Be as encouraging as possible. There may be people who think that you are faking because you choose not to be negative but why should you care? To become a happier person, you must want it and be it. While you may not be in a positive mood all the time, putting positive vibes into the universe may help someone else. Do not share negative comments with people, especially if they are about other people and you are not sure of the details. It makes life so much better not to start or be a part of drama. Leave that to television personalities. In real life you do not get paid to hurt other people’s feelings.
Your first priority in life should be to create good spaces for yourself. While making a good space for yourself, try to make rules for yourself regarding other people’s lives. Ask yourself, have you ever told someone about your friend’s personal business and followed up with, “…but do not say anything because no one is supposed to know.”
I often encounter people who gossip about others dreams and goals. I have been told some very personal information too. What was worse was that the gossiper knew that I did not have the best relationship with that person. There are some things that should not be repeated regardless of whether you like the person or not. Whether it is good or bad, the information was told to you in confidence. It is truly unnecessary to comment on other people’s lives unless you are living it. It requires self-control but I know that you can do it. The mind has the ability to construct plans for other people based on a passing conversation. If you see that person a year later and you have a thought, carefully consider positive over negative.
When someone changes their plans in life, do not always assume that it is not for the better. A lifetime goal thwarted may mean that the person did not realize what was out there to make them happier. Maybe the dream that they had yesterday was just a placeholder for something even more fantastic.
For example, I have a friend who reunited with someone she knew when she was younger. She is in love and seems very content. Her goal was to move to a tropical island for years. In the past, every time I saw her, she would mention this move.
Her goals changed because life is constantly moving. I have never seen her happier! I did ask her if she was planning to still move and she said that her life had changed and she was staying right where she was. The smile on her face showed that she was truly content with her decision to stay and create spectacularness in her present space. I can respect that.
Goals are individual based and not for scrutiny of others. Life is constantly evolving and we do not always have control. Be supportive and recognize that over the years your goals have changed too. I hope that someone had a supportive role in your life, even when it seemed scary or difficult.
Even people going through times of grief and/or personal upheaval should be given the benefit of the doubt.
The conversation should be uplifting and one may want to just say, “I hope that each day is getting better for you. Is there something that I can do for you?”
Shining a light on the negative will bring both of you down. It is your choice whether to worry about others as well. Some of us take on too much responsibility for others and they in return have no idea how much we worry.
While scrolling through my social media pages, I found a quote that really spoke to me. It was, “You gotta stop watering dead plants.”
I understood this with clarity. So many old relationships with friends and acquaintances are now gone and in the past. Being a gardening enthusiast, I understood that the quote was vital to my own psychological well-being.
There are some relationships that you will never understand why they ended. Is there ever really a good reason for either party? Maybe you have grown apart? Maybe that person feels that you have done something or said something that they cannot forgive you for? Maybe you cannot forgive them? Maybe you just need to move on and create new opportunities for yourself? There is just so much to ponder.
No matter the circumstances, the relationship will not be the same. If you are giving so much time worried about someone else who does not care, I worry about you.
I thought about the beautiful hibiscus plant that I planted and in its first year it grew wonderfully. The second year it had more flowers. The third year it died. I could not understand why. No matter how much I watered it, the result was the same. The stalks bore no flowers. I kept it in the ground the fourth year and worried about its inability to regenerate itself. I wasted fertilizer on the dead stalks. I was not able to fully enjoy what was growing and flourishing in the garden around it because I was worried about that one plant out of a hundred. This year, I finally dug it up and discarded it. It was dead and I wanted it to come alive. It did not. In year three, I did not enjoy my garden the way I was supposed to.
This year, I was able to concentrate on so many other things like my vegetable garden. I was able to grow several new varieties of plants. This year I grew squash, zucchini, watermelon, cucumbers, hot peppers and thyme. I grew tomatoes every year and this year, I planted yellow pear tomatoes and I was surprised by how many bite sized fruit two plants bore. They are so delicious as well. My screams of delight were so much more amusing than the feelings of disappointment.
My hot peppers did not do so well but my cucumbers did. I gave myself so many reasons to explore other options than to focus on the death of my hibiscus plant.
The hibiscus is considered a very feminine flower and so is usually given or worn by women. In North America especially, a hibiscus means a perfect wife or woman. In Victorian times, giving a hibiscus meant that the giver was acknowledging the receiver's delicate beauty.
I felt that the death of the plant was personal. I realized that there were so many other things that could have been the cause of its death.
I remembered why I purchased it. Spending time in St. Maarten had me thinking about the time when I opened the gate at my grandmother’s house and I was immediately surrounded by about 20 hummingbirds. It was surreal and beautiful. There was a hibiscus plant next to the gate. The hummingbirds flew up and down and buzzed back and forth. They did not stay for long but it impacted me. My cousin and I purchased a pair of silver bracelets with hibiscus flowers on the end of them as a token of our trip together. She took one home with her and I have the other.
As I thought about the hibiscus that I planted and its death, I also thought about my bracelet. Until this moment, I did not think about how I could have dealt with the “watering of dead plants” differently. I have been wearing a bracelet that signifies what I had wanted all along and did not even realize it. Writing will do that for you sometimes.
I am grateful at this moment. I will not be wasting time and energy on situations that do not have room for growth. The time is now to stop feeding things that no longer exist. Are you still watering dead plants?
Printed in the September 18, 2016 - October 1, 2016 edition