Talking to my Plants!
As I listened to myself talk to my plants...I noted the ways I talked to them. I was alternately grateful, affirming, or encouraging. And that feels about right. And I think that's the way we should talk to each other as well.
What else could we need?
We need to be grateful to each other for the gifts and kindnesses that others bring into our lives, whether they be strangers or friends. Gratitude brings joy for the recipient and the giver, and helps to bring perspective to all things in life. Feeling down? Think about your blessings. It can really make a difference. But you have to be vocal about your gratitude for it to make a difference to others. Thankful for something or someone? Be sure to tell them. Or write a note! I've had such a lovely time this Lenten season writing notes of gratitude to people in my life. And many of them have written notes back to me. What a joy.
We need to be affirming, because people shine when they feel good about themselves. As a teacher, I have experienced this many, many times. Being critical can sometimes shut down a talented student, but being encouraging, and focusing on what is right instead of what is wrong, can make all the difference. Think about your own schooling experience. The time that the teacher called you out for something positive, is a memory that you still remember with fondness. Conversely, the time that the teacher publicly made you feel inadequate, or criticized you for being bad or wrong, those moments can be permanently damaging. I'll never forget the time when Mr. Smith, my high school math teacher, was handing back Algebra tests, and commented to the class that my test was really a "kick in the stern" because I had done poorly on the exam. Ouch. You can tell that it scarred me. And I was never good in Algebra, or had any confidence in math after that.
We need to be encouraging. Encouragement is the opposite end of affirmation. Everyone has goals, things to be achieved, things to improve upon. And it does no good to nag, or to criticize. It's much better to just give a positive nudge, making it clear that everything can be in reach, if one uses her full potential. Remember again the teacher that told you that you had a talent for drawing, or writing. It made you want to be an artist or a writer. I could see my daughters light up when a teacher encouraged one of their talents. Sometimes one little bit of encouragement even leads to successful careers. Encouragement makes others feel empowered, and allows them to become their best selves.
Lastly, I'm not going to even engage in the question of whether or not it is empirically beneficial to talk to your plants. I enjoy it. And I'm going to believe they do too. That's all I need to know. I'm going to continue to show gratitude, provide affirmation, and encourage them all season.
And you just wait and see my summer garden.