You are like a cup of coffee. What is visible to the external world is the cup and not the coffee inside. What is visible to you is the coffee. And your experience of life is the warmth, taste and aroma of the coffee. The experience can only be felt. It is not visible to anyone including you.
The cup is how you come across to the world. The cup represents the visible actions that you take, the things that you do and the words that you speak. The world makes a picture of you from what is visible to them. They have no idea of what is inside. They do not know how the coffee looks. The coffee inside might be awful, but if the cup is made of delicate ceramic, the world would look at it positively. On the other hand, you may be a very good person inside but the world may ignore you as a cheap plastic cup because your goodness is not visible to them.
The coffee inside is what you are to yourself. It comes from what you think and believe. It comes from all your thoughts, actions, experiences and feelings from childhood till date. You are the only person who has witnessed everything about you. Others may have caught a glimpse here or there, but it is only you who knows what you are. Normally, what we are inside is never closely related to how the world sees us. Many of us have experienced this very closely. This is simply because the coffee inside is not visible to others. They can only see the cup.
Finally, the experience of having the coffee is your experience of life. It is not visible to anyone. Only you can feel the warmth, taste and aroma. A good experience makes you feel satisfied, relaxed and at peace, whereas a bad experience fills you with stress, dissatisfaction, and discomfort. The experience is given by your value system, your acceptance of yourself, and your acceptance of how the world sees you. You enjoy your coffee best when you are not concerned about how the cup or the coffee looks; rather you are focussed on enjoying the coffee. The look of the coffee and the cup does influence your experience of having coffee. But if you introspect, most of you will see that the biggest spoilsport is your non-acceptance of yourself, and of how the world sees you. Most happy and satisfied people are those who accept themselves, and also accept how the world sees them.
To accept yourself and to accept how the world sees you, the coffee and the cup needs to be in sync with your value system. So go ahead and live life in tune with your value system, and enjoy each moment of living it. It doesn't matter whether you are a beggar or a king.
Acknowledgment: This article is inspired by Rick Abelson’s “The Coffee or the Cup?”
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