When a flower doesn’t bloom, we don’t blame the flower.
Instead, we look to the soil, the sun, the water – all the things the flower needs to bloom. If these aren’t in place, we know blooming won’t happen. And when the flower is well supported with an environment to thrive in, it likely will.
And so will we.
We spend so much energy focused on how to improve ourselves. While my life and career are based on self-improvement, it’s a fine line between self-loathing and self-help.
And yes, all the self-help marketing is based on our self-loathing. We want to be skinnier, wealthier, more loved, because we’re unhappy with where we are at.
Self improvement is a life-long journey that will have it’s ebbs and flows like all parts of the human experience.
Before we step into finding all the things about ourselves that we need to better, let’s take a look at our environs. Do the major energetic environments of your life support your thriving?
Take a look at your personal ecological system – relationships, routine, home, work. I’m sure there are factors in each that are supportive of your growth and wellbeing. But, I’m sure you can find some factors that don’t.
My son was placed in an accelerated first grade program, and his teacher expressed her concern early in the school year. She felt he was unable to keep up with the class. Yet, he continued to come home and tell me what he learned, was able to apply what she taught, and performed well on tests. We didn’t have any reason to suspect he couldn’t keep up intellectually. He loved the teacher, and he loved his classmates, but he wasn’t thriving. He struggled to keep his attention on the incessant worksheets. He bored with regurgitation. He fidgeted with his hands all day, and started being really stressed out about being a few minutes late, or not having a water bottle.
I got a tutor. His therapist did neurobiofeedback. We started focus and stress herbs. Teacher noted some improvement, and then not. Her suggestion was to move him into the regular first grade. While that may have been a slower paced class, I was clear that didn’t seem to address the real issue: the environment was not a fit for him and how he likes to learn.
We found a school that put less emphasis on homework, and more emphasis on hands on learning. He gets to engage in what he loves all day, which is problem solving and play. He’s thriving! He’s singing all the time, and not stressed about school.
Had we approached things as the school system standard, he would have been labeled ADHD, and put in a class below his academic level. In other words, we would have been blaming the flower.
Once we changed his learning environment, we mostly hear from his teacher about how brilliant he is.
I’ll still continue to give him tools to focus and de-stress like herbs, yoga, routine. The vata in his little brain could stand to go down a few notches. But the tools would have been ineffective without the change in environment. It would be like using fertilizer on a plant that has insufficient sun and water.
This is why I now focus on shifting my environment BEFORE I pick up tools to fertilize myself.
If I’m giving so much to work that I’m too tired to work out regularly, a new workout regimen is not going to solve that. I have to address the overworking to really thrive in my activity.
Oftentimes, the bigger factors that keep us from thriving are intimidating to shift, long term patterns. That’s okay. I’ve made huge shifts starting with baby steps and you can too.
Journal about what would allow you to thrive in your goals. This is a great place to start. Visioning the environment that would allow my son to thrive was how I found his new school. Visualizing my healthy ‘environment’ helped me realize I needed to work less to reclaim ‘bandwidth’ for exercise.
Let’s keep choosing lives that support our thriving.