I read a parable today about a woman who constantly killed her plants. No matter what she did, they would die. She decided to try a final time and she took extra care and diligence with watering and making sure the plants received proper light. The plants still began to yellow and wither. In a seemingly unrelated event, a water line broke near where she kept the plants. While that was being fixed, the plumber saw that somehow the line had been attached directly to a water softener; she had been watering the plants with straight salt water. The point is this: you can do everything right, but if the environment or the nutrients are toxic, nothing will survive.
I’ve found myself playing this game of trying on different faces nearly every day, specifically at work. I felt so angry and helpless at the way I was being treated that I felt like I had to adopt a different persona to be accepted. No matter how much work I did, it was never enough or it was treated as superfluous, completely unnecessary. Nothing I did was “right” by anyone’s definition and there was no clarification on what direction to take but it was still my fault for not knowing. And it hit me after reading the parable: this is how it is and this is how it will be. I can’t change how they behave toward me. I can’t make them see what I do. This environment will always be sick and I will never get what I need out of it.
When we see and accept that there are some things that have nothing to do with us, it is easier to see the course of action. It’s easier to feel what we have to do. It’s easier to understand that how people perceive us is a mark of their experience and not of who we are. We can’t allow their definition of us to define who we actually are. we are interpreting their interpretation of us and making it into something that doesn’t exist. When we feel like no matter what we do things are just failing, when we feel like everything around us is eating away at who we are, it is time to evaluate what is actually going on.
Chances are, it’s time to move environments. It’s time to check the connections to make sure we are getting all that we need and that we are connected to the right source. That action alone will clarify what works for us and what doesn’t. That makes the goal clearer. The goal is to thrive and to get to the place, both physically and mentally that allows for that thriving. We are meant to grow and develop in order to thrive and carry our messages forward. Find the place that allows for you to be you and allows you to serve as you are meant to, with the innate talents and gifts you have. Thrive, don’t just survive.