This year has been all over the place for me, especially when it comes to my health. There’s one thing though that really struck a chord with me: the question if you are the flower or the gardener in the relationships of your life. Have you heard about that?
I recently watched a tv show (A Million Little Things, if you must know), where someone pointed out that in order to distress and function properly, you need to slow down and let yourself be the flower. Being the curious person that I am, I needed to know more, so I asked my therapist about that theory. She confirmed and explained further…
The Flower or The Gardener?
Turns out, in every type of relationship – with your partner, best friend, siblings, parents, coworker, etc. – you are either the gardener or the flower. Meaning that you are either the gardener – the person taking care of the other person so they can flourish and grow, or the flower – the one who is being taken care of by someone else in order to bloom. Ideally, it’s a balance between giving and taking so you get to be both equally and you’re able to have a nurturing and healthy relationship. Sounds quite perfect, doesn’t it? Reality paints a different picture though and many of us are stuck being one of both since childhood. What now?
When that sunk in, it dawned on me that I am a textbook gardener. The truth is, from very early on I always had to make sure everyone around me is doing well. I was two steps ahead to know someone else’s mood, to please them, and balance out whatever wasn’t working for them. Never catching a break, never getting the chance to be cared for.
I have been the gardener in every significant relationship in my life and always have been in the past. This year especially, I can feel the aftermath of constantly being the caretaker and never really being taken care of and therefore never getting to truly rest and recharge.
Changing or resetting your initial type will not be happening from one day to another but it is doable. Start with your partner or look at your dating life in general. Do you always go for the guy that still needs someone to baby him? Or do you pick a partner by how much they would pamper you? Both are not inherently wrong, but striving for balance can’t be a mistake. Trial and error, I guess.
To be fair, I didn’t make it easy for others in the past to see the flower in me they want to nurture, which is also why learning about the flower or the gardener has been such a powerful lesson to me in letting go and releasing any reservations of feeling like a burden to my loved ones.
It feels like crawling out of my own skin, but I guess it’s called growth, and isn’t that what a budding flower is all about?!
(Image via Beeslikehoney)