I’m here to tell you why your deficits are diamonds. Actually, I’m here to explain that you don’t have any deficits but I like the analogy. I endured many years of feeling less-than based on constant comparisons to those similar to me but “doing much better,” as I used to tell myself. I focused on what I wasn’t or couldn’t, seeking ways to improve myself with more enthusiasm than celebrating what I already was.

Nonsense. Waste of precious time and energy. So many diamonds all around me, unaware like I was.

What is the definition of a deficit? It’s the amount by which something, especially sum of money, is too small; its a shortfall, deficiency, shortage, debt; a disadvantage, impairment or handicap.

We all know the analogy about diamonds and you may be thinking that I’m contradicting myself since they are considered precious stones when cut and polished to perfection. But, that’s my point. You are cut and polished to perfection with your so-called deficits once you recognize, embrace and use them for the betterment of humankind. Wish I would have understood this concept as a young adult. Instead, I was ashamed and embarrassed and tried to compensate and cover up anything I perceived to be less-than in comparison to all of those “doing better” people. It made me defensive. Yuk. It was part of my eating disorder.

Comparisons lead to frustrations, negative associations, degrading self-talk and the less-than syndrome. Focusing on your perceived less-than’s means you are focusing on your “shortfalls, shortages, disadvantages, impairments and handicaps.” Well, isn’t that lovely. If you also believe Earl Nightingale’s theory that we become what we think about (or, even anything close to that), it’s obvious that this scenario is an f-ing disaster. It wasn’t until my oldest son and I had a major disagreement about general life philosophies that all of this became quite clear. (Thank you, oldest son. I sincerely mean that. His questioning and critical thinking have changed my life.)

We don’t think about how long we have to share our gifts. Makes sense in our younger years. We often have no recognition of our innate talents to begin with. Some of us are destined for long lives. Some of us are not. Taking the risk of falling into the former is withholding the parts of you that were meant to be shared.

Your deficits are not deficits. They are part of what creates abundance in the universe. They are more-than for the rest of us. They are your unique polish and shine. The best and most positive and powerful unions are ones in which at least two individuals fill each other’s “gaps” providing security and support and allowing for more creative expression. From marriages to families to organizations. I’ll use a fictional scenario to better illustrate what I mean.

Jon Morethan meets Jude Lessthan while working at ConserveNow, a charitable organization focused on wildlife and land conservation. Jon works in finance and Jude is the office manager. An instant attraction grew into a loving relationship and marriage one year later. Because Jon has been reading all of my blog articles and taking my spin classes, he was – of course – already in his more-than stage. (See what you’re missing if you don’t hang out with me?) Jude has been viewing her lack of college as an impairment and carries a resentment towards herself for not even trying after high school. She has always been a creative writer and she knows that she is meant to do something “big” in the world. Because she hated school and barely graduated, college was not on the radar. She started working at ConservNow just weeks after getting her diploma, moving from an assistant to running the office as the organization grew.

Jon used to struggle with expressing himself and telling the truth due to a critical mother and father. He did well in school but envied the outgoing and popular kids who made life look so easy and carefree. He now looks back at all the wasted time he spent in envy and realizes that many of those “cool” kids envied him for his ease with homework and academics. He has forgiven his parents for their harshness and now speaks up for himself and others without worry of criticism or backlash. He also embraces his love for details and facts and understands that he has difficulty reading social cues in group settings.

We could look at Jon and Jude with this limited amount of background and see their “deficits” or “weaknesses” and their “strengths” as most commonly labeled. I prefer to instead look at them as perfectly, whole and beautiful individuals. Just like you are, no matter where you are in this journey on earth. What feels lacking or missing or a disadvantage is not. In order to do what you are destined or meant to do, your abilities and talents and gifts are integrated for not only you but for those with whom you will interact. Sure, we can still throw around the W or the S labels. I don’t have a big issue with those as long as they are not used as crutches or excuses, to inflate ego or to manipulate – as long as a W is not seen as a less-than and an S is not seen as a more-than in and of themselves.

This is why your deficits are diamonds. They are not deficits. If we were created as “jack of all trades but masters of none” we would have a very drab and dreary and boring world. We wouldn’t have incredible art and music; technology and space travel. That many of us do not recognize our brilliance until later is another story and I believe it is most of our stories. The process of recognition changes us and those around us so we can grow and fit our pieces together properly. That many of us are not supported during the process and worse yet, ridiculed or treated as broken, is heartbreaking and tragic.

Understand that your “deficit” is part of your gift set. Jude’s lack of a college degree simply gave her a jumpstart to working with a company that she believed in and at which she could immediately contribute her gifts…because here’s the next part of her story.

Jude is now writing grants and is amazed at how focused she can be on a task that resembles school work. She understands that she is wired in a way that made it literally impossible for her to focus on subjects that she knew were meaningless. It wasn’t an excuse to get out of responsibilities, either. All of the “what’s wrong with me’s” and the countless testing and drugs for ADD didn’t work, however, because there wasn’t anything wrong with her. She didn’t fit the typical school setting nor could the school address her brilliance.

Her grants are now funding preservation and conservation all over the world. What she doesn’t know is that her efforts will eventually save several plant and animal species from extinction.

Jon continues in his role with great fulfillment and satisfaction, tieing up loose ends, fact-checking and making sure the charity stays solvent. He loves his solitude and his numbers. What he doesn’t know is that a local university will ask him to guest lecture on “finance for non-profits” in the business school. The teaching and lecturing actually become his teacher as he gets more and more comfortable with groups of people and their social cues.

Neither Jon nor Jude has a deficit but together they are even stronger. At this charitable organization they are game-changers.

We are all linked and we are all called to shine brightly. Some of us will shine so brilliantly that we will only be needed on earth for a short while. Some of us will live in our shadows – dimmed completely and yes, live for a long time. We are not here to solve this enigma or to judge the unfairness. We are here as part of a grand design that we can’t even begin to imagine.

What about physical “deficits” you might wonder? From adapting and compensating to compassion and empathy, everything we have strengthens us and helps others if we identify and understand our assets and use them in love. “Your pain, everyone’s gain” might be a better way of saying it. My extremely difficult adolescent years. My uncontrollable acne and teasing. Your cancer. His paralysis. Someone’s blindness. All of it. The minor to the major.

In the song, Diamonds, Rihanna sings “shine bright like a diamond,” probably for different reasons than this article. Doesn’t matter to me. Download it if you haven’t heard it and play it anytime you feel dimmed or less-than. Remember that many of our fellow brothers and sisters are struggling. At times, they resort to dimming the brilliance of others out of desperation and ignorance. And, I mean that in the most loving way. For those of us who know better, we can turn up our lights and shine into their shadows with love. We can awake each morning knowing that we are not less-than, even if we are in the midst of change or healing. All of it is part of our more-than existence. All of it.

Please see yourself without deficits. Please see others without deficits. Please envision those around you – at any given time, place, circumstance and moment, as part of a giant chain that links us in love and acceptance. 

Shine bright like a diamond and you will open the door for so many others to do the same.

What makes you a diamond? Who do you know that needs to read this? Please share it with them. It goes with a huge basket of love and hugs!