I've been thinking about plants
I’ve been thinking about plants.
A lot of us love plants – I know I do. I think we have something to learn from the way we care for plants. We put them in our homes, we care for them, we water them, give them sunlight and shade as needed. We tend to them gently so that they'll flourish and grow. I think some of us might need a reminder that we should be tending to ourselves, our bodies and our minds, in the same way.
This is what I’ve found: it's sometimes easier to be kind to others than it is to be kind to yourself. We nourish and care for our loved ones, our pets, and even our plants – but often, we forget to do the same for ourselves.
Think about the negative self-talk we put ourselves through, either on a daily basis or every now and again. Looking in the mirror and noticing our flaws, our imperfections. Seeing beautiful photos on Instagram and feeling that our pages are dull and uninspired. Seeing someone at work succeed, and thinking to ourselves that we could never be as good as they are at their job. Going to a yoga class and seeing someone accomplish incredible poses with perfect form, and feeling like we’d never achieve the same thing.
But it isn’t a competition. It never has been. Someone else thriving and doing well should be a source of joy within us, rather than a prompt for us to bring ourselves down with thoughts of us not being able to achieve the same things. As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
One of the things I’ve learned from planting is that there is no competition between plants. Plants don’t have a concept of needing to be or do anything, to achieve more or be better. A plant or a seedling won’t flourish because we buy them a beautiful new pot or the perfect crochet hanging basket. A plant will grow and thrive when the conditions are right: when it is looked after and cared for. In order to be healthy, a plant needs the right soil, the correct amount of water and sun. Similarly, people need the right conditions and care in order to be healthy and thrive. What we need isn’t the latest fashion, the newest phones or a beautiful holiday home – much like the plant’s pot or décor won’t help it grow and be well.
We need what will nourish us and sustain us. We need love. We need care. We need to tend to the wholesome seeds within us. We need to plant and continually nourish the seeds of kindness, love, acceptance and compassion in ourselves. We need to avoid strengthening the seeds of fear, hate and anger, in ourselves and in others. We need to be gentle with ourselves as we grow and develop, and make sure we are getting what we need to be well. We need to drink water. We need to eat food that nourishes us. We need to find the best environment where we thrive, and protect ourselves from situations that are not good for us.
Care for yourself, and nurture yourself as you would your beloved plants and seedlings. And remember - it’s only when we know how to take care of ourselves, that we are able to take good care of others.
This piece was originally written for Yoga Lotus, a small yoga business I've been working with for a while now. Check it out on their blog here: https://www.yoga-lotus.no/blog/2020/8/19/my-plant-my-self-a-lesson-in-self-love?fbclid=IwAR1iw9j7alIQjrSjn8PG-4sVEAWrYKpGI6HlDkONDw0u75DrvNAid93M9DE