A New Leaf: Learning to Let Yourself Grow
Taking on a new chapter of your life can be really scary. There is often a lot of pressure surrounding how you will succeed in a new venture, whether it be academic, career-oriented, a new relationship or maybe moving somewhere different. No matter what kind of change you're facing, if you're anything like me, you can often times put way too much pressure on yourself to make everything work, because if it doesn't, you have to face the possibility that you made a mistake. Maybe this new path isn't going to work...maybe you should have stuck with what you were doing before...And then you spiral and your mind gets about as jumbled as this paragraph. Well, I recently learned an important lesson from one of my new best friends, this incredible Dieffenbachia house plant I bought from Flower World.
If you read this post you would know that back in May, I dropped all of my classes at Western, chose to switch majors from Psychology to Design, and abruptly moved out of my apartment in Bellingham to come back home to the farm to work on my 1979 trailer as well as continue developing Herb & Flower (and working on my design portfolio)! That was a huge change for me. You could definitely say I was turning a new leaf. And as excited as I was, I also felt a huge amount of pressure and would sometimes question myself and what I chose to do.
A couple of weeks after I moved in I bought this cute houseplant. I was SO excited when I saw it's first new leaf start to grow! I would literally check on it every single day and watch the spindle grow taller and begin to unfold. I would touch the leaf and try to see what it looked like on the inside.
And then one day, when I was doing that, I tore the gorgeous new leaf.
I was heartbroken. I felt so bad! The last thing I wanted to do was hurt my poor plant! I was scared that now the entire leaf would be ruined and the plant might even stop growing other leaves because it didn't feel safe!
I know this sounds dumb. I get that I sound like I'm being dramatic or childish or whatever but this was how I felt. I was really excited about the new leaf but I put too much pressure on it, and I tore it and I couldn't fix that.
I told my boyfriend about it and he was sweet and said, "don't worry, the plant will grow a new one!".
That actually made me feel a lot better.
During the weeks that followed I still checked in on my plant daily and watered her but I didn't touch the leaves or worry about the new one that I saw beginning to grow.
Before I knew it, a beautiful large leaf had grown tall and grand, towering above all of the other leaves, with no rips of any kind.
The reason I'm telling you this plant story is that I think life can be like this sometimes. We put too much pressure on our current journey, our current goals, our current relationships, our current body,
on our growing self.
We are a lot like plants. We need a lot of water, we need to be cared for, loved, and we need space to grow, without being poked at and torn apart.
We need people in our lives, like my amazing boyfriend, who remind us that it will get better, there will be a new leaf, and we will continue to grow and bloom even more beautifully and abundantly than before.
Because at the end of the day, while I wish I hadn't torn that leaf, the plant is still beautiful. She still brings me joy, I still enjoy caring for her and watering her and watching her grow. She still brightens up the spaces she inhabits, and that little tear didn't stop her from blooming.
All my fears had been just that, fears. The leaf wasn't ruined, in fact, I hardly ever notice the small rip! And the plant has continued growing even faster.
Don't let the fear of what may happen, or what may not happen keep you from making the changes in your life that you know you need to make.
Don't put too much pressure on yourself to always make the right decision or to always be perfect.
Because sometimes you will mess up, nothing good ever comes that easy. There will be hardships and struggles, and you might rip a leaf here and there. But the most important thing is that you just keep growing.
You must give yourself the space to grow.
Speak kind words to yourself. Nourish your body, your mind, and your soul.
Like plants, each of us differ greatly and need to be cared for in different ways to support our happiest, healthiest selves. I highly recommend you read about yourself, take quizzes, journal, whatever you need to do to discover more about who you are and what you like. Give yourself what you need to allow yourself to grow. And if it's motivation that you need, there's plenty of books and resources for that, too! (I list some book recommendations at the end of this post if you're interested in diving into this more!)
Also, remember that the soil you're rooted in matters, too. If your environment is dry and barren (or, in non-plant terms, negative and uninspiring) you might need to root yourself somewhere that will nourish your growth. Surround yourself with people who want to see you grow and blossom into the best version of your incredible self, and who will encourage you to continue down your path to a more fulfilled you, even when things may not go as planned. Pour positive energy into environments and people that will pour positive energy back into you, foster relationships where you can grow together.
And if the day comes where you've grown so much that you need a completely new pot, don't be afraid to go out there and find it. Whether that means different friends who are more supportive of the new-leaf you, or a different environment, job, relationship, even a different COUNTRY! Whatever you need to go after, go after it.
So that's the little lesson I learned from my cute baby plant! I hope this resonated with you, thank you for reading!
cheers to a new leaf!
The Sacred Enneagram by Christopher L. Huertz
The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carlson
You are a Badass by Jen Sincero
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman