Saturday, January 23, 2021

Do You Know Who You Are?

Comedian Woody Allen quipped, “My one regret in life is that I am not someone else.” 

An old story tells of an unhappy and discontented stonecutter. One day he came upon a merchant and was awe-struck by all of the marvelous goods the man had for sale. “I wish I were a merchant,” said the stonecutter and, quite amazingly, his wish was granted.

Not long afterward he saw a parade pass his little shop. Spying a prince dressed in splendor such as he had never before seen, he said, “I wish I were a prince.” And he became one.

But it wasn’t too many days later that he stepped outside and felt the discomfort of the hot summer sun beating down upon his head. “Even a prince cannot stay cool in the sun,” he said. “I wish I were the sun.” This wish, too, was granted.

He was happy being the sun until, one day, a cloud came between him and the earth. “That cloud overshadows me,” he said. “I wish I were a cloud.”

Again, his wish was granted and he was happy until he came to a mountain that he could not rise above. “This mountain is greater than I,” he said. “I wish I were a mountain.”

As a tall and mighty mountain he looked down upon the affairs of humans and felt that he was finally happy. But one day a stonecutter climbed up his side and chipped away at rock and there was nothing he could do about it. “That little man is more powerful than I,” the mountain said. “I wish I were a stonecutter.”

So the circle was completed and now the stonecutter knew that he would always be happy just being himself. He would never dress like a prince, shine like the sun nor rise as tall as a mountain, but he was happy to be who he was.

I think Malcolm Forbes hits close to the mark when he says, “Too many people overvalue what they’re not and undervalue what they are.” If only we could see who we really are, not through a lens that accentuates imperfections, but one that reveals those qualities we have difficulty seeing.

Is there any greater happiness than knowing who we really are?

-- Steve Goodier

Image: P

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