Imagine yourself walking along the beach.
The sun is shining, a light sea breeze is playing with your hair, it’s peaceful and calm. Sure, you can hear a few seagulls yelling at each other while fighting over food, but that’s just an integral part of the scenery, nothing to be annoyed about.
It’s a beautiful day. You’re in no hurry to get anywhere in particular. All you’re happily concerned with is inhaling some fresh salty air, and enjoying the look and feel of the sun rays as they caress your skin and beautifully reflect off the blue surface of the sea.
You keep walking, and you find a stone. It’s covered in bird poop. You pick it up and slide it into your pocket.
That’s your worries. Something that makes you agitated every time you think about it. Something that even gives you anxiety. Something that is now resting in the pocket of your favorite jeans, while the dust and bird excrements are rubbing against the material.
You keep walking. You find a bigger rock this time, one that’s even dirtier. You pick it up and run your fingers along its filthy surface. With a gentle smile playing on your lips, you put it carefully in the other pocket.
That’s your self-doubt.
As you continue walking, you start feeling the discomfort of the rocks rubbing against your leg through the thin lining of the pocket. You cringe, but keep walking, looking under your feet for more rocks.
There are lots of them in the sand. Offense, negativity, fears, I-can’t-s, what-if-s, I-should-have-s, I-shouldn’t-have-s, I’m-not-good-enough-s. All peppered with seagull and pigeon shit, some with a dry piece of stinking dry seaweed stuck to their surface.
Your pockets are getting heavier as you keep filling them with rocks.
It’s not that easy to walk anymore. The rocks are in fact pulling your jeans down, and you glance around to check if anyone can see that you are about to lose your pants.
But you keep walking, and picking up new rocks. The pockets are full, your hands are full. The smell is becoming more and more distinct.
You can’t let go of the rocks though.
You’re barely dragging your feet through the sand now, and you need to keep pulling those jeans up all the time.
Suddenly you remember that somewhere in the bottom of your pockets, you had some beautiful tiny seashells that you had picked up earlier. And a few pieces of beach glass, bright green, perfectly polished by the sea, looking like emeralds.
Your achievements. Your blessings. Results of your hard work. Things that are supposed to bring you joy and sense of fulfillment, were they not buried underneath a pile of dirty rocks.
You decide to sit down on the sand and empty your pockets, when a seagull bombards you from above, shitting all over your baseball cap.
That’s public opinion.
You take your cap off and study it for a minute, looking at it closely, inhaling the smell of fresh bird poop, and then you put it back on your head. Carefully, trying to make sure that all of it stays and nothing is smudged accidentally.
You then go through the contents of your pockets, putting the dirty rocks to one side and the shiny glass to the other.
You look at both piles, and then you look at the beach around you, thinking of how much easier the walk would be if you left those stones on the sand. Oh, and there’s a trash can nearby, where you could leave the dirty hat, because you’ve got a few more at home, and the shops haven’t run out of them either.
The emerald green beach glass is sparkling on the sand. You pick it up and hold it against the sun. The smooth polished surface feels so great between the tips of your fingers. You enjoy the beauty for a moment or two, and then toss the glass aside. Then you start filling your pockets with the poop-covered rocks, making sure you don’t miss a single one.
You get up clumsily, pull up your jeans with a familiar gesture and continue dragging yourself through the sand.
The sun hides behind the clouds.
The seagulls have the most annoying voices.
The contents of your pockets stink.
You sigh and head back home, holding on tightly to your newly acquired “treasures.”
Does any of this look or sound familiar by any chance?