I want to be a tree, but not just any tree. I want to be a deep-rooted, strong, tall standing tree. Sounds a little odd, doesn’t it? Aspiring to be a tree. Who does that? OK, so maybe I don’t want to be an actual tree in the truest sense, just more like a tree in the metaphorical sense.
I think about the old willow tree that was in the backyard of my childhood home. It was huge with its long willowy branches that I used to tie together and swing from. Or it's thicker branches that I used to climb and nestle in, shaded and secure. That tree withstood many thunderstorms, snowstorms, and tornado warnings and while it would bend in the turbulent wind, it never broke. Never. It was resilient. Thinking about that tree, I’m reminded of the reason I said I wanted to be a tree in the first place… Life's lessons, similar to storms, can either knock us over and lay us flat or help us to grow stronger, just like a tree with deep roots. Goodness knows we’ve probably all experienced some lessons that have done both. Below is a list of some of my own lessons, ones that have done a little bit of both, but in the end, they have (and are) really helping me to grow my roots deeper. Root Deepening Lessons Your past does not define you unless you let it. I used to wear my past like a badge of courage. My past defined me until I realized I was living through the lens of my past. And man did it block my view of some really cool things in my present. Essentially, it was tantamount to remaining a victim, small and powerless. Now, I’m committed to learning from the past as opposed to allowing it to define me. Learning from it gives me more strength and personal power, especially for the times ahead that may try and knock me over.
Something to consider… How has your past given you strength and power? What past experiences are you most grateful for? Quality outweighs quantity especially when it comes to friends. The older I get the more I realize it’s not the quantity that matters, it’s the quality. I would much rather have two or three really solid friendships, friendships that are deep and meaningful, than 10 or 20 surface-level type friendships.
I must admit I’ve become picky in my older age because a) I want to reduce the toxicity and drama and b) I want to ensure that the people I surround myself with are positive forces to reckon with. I don't have time for Eeyores anymore. Something to consider… The people you are surrounded by are influencers. They can influence your mood, they can influence your thoughts, and sometimes even your actions. Who influences you and what are they influencing? Well-being is an internal job. This was a toughie for me to learn as a recovering co-dependent. Here’s the thing, it’s no one else’s responsibility to ensure that I’m OK. Making it someone else’s responsibility is a lot to ask of them and worse, it makes me reliant on them. People can certainly add to my well-being, but they’re not responsible for it. It’s my job to ensure that I’m OK.
In turn, I’m also not responsible for anyone else’s well-being. So, if I swoop in to take care of them without them asking...what I’m really doing; I'm inadvertently "saying" they’re not capable of taking care of themselves and that I know better. I don't know better, but what I do know is we're all capable of doing hard things and living to talk about them. (Caveat: As a parent, I know that when our children are little we are responsible for their well-being until there comes a time when we can teach and empower them to be responsible for their own.) Something to consider… On a scale of 1-10, (1 = Not and 10 = Totally), how responsible are you for your own well-being? If you are not totally responsible for your own well-being, what needs to change? We teach people how to treat us. We really do teach people how to treat us based on how we treat ourselves and ultimately how we show up. For example, placing our needs at the bottom of the list or saying negative things about ourselves not only impacts how we feel, but it creates an example for others. It sends the message that we're cool with being treated poorly -- and that's no Bueno in my books. Something to consider… What are you teaching others about what you will and won't allow? Where, if anywhere, do you need to set boundaries to protect your valuable feelings? We risk more by playing small. I’m not gonna lie, this lesson has been a scary one because it has required me to put myself out there + be vulnerable. BUT I’ll tell you this... when I don’t play small cool things happen… like new opportunities, growth, fun, and of course learning something useful for future use. The one thing I am absolutely assured of is, if we play small we miss out. We miss out on some fun. We miss out on potentials. We miss out on making new connections. We miss out on living. Something to consider… “If you don’t ask, the answer is always “no”. Not trying is failing, not the other way around. Our skills and gifts can and often do positively impact someone else’s life, not to mention our own. My friends, what lessons have deepened your roots? The time is now to take stock. Until next time, here’s to being like a tree. Share