Writer's Journal

Growth – Valuable lessons I learnt from my plants

Featured Image - Growth Lessons from Plants

I live in a reasonably big apartment with a balcony which gets plenty of sunshine and fresh air all year round. So naturally, I got many potted plants for the said balcony. They have been with me for a few months now and every day while watering them I see them grow. Over time, I am learning new things about growth.

Growth takes time

No matter how many times I water my plants or how perfectly I visualise or pray or do anything to increase the speed of growth, the plants will take their own sweet time to grow.

Growth needs patience

Sometimes while we are busy watching the slow growth of leaves, the plant is busy in strengthening its roots. And then when the time is right, the plant will suddenly show the growth above ground as well.

Same goes for us. Any kind of growth we want in our lives, we need time and patience. It takes years and decades to learn and hone a new skill. Then it might take even more time to get the right kind of opportunity.

Whatever we want – wealth, fame, peace, health; we need to be very patient and remember that nothing grows overnight.

Requirements for Growth

I have a plant whose flower closes at night and would only open in the morning when it gets direct sun rays. Every morning it’s fun to watch the flower opening gently.

There are some basic things a plant needs – sunshine, water, food and a loving and safe environment to grow to its full potential. In that respect plants and humans are not that different. We too need the same things for our healthy growth.

Now there are a lot of exceptions. Some plants get everything and yet they don’t grow and then some plants thrive in the harshest of terrains. We need to accept the exceptions but at the same time, we need to remember to water the plants.

For our growth, we too need a healthy body and mind. Sunshine, water, food and a safe environment are the basic requirements for that. We may see some people grow even in the lack of it and others might not grow even when they have all that.

But on the days when I am struggling to finish even basic tasks, I ask myself if I had had enough water or if I am dehydrated. I eat if I am too hungry. If possible I try to get some sunshine. This basic checklist helps me the most when I am struggling with depression and anxiety.

Plants won’t die immediately for the lack of water or sunshine. But they will definitely start wilting and drooping. Once they get sunshine and water again, they will quickly revive.

Similarly, we will start seeing the effects of dehydration very quickly. The symptoms may be physical or psychological. Unless we address the immediate symptoms, nothing else we do will help in our growth.

Some requirements need to be prioritised.

Different requirements

I am a newbie gardener. Thus, I don’t know a lot about plants and their requirements. So when I first got my plants I would just water all of them in the exact same manner.

Quickly I realised that one of my plants (Jade) was turning black. Being a concerned plant parent, I started watering it twice a day thinking it’s the bright summer sun that’s killing my plant baby.

I was fortunate that a professional gardener was soon available and I could consult him regarding my sick plant. I thought he would give me some miracle cure, some special formula which will revive my plant.

Instead, he took one look at my plant and told me that I was overwatering it and I need to stop. I was stumped. He then looked at all my other plants and told me the correct way to water each of them.

It surprised me to know that every plant had a different requirement. They all shared the same environment. But because of the difference in their inherent nature, their requirements vary.

Similarly, we all are different and have different requirements. So, while waking up at 5 might work for some, others will have a more productive day by waking up at 10.

We may be in the same environment as the same school/college/office. But still, we will have our own different set of requirements. Someone might be a visual learner. Someone else may be more productive while working alone. How we learn, how we work. DO we prefer working in groups or working alone? DO we need detailed instructions or DO we need autonomy? Everyone had different needs. Everyone will grow better with different inputs.

We need to identify what nurtures us.

External Inputs

I was not aware of the right ways to help my plants grow. In the above scenario if I hadn’t asked the professional gardener then I would have killed my plant baby.

I needed additional information. I could have found it on my own via an extensive online search or through an expert in the field like I did.

But the fact remains the same that I did not have the required knowledge and I needed help. For our personal growth as well we need to acknowledge when we need external help. We can ask an expert or try to learn ourselves. But remembering that sometimes we all need help in figuring out what to do next is important.

No one can grow in a silo.

Growth means different things for everyone

I have plants that grow and become very leafy. Some get covered in beautiful flowers. Some grow tall while some grow horizontally. I can not compare the growth of one plant with the other. They all are different and will continue to grow differently.

Similarly, we all are different from each other. We all will grow differently. Some will make a lot of money while some will get a lot of fame. We should not compare our growth with others. We don’t know their growth stories and what struggles they face.

I am a thirty something introvert living in a small town somewhere in India with my husband. My love for reading has evolved into a love for writing. In this digital space you will find a glimpse of an overthinking mind in the form of stories and articles.

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