Four years ago on a work trip to Holland my friend lost an earring. Not just any old earring either. A diamond earring. A precious gift from his husband.
My friend told me that losing such a precious thing had sparked feelings of self-doubt and loathing that had stayed with him ever since.
But here’s the thing.
The earring was never really lost, because four years later it has turned up. It had worked its’ way into the lining of his suitcase. It has travelled with him for work and pleasure many times since, close by and invisible. Its’ loss was a mistake in perception because it was there all along.
Could that not now also mean that the self-doubt and loathing were also a mistake?
What if so many of the conclusions we have drawn about ourselves over the years are also mistakes? Errors of our understanding in a single instant, given what we believe to be true at just one moment in time.
What’s possible for the self-doubt and loathing now? They have no basis, no justification, no origin, no place.
Our lives offer us plenty of opportunities to lose earrings and draw conclusions about ourselves. Perhaps if we were able to free ourselves from harsh self-judgement long enough to realise it has no real basis, no real justification and no useful place, life might just be a little lighter.
After all, my friend’s suitcase is a few grams lighter forever.