One gave off a golden glow; the other a darker one. One was friends with Hope; the other was a friend of Depression. The two emotions sat in the emptiness, side-by-side, silent until the darker one spoke up.
"I hate being trapped in darkness."
The golden one threw a sharp glance at it, and replied, "You know you have light inside of you."
"No I don't. I am completely made of darkness."
"That's not true. When we were all created, we saw how we all are made of light at the core."
"I'm different. They all have some semblance of good in them. I am just imperfection.
"You're wrong. Deep inside, you have the power to turn positive. You need to stop hanging around Depression – the darkness is rubbing off on you. Remember, Esteem, even the word imperfection says "I'm perfection."
"No, you are the one who's wrong. I am nothing, nothing at all."
"You are Esteem, and you can be positive or negative. It is truly your choice – but remember this, I'm always here to help."
There was a pause, in which the one who gave off a golden glow watched the other carefully.
"Do you really believe imperfection is perfection, and not the disease that taints the world?"
"I do," replied the golden one, but said no more, and for a while it seemed conversation had ceased.
"There is no perfection – a truth that is often rejected. There is nothing that's completely perfect, but we must try to see past the flaws to find the good within. For perfection is not the lack of flaws, but rather, the unique ability to accept them."
"Wait – is it real or not?"
"Have you made your choice yet, Esteem?"
"Well... What you said is all very deep, but it doesn't really help. It doesn't make me feel any better."
"That's what you fail to understand. Think about it – is there anyone or anything out there without a fault? No, all things in existence have a flaw. So it has been since the first, so it will be until the last."
"You don't understand. That is true, but it doesn't really make me feel better."
"Well, in the end, only you can truly do that. I can help you, and I wish to help you, but you alone can make the decisions about you. You are the only one who chooses what you do. You can choose to shoot for something unattainable, or you can choose to find brilliance and happiness in what you already have."
"But I don't have any good qualities."
"You say that only because you threw the shovel away when you reached the rocks of depression. Keep digging if you want gold," said the golden one calmly.
"It's hard," replied the other in barely a whisper.
"Believe in yourself. Like everyone else, you are made of good and bad. It is your choice to decide how you are going to view yourself."
"But... I'm rubbish. Honest. I can't do anything right."
"Oh?" and now the golden one turned to face its partner. "You really think that?"
"Well it's never too late to start doing the right thing. You have a choice. You can start by making the right decision."
"The darkness is comforting."
"We sometimes choose what's worst for us because we are afraid of what's good."
"I don't want to move out. I want to remain in the darkness, with Depression, forever. I'm used to it. It's comforting. The light, and Happiness, and Hope, they scare me sometimes."
"Deep inside, we're all afraid of moving out of our comfort zone. You want to stay with Depression because you're used to it; well, when you get used to Happiness and Hope, you'll want to stay with them forever. And that's good for you."
"It's hard to move out, though. I'm afraid I'll end up where I am. It's always harder to land in the bottom the second time than it is the first time, and it's always harder to get out of the bottom the second time than it is the first time."
"True, but Good and Bad are twins, inseparable. To get to Good you go through Bad. It's always more rewarding to reach Good the second time than it is the first."
"Depression is still who I feel most comfortable with."
"Only because you surround yourself with it, so you gain a fear of all else."
"But it's scary, moving out."
"It's your choice; you choose whether to stick with Sadness or turn to Happiness."
"I've been summoned..." murmured Esteem, standing up.
"It's your choice," the golden light whispered as it faded away.
Slowly, Esteem started to walk towards the light, turning its back on the darkness. Every step was painful, yet it was a relieving pain – it lifted the tension and unwound the darkness.
Hope greeted Esteem with a hug, smiling. "I knew you could do it," it said, proud.
Esteem smiled and realized the golden light was right – there is perfection in imperfection. And gradually Esteem began to find it. There was some good in all things, in all people, if one only looked for it.
The darkness that had surrounded Esteem began to fade away, leaving a beautiful golden core. Esteem shone in it, and joined Hope and Happiness and Love, not for a second feeling afraid with them. It never heard from the golden light again, but realized that letting go of its old friend Depression was the only way to find Happiness. Esteem was very happy it had found Happiness.
The girl, though, didn't know all this was happening. She just knew that for once, when she was hurt, she had managed to defend herself. And she had actually believed the defence. So what if she wasn't perfect? She didn't know the decision she had made in her heart, but she felt its effects. She truly believed in herself now. She is good enough for herself.