your own choosing. It turns out that you finally know the answer to the question, who are you?

Whenever you get to that stage in your life and figure out who you are, make the best of it and try to be the best person that you can be for and with those around you. Be someone who cares and is cared about. Be someone who loves and is loved in return. Be confident in yourself and mystery headyour place in life because you are living a meaningful life, helping others, sharing with others, loving others. Who are you? It’s not a question with an answer; it’s really about where you are on the journey that you are taking through life. Love yourself and be someone that others enjoy knowing and you won’t worry about the answer to that question anymore.  Have a great week ahead. You know who you are.