I knew exactly how I wanted it to look.
A mix of strong structure and soft floatiness. I’d scoured Pinterest and watched hours of YouTube. This was going to be good. I assembled everything I needed and I was ready. This small patch of garden was going to be the envy of my friends and a source of joy and contentment for years to come. But it didn’t work out that way!
There was a fatal flaw in my plan
When I came up with my plan for my first garden, I didn’t really think about my ACTUAL garden. The dark corners, the chalky soil, the windswept position. I was lost in the fantasy of what I’d seen elsewhere and what I wanted it to be. In reality, the position of the sun, the quality of the soil and the erratic nature of my commitment meant it was doomed to failure. I had chosen plants that needed totally different conditions than I could provide! So, unsurprisingly, it was a mess. Some of them failed to grow at all and wilted. Others went completely rampant and swamped the space. And some just quietly did their own thing, but without any of the wow I had been hoping for.
I felt like a failure
My inner critic had a field day:
“You can’t even grow a few plants. How useless you are!”.
I didn’t reflect on my process and the ways I had inadvertently set myself up to fail. I just felt like a failure.
It’s funny how our minds can make sweeping judgements about our entire value as a human from small things.
If we don’t have mastery of our inner critic and the thoughts it creates, we become stuck in negative views of ourselves.
It becomes our truth.
Inner growth is no different than my garden
We can develop lofty 'inner' goals as much as we do for our external world. Wishes for how we want to be in the world and what we want to achieve. And just as fatally as my garden misadventure , we often don’t stop to consider if they are really suited to our true nature. For example, I would love to somehow morph into a domestic goddess but (as my kids readily point out) it’s just not going to happen. I’ve learnt that it doesn’t make me a defective person, I just have different skills! As the famous saying goes (sometimes attributed to Albert Einstein): “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
Taking ourselves too seriously can be part of the problem
I’ve always tended to be a “go hard or go home” kind of a person. I like to put my whole self into whatever I do - even when it’s misguided. Actually maybe especially when it's misguided! It’s a great trait in many ways but it is always tinged with a touch of perfectionism. It can so easily lead to gripping things too tightly and trying too hard. It can suck the joy from the every day and put too much emphasis on the end result.
Being playful can be an act of rebellion
If you know that sometimes the fun disappears because you grip things too tightly, maybe you’ll relate to this. Or perhaps you know someone like this? An event that’s supposed to be fun that you find you can’t quite relax and enjoy once the hard work is done… The family gathering that’s fraught with tension because of the expectations of it all going smoothly… And as we transition out of lockdown, perhaps an over- engineering of ‘fun’… The good news is that we can choose to rebel against the confines of our own making. Even better, it doesn’t have to take lots of time and be difficult (or perfect!)
Rediscovering your playful rebel to grow your impact and life
Remember when you were a child or watching children at play. All the senses were involved. It’s curious. It’s full of aliveness and awe. Most of all it's joyous and without expectation. I’d love to invite you to join me for my next FREE workshop on Monday 3 May at 7.30pm with guest expert Harriet Poole.
We’ll be unleashing our playful rebels with simple creativity for a busy life. You can find out more and sign up to join us here (Members of my Be.More Membership community will have access to the replays and an additional Q and A with our guest speaker, Harriet Poole)
Laura @ Be. x
“When you stop doing things for fun, you might as well be dead” - Hemingway