I was recently reminded of an exploratory dialogue that is so very helpful when we search for "our people". The ones who value our unique character, talents and traits. One of my favorites for Adults; but especially for Teens. It goes like this:
Name your favorite color and your favorite gemstone.... for me that would be a citron colored diamond
Think of yourself as that gemstone and how rare that particular gemstone is... (and so much more valuable!).
But .. there is also the possibility that, because it is so unusual, many people would not recognize it as a diamond... they may think of it as an emerald or a pretty green river rock, pretty but not valuable.
Would that affect the value of the stone; No! The inherent value of the stone remains the same whether or not someone knows what it is.
Some people may not like the stone.. they may throw it back into the sea, or use it in their fishbowl. Does that affect the value of the stone. No!
Similarly, some people may say. "Ooh! A green diamond! How ugly! Everybody knows that diamonds are supposed to be Clear! In our family, we only do White Diamonds. You are different, and different is bad."
Does that affect the intrinsic value of the treasure? No of course not! Do you think they know about green diamonds? Maybe they have never seen one before and don't recognize its value; its clear cool sparkle, its strength and ability to seamlessly adorn any hand. That is unfortunate that they are ignorant; but it does not devalue the diamond.
There will be people who will recognize the value and appreciate the treasure; the trick is to find these people and to not be disheartened by others. If some of those can be educated as to the value of green diamonds, that is great. But if some will choose to remain ignorant and to reject what they do not understand , that is simply too bad. It does not lessen the value of the stone.
Practice walking in the world with the idea of your treasure in the front of your mind - to see yourself as a valuable gem. Judge others reactions to you through these eyes and you may be surprised how quickly you can recognize when you are wasting energy on relationships in which you do not feel valued.
adapted from "The Narcissistic Family" by S. Donaldson-Pressman and R. Pressman