I think one of the most meaningful gifts you can give someone is a potted plant. But I’ve learned that potted plants are more difficult to keep alive than they look, and after lamenting to a friend that I’ve had dozens die on me, I was informed in order for certain potted plants to live past a few weeks, it has to be removed from it’s small pot, and placed in a larger space where the roots can grow freely. In fact, if a plant isn’t moved out of the pot, it stops being able to absorb water, begins to appear pale and dull, and eventually wither away.
I’ve been thinking about potted plants quite a lot lately… and how similar we are to them.
It’s almost been a year now that I’ve been honored to be a contributor for Scottsdale Moms Blog. In that time I’ve had friends read my blogs and say things like, “Wow, I don’t know how you share so much.” Or, “I could never be that open and honest with people. How do you say all that and put yourself out there like that?”
I haven’t always known how to answer. But it hit me today like a smack in the face: WE CONNECT IN OUR VULNERABILITY.
When we try to keep all our struggles, fears, and issues in our nice little perfectly-polished small pot, we may look good, but after a while we won’t grow anymore. It’s in our vulnerability that our ‘mess’ is brought out in the open, where we can break out of our pretty pot and grow alongside one another. In that space we connect. In that space we find true and lasting friendship.
Did you know many plants (called “companion plants”) grow better when they are planted near other plants as opposed to on their own? I believe we are the same way. WE WERE NOT MEANT TO DO THIS ON OUR OWN.
Yes, being vulnerable is scary. Yes, it can get messy too. I’ve had people tell me that maybe I’m not cut out to be a stay-at-home mom, and ask me why it seems that I struggle more than others. Truthfully, I have no clue (and truthfully, these comments make me want to crawl into a hole and never write again). But sometimes I wonder if we are struggling together, in different ways, and just not really talking about it.
I used to think I was the only mom who couldn’t get dinner on the table every night – and then I learned from several friends that this is a common struggle, and got tips on how to make it happen (i.e. prepping for dinner during nap time, cutting everything at the beginning of the week, and of course, the beloved crock pot).
I used to think my child was the only one who hit other kids – and then my son was shoved by another boy at the gym daycare, and I was able to have a gracious conversation with the other boy’s mother. We are friends to this day.
I used to think it was only my marriage that was going through a difficult season – and now I know from talking to older, wiser moms that these years with littles are by nature very taxing on any relationship, and to know that they will end, and we will make it to the other side.
Becoming vulnerable is an amazing gift. Not only can we connect, but we can release our own fears, insecurities, and doubts in the process… and gain wisdom, understanding, and love.
So stop putting on your ‘I’ve-got-it-all-together’ mask. Stop trying to be everything to everyone; just be YOU. The world needs what’s inside of YOU, not what you pretend to be. Not what you think you’re supposed to be.
Because just like “companion plants,” we grow better, when we grow alongside YOU.