There was once a little rose that had not bloomed. She was due to bloom a long time ago, yet it was fear that prevented her from achieving her full bloom. She could not see herself blossoming beautifully like the other roses. Within the closed confines of her petals, she looked at herself and never thought well of what she had. She could never bring herself to accept who she was for fear of being rejected, for fear of being ostracised.
In days past, she saw how her many flower-friends had blossomed beautifully and were taken and appreciated by others. She hoped that one day, someone would do likewise – to come to her, appreciate her beauty and to raise her off the ground and into the hands of someone beautiful.
Yet, no one came. Some even criticised her for not possessing those qualities which the fully blossomed roses had.
“I must not bloom. At least not now. If I do not allow myself to blossom, I could at least comfort myself that people do not want me because I have not yet blossomed. There can be no greater tragedy than to be left alone and unwanted once I go into full bloom.”
This was the way the little rose thought to herself everyday.
And for days she took pride in her ability to be the best unblossomed rose that there was around her. Indeed she was. For among the other buds, she was the best. Among the unblossomed roses, she was the prettiest.
Yet, no matter how wonderful she thought herself to be, she wanted to be loved and desired by someone as a most splendid rose in the sight of the beholder. And yet, she would look back at herself and see what appeared to her to be her ugliness from within. All she saw beneath those unblossomed petals of hers were nothing but pitch black darkness.
“How ugly am I. How can I show this side of myself to others? How can I present myself? Were I to blossom, I would display my ugliness to others!”
Sadly, the rose cries. Its heart torn by its disintegrated self. She yearns to be loved, yet she fears rejection. She wants to be fully herself, yet she despises her own self.
Dark clouds begin to cover the sky, cutting off the sun’s brilliant rays. Soon, it began to rain, and poured heavily it did. Those heavy rain drops hit the little rose with great force – wounding its fragile little petals. Then came strong gushes of wind, bending the plants wherever it blew.
“I cannot survive this storm!”, cries the little rose. “Is there anybody to help me? But alas, if someone were to see how much help I am most in need of, they would not want a rose like me. No. I must stay strong. I must survive. I cannot show the world that I am weak. I cannot show the world that I am so fragile. Who would want such a terrible rose if they knew how weak and fragile I am?”
And so silently and painfully, the little rose bore the brunt of the storm afflicting her from the outside, while deep within her she painfully endured the turmoil within her heart. All these she did while doing her best to appear as serene as she could to all those around her.
Who could understand what she was going through?
Many days later, the little rose noticed a small mushroom growing not too far away from her. The mushroom was not exactly the most beautiful mushroom you could find, yet it stood strong and proud, happy and content with what he was.
She thought to herself, “Is that mushroom out of its mind? People will laugh at him, taunt him, pluck him from the ground and throw him away. Why should that mushroom stand so firmly and contently?”
The small mushroom knew what was going through in the mind of the little rose, for he saw her staring disapprovingly at him.
“Little rose”, shouted the mushroom, “what’s on your mind?”
“Well, I am most curious to know why you can stand so proud and tall. You aren’t exactly the most beautiful and desired thing here. Aren’t you afraid of what others will say?”
“Everybody has an opinion. But their opinions do not change me unless I allow them to. I know I am not the best looking mushroom out there. But no other mushroom can take my place to be the best me – to be the best of who I am. Only I can be the best me. Only I can express the best of who I am. No other mushroom can do that. And so, here I stand, firm and tall, proud and content of who I am. A mushroom, no more, no less. But this mushroom is me. Other mushrooms can be better in apperance or function, but those mushrooms are not me.
Why do you worry about what others have to say? They can say whatever they want, but they can never be you. Only you know what you have and what you are. Good, bad, ugly, beautiful, retarded – whatever it is – that is what you have, and that is who you are. Why the anxiety? Life is short, just be the best rose that you can be – not the best rose in the world – just be the best that you have and you are. That’s all there is to it.”
“But dear mushroom, I am afraid. I can’t even bear to look at the ugliness that I have. How can I bring myself to blossom so beautifully? You can look at yourself and think of yourself as a wonderful mushroom. But as for me, I do not consider myself beautiful nor good. How can I stand firm and tall as you? I want to blossom! I’m tired to struggling with myself. What should I do?”
“Little rose, the ugliness that you see in yourself is ugly because you have yet to bring it out into the light. With your petals all wrapped up in darkness, how do you know what beauty you have? As a rose, you are beautiful. Look at the other roses. They too are beautiful. You share a beauty that is common to all roses. What have you to fear? You have seen how the roses around you, even though they may possess certain qualities of imperfection, are nonetheless still beautiful and more beautiful than before they had blossomed.
What seems ugly to you is caused by your fear of bringing your beauty out into the light. There, when your petals unfurl, and the darkness dispelled, you shall see the beauty that resides within you. How long more will you continue to wait? If you never allow yourself to blossom, you shall never know how beautiful you truly are, nor will you give yourself a chance. In the end, the ugliness that you harbour in your heart will break out to fester your whole being, and your petals will wither and decay within your closed self.
Be not afraid! Blossom fully, O little rose! You have only one chance to do so. You have only this one chance to be yourself, and to be the best that you can be. No one else has that blessed opportunity to be you. Do not waste that chance. You have seen how the many roses around you have blossomed beautifully. Have faith in yourself. Believe! Blossom and you shall see that there really is no reason to fear. It will be a decision which you will never regret. I, an ugly mushroom, am standing here proudly before you, as I wish to show you that there is nothing to be afraid of. So, take the risk – blossom where you are planted and you will have no regrets. You will see the beauty that you are, and you will begin to love yourself. Others will begin to love you once you allow yourself to be loved by your very self.”
At this, the little rose took a deep breath, and blossomed like never before. She was afraid, but she realised that she has only one chance to do so. It was now or never. Slowly, her petals begin to unfurl. The sunlight begins to pour its golden rays onto her freshly blossomed self.
There in the fields was a single rose: fully blossomed, standing tall, catching the attention of all who passed by. The little rose now the most glorious sight to behold. She stood tall, proudly, and free.
“No one else can take my place to be me. Only I can be me, and only I can be the best me that I can be. That is all that matters.”