Relationships Are Gardens That Need Fertilizer to Grow: Why You Need to Give People a Chance by Samantha Harris
When I was in elementary school I did an experiment with plants. Each plant was grown under a different colored light. As a result, some plants grew differently than others. People are a bit like this. too. except, unlike plants, we interact with those grown differently every day. It may sometimes be hard for us to understand another's experience if it was very different from our own. That is why "trying" is so essential for our collective growth.
When you are in a relationship – whether it is romantic, friendship or business – you are essentially trying to blend your experience with another's. Trying then becomes this amazing act of love. It is so much easier to stick to what you know, find humans grown in similar environments, and avoid those grown differently. Trying is hard.
When you try you won't always get it right. In fact, more often than not, you may feel like you are always doing it wrong. That's OK. Just be patient. My plants all had to adjust to natural sunlight when the experiment was over. Being exposed to something different than what you're used to can be uncomfortable. There will be growing pains. There will be awkward transitions. There will be a lot of struggle over deciding how to blend environments.
A plant grown in the dark will wither if exposed to too much sunlight too quickly. A window plant will become sickly if it gets no sun. Thankfully, humans are much more adaptable than plants – but that doesn't mean they should live in environments that make them ill. Trying fails when only one is willing to. Trying must be a group action to be effective. If everyone is invested in the sustainability of this new blended environment, growth may be gradual, but all will eventually thrive.
Give people a chance. Don't write someone off just because their environment is different than yours. You could be denying yourself an opportunity to grow in unimaginable ways. However, also be aware that it isn't enough to try alone. Don't stay in an environment where you will never thrive just because someone else is unwilling to try and understand your needs. Genuinely trying is the fertilizer all relationships need to prosper and grow.
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