For my first attempt at growing vegetables I planted carrots. Watching my son race around the garden with his friends and then stop, pull a carrot out of the ground, wipe it on his trousers and eat it remains a fond and abiding memory.
It was a delight to watch him share the carrots with his mates, but we never got to eat any; they polished them off before any carrot ever got a chance to get to the table! Being new to growing veg, I had no idea how many to sow, what the long term needs of the family would be - or even how the whole system worked!
This is a problem that also surfaces in relationships. When there is little understanding of the process and purpose of relationship, the focus tends to be on making sure immediate needs are met. If there is no commitment and dedication to planting the seeds of respect, true communication and forgiveness (which would sustain everyone) the result is a kind of emotional starvation that will eventually lead to relationship famine. The relationship becomes incapable of feeding anyone.
Guidelines for long-term, sustainable and fruitful relationships:
- Communicate openly and honestly. Putting up with situations in order to avoid conflict creates drought like conditions. A willingness to discuss difficult subjects shows a commitment to the health of the relationship. Sometimes a dying plant only needs water to revive it. You may have to dig deep to find the water and if you fear conflict, coaching can help you with improved communication skills.
- Develop your emotional vocabulary. Our emotions are the nutrients that allow us to blossom, grow and be productive. Clients often ask me for a written list of feelings so they can find one to describe what is going on for them. Being able to identify, experience and express feelings is vital not just for your long-term health but for the growth of the relationship,
- Open your heart, whatever it takes. Every plant needs sunshine to grow and an open heart allows the light to shine. A closed heart kills the spirit, shrinks vitality and shuts down the life-force.
- Put yourself in the centre of your life. Self-development creates a fertile environment for creativity and inspiration. It not only improves your quality of life, it feeds your relationship too.