Once, a youth went to see a wise man, and said to him:

’I have come seeking advice, for I am tormented by feelings of worthlessness and no longer wish to live. Everyone tells me that I am a failure and a fool. I beg you, Master, help me!’

The wise man glanced at the youth, and answered hurriedly: ’Forgive me, but I am very busy right now and cannot help you. There is one urgent matter in particular which I need to attend to…’ — and here he stopped, for a moment, thinking, then added: ’But if you agree to help me, I will happily return the favor.’

’Of…of course, Master!’ muttered the youth, noting bitterly that yet again his concerns had been dismissed as unimportant. ’Good’, said the wise man, and took off a small ring with a beautiful gem from his finger.

’Take my horse and go to the market square! I urgently need to sell this ring in order to pay off a debt. Try to get a decent price for it, and do not settle for anything less than one gold coin! Go right now, and come back as quick as you can!’

The youth took the ring and galloped off. When he arrived at the market square, he showed it to the various traders, who at first examined it with close interest. But no sooner had they heard that it would sell only in exchange for gold than they completely lost interest. Some of the traders laughed openly at the boy, others simply turned away. Only one aged merchant was decent enough to explain to him that a gold coin was too high a price to pay for such a ring, and that he was more likely to be offered only copper, or at best, possibly silver.

When he heard these words, the youth became very upset, for he remembered the old man’s instruction not to accept anything less than gold. Having already gone through the whole market looking for a buyer among hundreds of people, he saddled the horse and set off. Feeling thoroughly depressed by his failure, he returned to see the wise man.

’Master, I was unable to carry out your request’, he said. ’At best I would have been able to get a couple of silver coins, but you told me not to agree to anything less than gold! But they told me that this ring isn’t worth that much.’

’That’s a very important point, my boy!’ the wise man responded. Before trying to sell a ring, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to establish how valuable it really is! And who can do that better than a jeweler? Ride over to him and find out what his price is. Only don’t sell it to him, regardless of what he offers you! Instead, come back to me straightaway.’

The young man once more leapt up on to the horse and set off to see the jeweler. The latter examined the ring through a magnifying glass for a long time, then weighed it on a set of tiny scales. Finally, he turned to the youth and said:

’Tell your master that right now I can’t give him more than 58 gold coins for it. But if he gives me some time, I will buy the ring for 70.’

’70 gold coins?!’ exclaimed the youth. He laughed, thanked the jeweler and rushed back at full speed to the wise man. When the latter heard the story from the now animated youth, he told him: ’Remember, my boy, that you are like this ring. Precious, and unique! And only a real expert can appreciate your true value. So why are you wasting your time wandering through the market and heeding the opinion of any old fool?’

8 thoughts on “Parable about self-confidence

  1. I disagree with the mass couch psychology that everyone is precious and unique. I think stories like that are made from narcissists who need narcissistic supply all the time.
    I am neither precious nor unique (although i do have my strengths) and i won’t label every insecure potato precious to make them feel better about their insecurity.
    I don’t criticize, but my praise is EARNED.

    1. I’m sorry you don’t agree. I personally feel that I am precious and unique. I am sorry you feel that is narcissist and need to say negative words to my positive self motivation which I need because I am trying to overcome thinking poorly of myself. But you have to believe what you need to believe. It’s just a shame you are shoving your negative opinion down my throat which I already have enough of them for myself. But I thank you for your insight. Although I will not keep it in mind. ❤

      1. I didn’t say YOU specifically are not unique. I don’t know you personally, so it’s dumb to say that. But sorry, my narcissistic mother who tried to kill me is neither precious nor unique. Nor my ex husband who abused me. I disagree with the belief that EVERYONE is unique. I don’t agree with generalization. Not all blonds are dumb, not all asians have a small penis. And i don’t shove anything down your throat. I thought when you post something online you want other people’s opinions. At least that’s why i post online. I am sorry if you think poorly about yourself, i don’t know what happened and i didn’t mean to make you feel attacked.

      2. Look I’m sorry for people who have hurt you. I chose to openly share in my self work on my bipolar. To hold myself accountable for pushing myself in a positive direction. I don’t need negative comments on something that is positive. I mean really because I chose to put up a story about not letting others determine your self worth made you bring your baggage into it than I am sorry. I wish inner peace for everyone and I don’t get how sharing that would bring such harshness. Oh well we all have our own path to walk

  2. Thank you so much for posting this. It is helpful to be reminded that we are worth as much as we are willing to accept for treatment from others. If we believe that we are better than that kind of treatment, then we need to start expecting better treatment and not accepting less. No one is going to pay you in gold (love) if you are taking the copper (toxic).

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