Thoughts by Richard Bleil
My friend is studying psychology, and we got into an interesting conversation the other day. See, she is one of the most magnanimous people that I know, and we started talking about generosity and kindness. See, I have several friends who are kind and very generous, and it seems as if all of them have had very difficult upbringings even to the point of abuse. On the other hand, I know people who have had difficult and arguably abusive upbringings who have grown up to pass those traits along. So why is it that two people with similar upbringings can turn out so very different? How is it that some people turn saint and others narcissist?
It’s a fascinating concept in my mind. I don’t think it really comes down to nature versus nurture, because this question deals with people who were nurtured in similar fashions, and yet turned their misfortunes in different directions.
Diamonds are an allotrope of carbon. They’re not a compound, because they are only carbon, so it is a form of the element, but allotropes are different forms of carbon. The most common and natural state for carbon is graphite. Diamonds only form under very high pressure and temperature, and although it is possible to create diamonds synthetically these days, they traditionally have formed deep underground and are mined. But the interesting thing about pressure is that it can compress carbon into diamonds, or it can simply crush it.
One of the things that I’ve noticed about these genuine diamond friends is that they tend to have very similar backgrounds. They have grown up abused, hungry, wanting in one way or another. Some barely had enough food to eat, some had to take on the role of parent at an age far too young to carry such a burden, and these friends today love helping others out.
People like this know what it’s like to do without, to struggle and suffer. This seems to be a common theme, in that now that they are established and through the dark times, they very much want to ensure that others do not suffer as they had. So, they help. They give of their time, food, money and resources to help ease the burden of others.
Unfortunately, others just crumbled. They learned how to mistreat people, and seem to have a philosophy of “if I had to go through it…” But this type of behavior doesn’t shine, it’s not pretty, and leaves behind dark dirty streaks on everything it touches. These people know how to manipulate, complain, laugh at others, and overlook struggles. If it doesn’t benefit them, then they see no reason to get involved. Unfortunately, much as their dirt gets on everything, their attitude often is contagious.
My diamond friends tend to be very intelligent, so I’ve often wondered if intelligence is the common theme. I don’t really have any graphite friends as I usually will cut them out of my life once they reveal their nature. I don’t worry about them, as often they are good at manipulating others, so I’m sure they have plenty of friends without me, but I’m much more mentally healthy without them.
When I was growing up, I saw how my family was. I saw the racism and narcissism, and I made a conscious decision that I didn’t want to be like that. It’s not a matter of religion as I’m not a religious person (although I am very spiritual). Ironically, I was “accused” of being a Christian once by a coworker who insisted that I must be Christian because I was a very ethical person, and all ethics come from Christianity. Nope, sorry, my ethical behavior is not linked to a church. It’s linked to observation.
This holiday season, my diamond friends are working very hard to help ease the suffering of the less fortunate who are struggling with financial or other difficulties. For Thanksgiving, the friend who sparked this blog offered to bring family meals to others to share her food with those who needed it. Another diamond friend of mine puts food out at the end of her driveway that she had grown herself so people can come and take fresh vegetables and share in the bounty. I have a friend who takes her daughter out to shelters to feed the homeless every week instilling in her daughter the beauty in her own diamond soul. And me? It’s not for me to say, I just try to do the best that I can and it’s up to others to see me and my efforts as they will, but, honestly, wouldn’t this be a much better world if more of us just simply did what we could?