Sometimes when we reflect on how we could best be living our lives, many people turn to nature as a guide. A common metaphor that comes up is that of the garden, and how we can view ourselves as gardens when it comes to growth and self-development. We must water, fertilize, and feed our strengths like plants in the garden, and we must also be careful to weed out our weaknesses. I've found this to be a common view point on self-development, and have lately grown tired of this viewpoint.
It's ironic that the premise here often lies in turning to nature, when a garden is a completely human-centric view of nature. We look at the plants as being good because they serve us, and the weeds as bad because they get in the way of the plants we want to grow. This viewpoint encourages us to look at self-development as a struggle. It takes a lot of work to upkeep a garden. It's hard work keeping the weeds or our weaknesses at bay so that the plants - our strengths - can grow.
But what if we flipped this metaphor around? What if we put aside our human judgements of the garden and decided to look at our strengths as the weeds, and the plants as our weaknesses? What if we just let the strengths grow and overtake our weaknesses instead. Doesn't that sound so much easier? Can't we view this way of ease as closer to the way of nature? Weeds are plants that grow with much ease, without much effort or attention. It is simply the way they are.
I find that very often highly sensitive people tend to be extremely aware of their weaknesses. They often don't respond well to "tough love" and/or criticism - mostly because pointing out an HSP's weaknesses never provides any new or useful information. As HSPs, we already KNOW every minute detail of our weaknesses. And we are often very hard on ourselves to begin with. Weeding out our weaknesses usually doesn't help, the more we weed, the more the weeds grow back.
This is why when I interact with people I tend to focus on their strengths. This might be viewed negatively - as if I'm too nice or easy on people. But I like to think of our strengths as weeds that can easily overgrow our weaknesses if we simply realize that weeds are really kickass plants that we might want to be more like. Once we turn this metaphor around we can begin to simply let ourselves grow (like weeds!).
So for example, I love writing. I've been told I'm a pretty good speaker too... but I don't love speaking as much as I LOVE writing. For a long time I saw this as a weakness. I felt that maybe I should focus more on improving on my speaking skills and becoming more comfortable with speaking. I felt like I had to speak in order to "put myself out there." Or, even with interactions with friends, I felt like speaking face-to-face was superior to writing to my friends.
I feel that writing is how I truly express myself in the highest and best way. And then I decided to just focus on my writing and really take ownership of myself as a writer. Does this mean that I never speak face-to-face? No, of course not. It just means the focus is elsewhere. I don't worry about improving upon my speaking, and simply put most of my energy into writing. Ironically, this approach actually makes my speaking better because I no longer care so much about it and can speak without as much inner judgement or pressure.
Do you have "weaknesses" in your life that you keep treating like weeds that you should get rid of? Are your strengths getting the attention they deserve? What if you flipped the metaphor and allowed your strengths to grow like weeds?
I hope you'll give this a try and let me know how it goes! Feel free to message me below :)
Until next time - be a dandelion! (I know you thought it was a pretty flower before someone convinced you it was a weed...)