We lost our peach tree. It was a beautiful tree with wonderful fruit that we enjoyed for almost 16 years. We realized too late that our tree was destroyed by parasites that burrowed into and fed off of the bark and roots of the tree. We thought we had nurtured our tree adequately, as we kept it pruned, sprayed, and fertilized. But we hadn’t been aggressive enough in cutting off dead limbs, which resulted in the entire tree being overtaken.
I have come to realize there are personal lessons to be taken from the loss of our beloved tree, as everyone is planted here on this earth to learn, blossom, and grow. I’ve compiled a list of things to watch for – parasites, if you will – that can fester and overtake our happiness if we aren’t watchful and vigilant:
- Negative Thoughts/Actions – dwelling on bad news, gossiping, focusing on the darker side of human nature, finding fault with everything
- Victim Energy – feeling picked on, always expecting the worst, manipulating others through guilt, always the martyr
- Holding Grudges – a refusal to forgive (this always starts with ourselves), not allowing someone to change, remembering only the flaws of another
- Anger/Bitterness/Resentment – self-explanatory.
Wow, this all feels so heavy. Which, happily, means we can put it all down. Let it all go. How? Let’s take each of the above one by one:
- Negative Thoughts/Actions: Take note of your negative thoughts without believing them, then consciously replace them with something helpful. Always ask: “Is it true? Helpful? Will it help me be my best self? Will it encourage others to thrive?” If not, get rid of it. Only entertain the thoughts that empower, build, and inspire.
- Victim Energy: This oftentimes takes much effort to overcome, but when you do, your whole life will change. It’s really just making the decision to take responsibility for the direction of your life, instead of being acted upon. You are in charge of your own happiness – no one else should be allowed that kind of power over you. You are only as happy as you decide to be, regardless of the circumstances.
- Holding Grudges: This really just takes too much energy, and it’s energy wasted. If you find yourself in this mindset, please realize it starts with self. Reflect on your life with forgiveness for all the times you didn’t live up to your own expectations. Learn the lessons from past mistakes with gratitude and move on. As you master this, you will notice that you will more naturally radiate that forgiveness to others. No one is perfect, and many times people are trying their best. Make it a point to see the goodness in yourself and others. Put the heaviness of blame down, and notice how instantly “light” and free you feel.
- Anger/Bitterness/Resentment: We all feel angry at times and that is normal. It’s when we hang onto that anger that it festers within us and makes a home there. The next time you feel mad, acknowledge what you feel and why – this validates what you are feeling. Then process the feeling by setting healthy boundaries for yourself while working toward a positive outcome. This will look different with each scenario you face, but always remember to aim for a good solution, while also visualizing the better person you will be on the other side of the conflict.
In the garden of life, I’m sure there are many other things that can eat away at our happiness and peace of mind. But if we will make the effort to weed out the above unnecessary parasites of human nature, we will allow ourselves to bloom in our unique splendor and brilliance. Learn the lessons from my peach tree – if something within you is destroying your well-being, take it out, discard it, replace it with something good and let yourself grow into your full stature.