As I was gathering material for this new blog site, I revisited an old blog I started 5 years ago. I wish I could have told my younger self not to worry so much and that it would all work out for the best. But then again, I needed to experience those lows to be able to fully appreciate where I’m at now. I needed to surround myself with people who would appreciate me and lift me up rather than undermine me and tear me down. While this site is dedicated toward helping others and advocacy, I started blogging five years ago to make sense of my life and the twists and turns it had taken. I wanted to form meaningful connections with others who struggled in similar ways. I longed to be authentic, but I worried people wouldn’t accept me. So I tried hard to be a person I was not and I felt even worse. You can find my old blog here: https://hidinginthespotlight.wordpress.com/
Now I am content with a smaller circle of friends and I put my time and energy into people who matter–people who will be there when the road is rough, people who aren’t just there when it’s convenient or they want something, people who I can be myself around.
When I was growing up, I remember my mom telling me I would be lucky to find just one true friend in life. At the time, I thought that was absurd and I figured she just wasn’t that popular or outgoing when she was my age. Besides, I had tons of friends. However, as I grew older, I learned the wisdom behind her words. I’m much happier being lifted up my a few loyal friends than surrounded by a group of people who will only end up bringing me down at a time when I need them most. Been there, done that. I respect myself too much now and I have come too far to play games and waste energy. After all, I only have so much energy these days and I need to invest it wisely. Lesson learned, mom.
I found the following tree analogy online, though I’m not sure who originated the idea of the “tree test.” Regardless, it resonates with me and I love it. Here it is:
WHAT KIND OF PERSON ARE YOU?
I have this tree analogy when I think of people in my life, be it friends, family, acquaintances, employees, co-workers, whomever…They are all placed inside what I call my tree test. It goes like this:
Some people come into your life and they are like leaves on a tree. They are only there for a season. You can’t depend on them or count on them because they are weak and only there to give you shade. Like leaves, they are there to take what they need and as soon as it gets cold or a wind blows in your life they are gone. You can’t be angry at them, it’s just who they are.
There are some people who come into your life and they are like branches on a tree. They are stronger than leaves, but you have to be careful with them. They will stick around through most seasons, but if you go through a storm or two in your life it’s possible that you could lose them. Most times they break away when it’s tough. Although they are stronger than leaves, you have to test them out before you run out there and put all your weight on them. In most cases they can’t handle too much weight. But again, you can’t be mad with them, it’s just who they are.
If you can find some people in your life who are like the roots of a tree then you have found something special. Like the roots of a tree, they are hard to find because they are not trying to be seen. Their only job is to hold you up and help you live a strong and healthy life. If you thrive, they are happy. They stay low key and don’t let the world know that they are there. And if you go through an awful storm they will hold you up. Their job is to hold you up, come what may, and to nourish you, feed you and water you.
Just as a tree has many limbs and many leaves, there are few roots. Look at your own life. How many leaves, branches and roots do you have? What are you in other people’s lives?
Hold On To Your Roots. Be the Root for Someone Else.