There’s Nothing Garden-Variety About You!
In Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion stories “all the women are strong, all the men are good looking and all the children are above average.” However, if there were an “average,” this means that some people must be below it, some in the middle, and finally some lucky people get to be above it. It obscures the fact that all of us stand out in some ways and all of us are just like everybody else, too. Our unique combination of features makes us who we are: individual and exceptional as well as alike.
The key is realizing that one of the most amazing things we all have in common is that we are each special in our own way. And this is a very good thing. It’s not only OK to be ourselves, but it is actually preferable. We know that in nature diversity equals health. The greater the variety of plants in a garden, field, or forest, the healthier that environmental system. The same is true for us human beings (and how often do we overlook that we are part of the natural world too?!).
With this in mind, read on for some tips on how to cultivate and honor your unique place in the human ecosystem:
Be proud to be who you are. In a garden, a tomato seed grows into a tomato plant. It doesn’t spend time yearning to be a zucchini or a pumpkin. Take a look at how you have developed and celebrate the successes you’ve had and the hurdles you’ve overcome thus far. No one has done it just like you!
Let fun, not fear, guide you. Unlike in the forest where plants and trees seek what nourishes them – sunshine, water, etc. – too many of us think that pleasure can wait and we deny ourselves what would feed our souls. Yet if we enjoy what we do, we are likely to deepen our skills and better contribute to the wellbeing of all.
Embrace difference. Peppers and eggplant need full sun, however spinach, chard and arugula can thrive even in shade. Rather than struggling to flourish in a space that doesn’t sustain you, acknowledge your needs and strike out for greener pastures. Think what you could do if your environment were supporting instead of hindering your growth!
Self-Discovery Tool Number 70
Every leaf and every petal is unique and so are you. Build on those things that make you, you. Offer your special gifts to the world and encourage others to do the same – our differences are our strength – our collective health depends on it!