Written by: Thokozile Eunice Mahlaola, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise
Everybody has gone through something that affected them in a way they do not prefer, and that is the common thread between every human being. It is unfortunate that life brings both dreadful and wonderful events into our lives, and many would prefer to experience only the pleasant ones, yet the truth is that the good and the bad happen to reveal our true strength but only if we embrace both.
When put together, these experiences we go through form our individual journeys, which then become our unique stories. Though life can sometimes be bad, we can make them good when we choose to see them as our growth stories rather than our life sentences. I had an inkling to study the formation of a pearl, because I believe that we can learn from its process.
1. The Life
Before a pearl became a precious stone, it is an oyster or a mussel. It lives comfortably inside its shell until grains of sand or parasites start attacking it to a point where it turns into a hard stone. It is never by choice that the transformation happens but because of a need to protect itself.
We, as humans, are much the same. We normally start as innocent beings, and as we grow, life starts to show us what it is made of. That leads us to lose a bit of trust and hope. Then we start to realize that we need to protect ourselves, and that is when some build a thick wall around their hearts while others allow their hearts to turn into stone.
The oyster goes through a series of invasions, and every time the parasite attacks, the oyster fights it off by releasing nacre, which coats and protects it. The invasion takes place when an irritant enters the shell and as it returns, this defense process repeats until it forms a pearl.
We all get to a point or more of invasion sooner or later in our lives. When something happens that changes the course of our lives. Where our peace and normality are disturbed by a person or a situation. The invasion usually takes place in isolation when no one is there to help you. Though sometimes it happens in the presence of others, the actual attack is heavily felt when alone.
3. The Process
A pearl takes between six months to two years to form. This clearly shows that the process cannot be rushed. For us, the process lasts for our whole lives because even when we are already formed as pearls, we still go through being polished over and over to have a lasting glow of growth and stability. This is what the ups and downs of hurting and healing in different areas and points in our lives are all about.
When we are faced with an anomaly, the only way to get through it is to go through it. The process is usually painful because a piece of our lives, hearts, dignity, or bodies get lost or taken. We might not understand it when it happens, but when we look back, we become grateful it happened. The important thing is to allow the process of learning, changing, and growing to take place and not to fight against it.
4. The Conditioning
Many of the pearls found in the market are known as cultured pearls because humans intentionally placed irritants inside the shells to create them. They are lesser in price because their aim is mass production, leading to commercial gain for the harvesters.
The conditioning stage is where we need our mindsets and heart sets to be in the right place. This is where we decide whether the experience is helping us or hurting us. This is where we condition our minds to either be positive or negative towards our experiences. Having a positive outlook is important if we want to make it in life as it helps us to keep our faith and not to wallow in defeat.
5. The Rarity
Natural pearls are rare to find and that makes them worth more in value. These are pearls that follow a natural flow of creation and that guarantees their unique characters. They do not look perfect and they defy popular demands because they are for those who truly value their worth, for they know why they are most precious.
Rushing the healing process or halting it causes anger, resentment, and grudges—all the things that are not healthy for anyone’s soul. When we allow the natural course to have its way with us, we then move into the class of being rare because many people are after quick fixes and microwave solutions which do not have lasting results. The natural process demands the rareness of forgiveness towards ourselves and others.
6. The Value
The value of a pearl lies in how large it is. The larger it is the more valuable it is. Their sizes depend on the size of the shell and on its kind. For us, what makes our pearls big or small depends on how much we value or despise the journey.
The value of who we are after our struggle depends on whether we see lessons or failures. When we value the lessons, we then value our growth and that makes us valuable. What makes us larger as people is our surviving spirit and inner strength. When we see our lives as a work in progress, then we start to treasure ourselves and our journeys.
7. The Colour
For cultured pearls, the color of the donor tissue that gets inserted into the shell can determine the color of the forming pearl. The mainstream world has come to place a great deal of emphasis on certain colors while downplaying others. The truth is, when we follow popular opinions, we neglect to remember that beauty lies in the unique rather than the common.
It is up to us what color our pearls are. They can either be deep and warm, bold and bright, calm and soft, or even radiant and transparent. The colors depend on our personalities and expressions. There are no right or wrong colors, and there are no better colors. What counts is for us to express our authentic selves unapologetically.
8. The Shape
The pearl's shape and surface impact its popularity, and the more preferred ones are the rounder and smoother ones. Though cultured pearls are perfectly flawless, natural pearls are beautifully flawed.
We are shaped by the world we live in. They tell us what is acceptable then turn a blind eye to what they themselves deemed unacceptable. Sometimes their rules depend on who they are directed towards or how much they can make from the situation. This shows that we should not base our identity on what lies outside us but on what is within us. Even if we can appear smooth and round, it will mean nothing if our shapes are not filled with self-love, self-worth, and self-respect.
9. The Luster
The luster of the pearls is how it reflects light. The shinier it is, the more value it has. The quality of its luster is influenced by the layers of nacre that coats the center.
It is not about what others see but what is inside us. It is about the layers that make up our pearl journeys. If we coat ourselves with fear, doubt and shame, our pearls will not reflect light but will be dull. If we can reflect peace, forgiveness and acceptance, then our lives will start to reflect light. The more open we are to the light, the shinier our pearls will become. Sometimes the light in us can even convict those who caused our pain.
10. The Symbol
Pearls are symbols of class, elegance, and prestige. They are initially for royals and the elite. We must understand who we are to benefit from all the goodness life has in store for us.
It is essential to know what we stand for as individuals. We should clearly define what it is that others get when they encounter us. We are all symbols of something, so rather than to be accidental about it, let us be intentional. Let us set standards that are true to who we are and have morals that improve our lives and those around us. Knowing and standing for what we believe in liberates others and empowers them. Whether it be hope, love, dreams, or happiness, let us never lose our standards.
The secret to dealing with the bad situations we all encounter is facing them and going through their seasons. Learn from them and grow from them. Use them as our testimonies and perceive them as lessons. In this way, our experiences will not control and overpower us because we are not hiding or running away from them. We are instead accepting them and releasing them because they are not our identities. They are what defines our life’s journeys.
Thokozile Eunice Mahlaola, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Thokozile Eunice Mahlaola is the founder of The CherryBlue House, a consortium where they deal with career development, personal development, content writing and music entertainment. Since 2015 she has self-published three books and has two books as well as a music album coming out in 2020. Her online courses have changed the lives of people from different parts of the world. She has studied Creative Writing and Editing through the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism as well as Language and Literature and Public Relations Management both through the University of South Africa. The eighteen years of combined corporate and entrepreneurial experience she has gathered has prepared her to work with individuals, employees and new entrepreneurs who want to know their life’s purpose; align their priorities with their values and be more productive in their lives, work, and businesses.