One hundred! It still feels like only yesterday I’d stumbled across a site called “WordPress” and decided to make a blog since it was the middle of a hot summer day and I was bored. I’d always had ideas and perspectives that I wanted to share with others, but I was never quite sure how. Two summers and ninety-nine posts later, and I can say that I’ve met my goal of reaching out to someone, anyone. And ever since my very first post, “What are you grateful for?”, I’m pretty confident I’ve surpassed that goal as well. A HUGE thank-you to everyone for reading, whether you read a post and moved on, or hit that “Follow” button and stuck around. It means a lot more to me than you might think!
But enough celebration for now. Now, for something I’ve been working on for a little while (which partially explains my absence- the rest is due to laziness). “Pulling the Weeds out of Your Life”.
“Life is like a beautiful garden. Remember to pull the weeds and water the flowers.” – Unknown
Life is a lot like a garden.
Like a garden, it takes a lot of work. A lot of upkeep.
The soil needs to stay healthy and fertile, the flowers need to be watered, the weeds need to be pulled. So in life, your dreams and aspirations represent the soil, the pieces of success that pop their heads out of the ground are the flowers, and everything that distracts you, everything that robs you of your time, or happiness, or motivation, those are the weeds. And they need pulled.
I’ve been growing my garden for 18 years now, but don’t think it’s perfect. It has its fair share of weeds. Some in particular I’ve let grow larger than all the rest.
I’ve come to realize the importance of pulling the weeds out of my garden, but I’ve also realized that I can’t pull them all out. Some took root years ago, growing way in the back, all tangled up in the fence, serving as painful reminders of my past.
They represent what I wished I’d done differently. The questions I should’ve asked, people I should’ve confronted, opportunities I shouldn’t have let pass me by.
They’re some of the nastiest kinds of weeds, and unfortunately, they grow in everyone’s gardens, lurking somewhere just out of reach, but never quite out of sight.
I’ve come to accept that some weeds are here to stay. And that the experiences and mistakes that planted them are in the past, in a place that I have no control over.
So what do you do about those pesky weeds that you know you can’t pull? Do you give up on your garden? Throw in the towel and toss your tools in the trash?
No. You plant more flowers. Right in front of those weeds.
I mentioned how our flowers represent those bits of success that pop their heads out of the soil. With consistent watering, day-by-day they’ll grow, and eventually block those nasty weeds.
But why do we grow them? As distractions from our problems we’d rather avoid than confront?
No. As reminders of what we’ve accomplished, of who we can be when we choose not to let the past haunt us.
I said how there are some weeds that we can’t pull out. That’s true. They’re a part of our gardens, whether we like it or not.
But take a look around. I’m sure you’ll see some more. Some that are within reach, some that look a little more manageable.
These weeds are smaller and still developing. They’re your bad habits and problems that are annoyances which sit way back in your conscious, but aren’t huge life-stoppers. Yet.
You see, they seem rather harmless now, but given enough time in the sun, given enough water that you’re probably not even aware that you’re giving them, and they’ll grow into monstrosities that you won’t be able to pull.
You need to find where the weeds are and pull them out.
A great way to do this is to start being honest with yourself. With your life. Take a look at your life and answer some questions that need answered.
What areas of your life do you feel could use some improvement? What don’t you particularly like about it?
How are your finances?
How are your relationships? With your kids, with your friends, your significant other? How about your spiritual relationship?
What about what you’re doing every day, for a living? Are you happy, I mean truly happy with what you’re doing? Do you wake up excited to get to work or do you find yourself dragging yourself out of bed every day?
How about your health? Are you happy with who you see in the mirror every night? If not, what can you do to make that person feel better, look better?
I see the path to self-improvement, in any area of one’s life, as a three-step process.
First, you’ve got to be honest with yourself. Honesty is vitally important to the entire process. As we’ve all heard before, the first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one.
It’s not about trying to make things not seem as bad as they are, about setting things aside and forgetting about them. You’ve tried that already. It’s time to be honest, brutally honest with yourself, and realize what needs to be changed.
Next, you need to ask yourself questions. Not only about what you don’t like about your life, but also what you’re going to do about it, how you’re going to change your current circumstances. You need a plan of action.
So what’s last?
Just that. Action.
Taking action by confronting those weeds.
Now don’t think they’re all tiny stems that you can pluck out of the ground with a tug and call it day. A lot of them won’t come out so easy. You’re going to pull for a little while, realize that it’s in there pretty good, and take a break until the next day.
But with every day you pull, you unearth its roots a little more until one day you try so hard and yank the whole thing out and land on your butt. You’ll hold it out in front of you in disbelief, thinking, “Did I just do that?”
Your garden can flourish, but only if, just like an actual garden, you’re willing to put the time and energy into it.
My point is simple. You can live literally any kind of life you desire, but if you don’t deal with that which is holding you back, which fills your head with doubt and reminds you of the mistakes you’ve made, then it will never become a reality. It will only ever exist in your dreams, in your wants and desires.
You’ve got some weeds that need pulled. So put on your gloves and get to work.