Once upon a time there was a coin.
Forged in the blinding white heat of a single moment he was thrust into a world of which he had no understanding and over which he had no control. Nonetheless, he was determined to fulfil his potential and to be the best coin he could possibly be.
“When I grow up I’ll be used to buy shiny new cars! When I’m older, I’ll buy the glitziest apartments for the most beautiful people in the world. I’ll be amongst the rich and famous. I’m going to be a star!”
People paid attention to him at first. He was so shiny and new, he stood out from the crowd. He was remarkable in a world full of dull and jaded coins. It felt so good!
But as time went by he began to notice that he was never used or treated in the same way as the bills were. They were treated with respect, folded with care and put to bed in the most beautiful leather billfolds.
He, however, was often left to fester at the bottom of a pocket, forgotten at the back of a drawer and once he was dropped in the street by a careless teenager. People even walked over him before someone noticed and picked him up. By this time, of course, he had lost his shine. He understood, now, how the other coins felt about life because too also felt disillusioned and depressed. He was dull, unremarkable, dirty and grim. It seemed as if nothing could help him.
That is, until you found him.
In another part of the country lived a bill. He was treated with love and respect by his first few owners but he then came into the possession of some rougher types who used him in their drug deals. This wasn’t how things were meant to be. He’d had high hopes once upon a time. He’d had dreams of how beautifully well things were going to turn out. But here he was, being used by people snorting coke, being used to buy the most harmful narcotics available on the streets and by the time he was given into your care he was no longer the crisp young note he’d been once upon a time. He was tired, dog-eared and wrinkled. He felt as if he was of no value whatsoever.
If you’re feeling low and full of self-doubt then I’d like you to do a few things for me.
1. I’d like you to go to a mirror and to look yourself in the eye. I’d like you to tell yourself, out loud, the three best things you’ve achieved in the past 24 hours. They can be kind, clever things. They can be anything so long as they’re the best achievements of your day. Merely bland goodish things won’t do. Sort through your day’s achievements, no matter how small, and find the best ones. Say them out loud and then describe what this set of achievements says about you as a person.
For example, “Today I helped a senior citizen cross the road. This shows I am kind and caring.”
Do this every day for a week.
2. In the meantime I want you to look out for the dirtiest coin you can possibly find. Scour the streets for dropped and scuffed coins. When you find it, and you’ll know when you have, take it home and leave it overnight in a glass of coca-cola. Scrub it with ketchup. Break out the polish and make that coin just as clean and shiny as you can manage.
3. Furthermore, I’d like you to find the crinkliest, oldest dollar bill and I’d like you to iron it. Make it as smooth and as pristine as you can manage.
4. Take that coin and blu-tac it to the door of your fridge.
5. Take that dollar bill and blu-tac it to the inside of your front door.
Every time you go to take something from your fridge you’ll be reminded of the fact that you remain shiny and pure inside, no matter what crap life has thrown at you.
Every time you go to leave the house you’ll be reminded that you’re just as valuable as you always were, no matter how cruel life has been to you at times.
Life subjects us to all kinds of trials and tribulations. Some of them can leave us feeling stronger. Some of them can leave us feeling tarnished. None of them, however, detract from the person you are within. Whenever you see that coin or that bill you’ll be reminded that you are a series of successes. Whenever you’re tempted to feel badly about yourself you’ll be reminded of the coin, the bill and the good things you both are and do.
Like the coin, you’re beautiful.
Like the bill, you’re worth it.
Author: Paul Hughes
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Daniel Oines/FLickr