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What I learned from a houseplant

My daughter brought home a seed kit that grew some unknown type of plant, and I’m all about trying things out, so we planted those tiny baby seeds and sat back and watched.

I never expected to learn so many life lessons from plants! But, just like us, they are living things that go through a cycle of birth, growth, sometimes near death, and rebirth. Time moves them forward- that can’t be stopped. They are definitely affected by their environments, and how other people treat them, but they send out clues when they are in need of care. And no matter how much you want to keep those little seedlings in the tiny little box you planted them in, they will outgrow it, and if you don’t move it to something bigger, they will slowly die. So, there you go. Haha.

Now- let’s explore some of these changes further.

Having faith to grow

It’s pretty apparent that if you plant a seed in the proper soil, give it water and sunlight, it will sprout. You can have faith in that. In fact, let’s even say you can have confidence in that.

What if you had that kind of faith or confidence in yourself before you even started something? Would it make a difference in your outcome?

I believe it will! If you choose to have faith, you are more likely to:

~See possibilities, rather than roadblocks

~Focus on what you CAN do

~Recognize and utilize your strengths

Faith is having confidence that

consistency + time + and the right plan, will eventually = success

just like water + sunlight + soil = growth.

Being affected by our environment and how other people treat us

I know it’s been said time and time again that” it doesn’t matter where you came from, but where you are going,”

I love that perspective, and I agree, however, it definitely shaped how you grew, and got to that point.

We went out of town and didn’t water the plant. It got neglected. When we came back home, it gave us clues that it was suffering. The plants were folding over, and losing their color. They looked sick.

If we aren’t taking care of our basic needs, our bodies will give us clues that we are suffering. We might feel:

tired, achey, irritable, lose our patience easily, feel anxious, lose interest in things that we used to enjoy, and want to isolate ourselves.

Maslow created a hierarchy of basic needs, and as you can see, good sleep, nourishing food, health and safety are just some of the things we need to have before we can even level up to thriving:

As you can also see, above basic needs are the necessity for love and belonging.

There is a direct correlation between the degree of depression someone might experience and their quality of relationships. In fact, the National Library of Medicine published a control study of 869 undergraduate college students. They measured the need to belong, their sense of belonging, their experience in close relationships, and their emotional stability. This more simplified graph shows their findings. If they have low whole relationships, their depression is magnified.

Do you have a support system?

Do you have someone you trust to talk to?

Are you making time to connect with friends and loved ones?

I know sometimes the season of life you are in (like the circumstances surrounding my poor plant) don’t necessarily allow for a thriving social life, but are their ways to connect with people in ordinary situations every day?

Can you put effort into one relationship?

I also want to note that when we watered the plant it didn’t immediately perk back up. In fact it took a good week for it to be standing up straight again. So please be patient with yourself if you are seeing slow progress.

It might take some time to feel like you can even stand up straight again too. Keep nourishing your soul and celebrate small wins.

Outgrowing our Environment/Circumstances

Finally, I realized that my plant was slowly going to die because the tiny container we planted them in is now too small. It had outgrown its environment. The small container wasn’t allowing the plant to grow and flourish. It was actually choking out its growth. How do you know if you are also outgrowing your current self?

Let me share a personal story…

I have been wanting to go back to school for several months now. I kept shoving the feeling deep down inside because I didn’t want to spend the money to go back to school. I even had several moments of clarity in which I knew it was the right choice. Ironically the thing that pushed me over the edge was when my friend announced she was going back to school. I felt jealous. If you find yourself feeling jealous that someone you know is following their dreams, it’s a wake up call to follow yours to my friends.

I came across a blog that listed a few clues to also help you see if it’s time for a change:

  1. You have a constant feeling of discontent

  2. You find yourself making goals that are different than your current life

  3. You fantasize about having a different life

  4. You feel like you are going through the motions

  5. Your vision board is unrelated to your current life (if you have a vision board)

I totally resonated with #1, #3, and #4. But, I just kept making goals that were in line with my current life! WHY? Because it's scary and intimidating to change.

It wasn’t until I saw someone else doing what I had always wanted to do that was the kick in the pants I needed. Ultimately, I decided it was something I couldn’t process on my own, so I found someone who was on board with helping me with my new goals! That could be a life coach, trusted friend, spouse, family member, etc.

We made a plan together and by the end of the day I knew how many credit hours I still needed, about how much it was going to cost, and most importantly…that it was doable!!

Take time to go through the list of clues and see if any resonate with you. It very well could be time for a change!

Sad plant that needs water

Notice how it let its old leaves die, and just kept growing!
Happy plant after a week of small amounts of daily water

Plant that is getting too big for its tiny container

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