Your Mind Is Like A Garden

Your Mind Is Like A Garden

A mind garden is all about weeding out the bad, and nurturing the good in your life.
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Around this time last year I was sitting with my therapist and he told me something that would change how I viewed myself and how I treat the world around me. He told me:

Your mind is like a garden. In this garden, there are flowers, trees, shrubs, any kind of plant you want or like, growing there. However, there are also weeds. The flowers and trees and other plants represent the positive aspects of your life. These could be people, experiences, jobs, whatever that is for you.

The weeds, are negative aspects of your life. These could also be people, experiences, jobs, or whatever that happens to be for you.

Now, it is up to you to take care of your garden. No one can do this for you. You ultimately have the power to choose how your garden is taken care of. If you choose to let the weeds take over and choke out all of the flowers and trees, then that is what will happen.

The same will happen to you in life.

Or you can choose to weed your garden. There is a catch, though, to weeding your garden. See, when you weed a garden, you do not just weed the garden and then sit back and relax and enjoy the view for the rest of your life. On the contrary, you have to continuously weed the garden. Otherwise, new weeds will continue to grow and devour your garden.

You can weed the garden as soon as you see weeds start to grow, which will still make for some work, and the weeds still might have hurt to pull out of your garden, but it will not hurt as much as waiting until that weed grows into a giant thistle, with roots so deep you cannot get them out.

Weeds might hurt to pull out of your garden too. Some have those thorns that poke, but pulling a weed might still be better than allowing it to choke out an entire flower.

However, it is up to you what you choose to get rid of and what you choose to keep in your garden. No one can make those decisions for you, although some people might come along and try to tell you what is a weed and what is a flower and what you should leave and what you should keep, but ultimately, only you can make that choice, and only you can pull that weed.

As we near the end of the year it may be a good time for some personal reflection and a look into our own mind gardens. We may find that our gardens are healthy and happy and thriving. Or, we may discover there are some weeds that need to be pulled.

Cover Image Credit: Anthony Tran

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A Love Letter To The Girl Who Cares Too Much About Everyone But Herself

You, the girl with a heart full of love and no place big enough to store it all.

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Our generation is so caught up in this notion that it's "cool" not to care about anything or anyone. I know you've tried to do just that.

I'm sure there was a brief moment where you genuinely believed you were capable of not caring, especially since you convinced everyone around you that you didn't. But that just isn't true, is it? Don't be ashamed of this, don't let anyone ridicule you for having emotions.

After everything life has put you through, you have still remained soft.

This is what makes you, you. This is what makes you beautiful. You care so deeply and love so boldly and it is incredible, never let the world take this from you.

Have Your Voice Heard: Become an Odyssey Creator

You are the girl who will give and give and give until you have absolutely nothing left. Some may see this as a weakness, an inconvenience, the perfect excuse to walk all over you. I know you try to make sense of it all, why someone you cared so much about would treat you the way they did.

You'll make excuses for them, rationalize it and turn it all around on yourself.

You'll tell yourself that maybe just maybe they will change even though you know deep down they won't. You gave them everything you had and it still feels as if they took it all and ran. When this happens, remind yourself that you are not a reflection of those who cannot love you. The way that people treat you does not define who you are. Tell yourself this every day, over and over until it sticks. Remind yourself that you are gold, darling, and sometimes they will prefer silver and that is OK.

I know you feel guilty when you have to say no to something, I know you feel like you are letting everyone you love down when you do. Listen to me, it is not your responsibility to tend to everyone else's feelings all the time. By all means, treat their feelings with care, but remember it is not the end of the world when you cannot help them right away.

Remember that it is OK to say no.

You don't have to take care of everyone else all the time. Sometimes it's OK to say no to lunch with your friends and just stay home in bed to watch Netflix when you need a minute for yourself. I know sometimes this is much easier said than done because you are worried about letting other people down, but please give it a try.

With all of this, please remember that you matter. Do not be afraid to take a step back and focus on yourself. You owe yourself the same kind of love and patience and kindness and everything that you have given everyone else. It is OK to think about and put yourself first. Do not feel guilty for taking care of yourself. You are so incredibly loved even when it doesn't feel like it, please always remember that. You cannot fill others up when your own cup is empty. Take care of yourself.

Cover Image Credit: Charcoal Alley

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Do Not Let Socially Constructed Symbols Define Who You Are

The only thing that can define us is us.

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It is completely insane to me how much of our self-worth we determine, based on external symbols.

Receiving a paper you wrote for class, back with the letter "F" on it, is no more than just a letter on a paper, but yet can be so detrimental to our confidence.

Stepping on a scale can give the same amount of anxiety if a number appears that we do not want to see, whether it be too small or too big of a number.

Why do we let these symbols control our lives? These letters and these numbers are nothing more to our spirit or soul, but just letters and numbers. They do not make us any less of who we are. These symbols do not define who we are.

When the end of the semester rolls in, we hear everybody sharing the GPA they ended with. You hear 2.9, 3.5, 4.0. Each person is their own number, their own perspective. Some will perceive themselves as not being adequate enough if their number is not as high as others they've heard.

When, in reality, a number does not define your intelligence.

Intelligence cannot be scaled with a letter or a number. There are a million and one other factors that play a role in such a system. Think of all the missed homework and classes an individual may have due to whatever reason that could drop their grade to failing. Nonetheless, they could have an IQ of 150 and just have the strive to participate or even be unable to participate due to personal reasons.

There are many possibilities and reasons that can hinder somebody's grade or score while in school, but it is truly not an accurate measurement of intelligence. We should not treat it like it is.

We should not be so conditioned to call ourselves dumb or stupid when receiving a low number score on a test. All it is is a number. If a professor gives you a 60% on a test or paper, it does not define you as a unique individual. It just means your professor had written a 60 on your paper.

The only thing that can define us is us. What makes us who we are is all in our spirit and soul. No outside forces or socially conditioned symbols can tell us if we are too dumb, fat, or skinny. It is almost an illusion; we are just seeing a number that we have been conditioned to believe that defines us a certain way.

In order to break this condition, we must change our perspective to see things as they really are. An "F" is an F, not the end of the world. It is a letter your teacher labeled your paper. It is not an indicator of your intelligence. Do not let such a tedious label depreciate your self-worth and identity.

Be true to yourself, and you will be defined as so.

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