When you look at a tree, what do you see?
Yes, okay, smart guy. You see the bark. The leaves. The branches. Potentially the small creatures and birds that call it home, the ecosystem it contains. You might also see something that gives life to humans on Earth by producing oxygen. (If you want to get that scientific or poetic about plants.)
Now, imagine someone else is looking at that same tree. What may they see?
Maybe lots of books that could be made from the tree. Maybe a really nice mahogany table or cherry tree chair. Heck, they may even see toilet paper. At any rate, they are seeing the tree chopped down and then chopped up into smaller pieces. They see the tree as it could be, not as it is now.
So, who is right?
Both are correct. Simply because trees serve multiple purposes, living or dead. It simply comes down to what stage of the process the tree is in, and what potential can be seen in it at that time.
Now, erase the tree from your mind, and think about the last time that you faced rejection or pain due to the fact that you did not fit the mold. That you didn’t meet the expectations of others. That you didn’t fill a position or a void for someone. Of course this is hard to experience. But again, your perspective isn’t the only one to consider.
If you have experienced this feeling, it means that someone has looked at you during a different stage in the process. It means that someone has perceived you and thought “paper” instead of “ecosystem.” It wholly depends on what they are seeing, not on who you are.
My general point is that you can be more than one thing at a time. But if people aren’t able to see past something or aren’t able to see you, it’s due to how they are perceiving you at a current moment, not with how much potential you have. And that’s okay. A tree is not offended to be called paper. It is simply useful. A tree is not offended to be called a shelter for others. It is simply useful.
Remember that you are useful in whatever stage of the process (AKA life) that you are in, even if it is hard to see right now. There is as much potential in a seed as there is in a fully grown tree.