Let’s Get in the Weeds

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Recently, after an evening walk with Quinn, we approached our front yard. I noticed a couple of stray green shoots and proceeded to investigate. The discovery? Weeds.

This was especially disappointing because my husband had spent much of the previous weekend laying down special fabric and layering bark dust over it, with the sole intention to prevent the very phenomenon that I was now seeing.

As I surveyed the weeds and considered how insidious they are, I was struck by what a great metaphor they provide for trouble spots in our own lives.

  1. They show up when and where you don’t want them. You can be going along, living life, when all of a sudden, a weed appears. Basically, the year 2020 so far seems like a bit of a weed. Things seemed to be going pretty well and then, whammo; if felt like a sudden pit of quicksand, where all areas of our lives became wildly uncertain creating conditions for weeds to run rampant.
  2. They show up when (and where) you think you have eradicated them. We tend to think once we have some victory over a particular behavior, we have some kind of immunity to ever dealing with that again. For instance, maybe you haven’t felt insecure in a long time but let the right combination of things happen in your life and all of a sudden, grownup you is back in 8th grade, uncertain if anyone actually wants to sit with you in the cafeteria at lunch.
  3. They will continue to grow, if left in place. Although it’s nice to think that something left alone will go away, it’s highly unlikely. Take for example, the employee who starts coming in late. The manager says nothing, thinking the employee will realize the error of their ways and, being so grateful for their job, will self-correct and get to work on time with no discussion needed. Now to be fair, this could indeed happen, but in our experience, it is pretty rare. Not dealing with the situation implies consent on the part of the manager and sets everyone up for a big ol’ can of worms later, so not doing anything now is simply not gonna cut it.

It’s not like we can go get a can of ‘life herbicide’ to fix these areas of concern, so what can be done about these “weeds?”

  1. Recognize that we all have them. A pervasive joke when someone reveals they have a problem is “admitting it is the first step…” It’s (often) funny because it’s (almost always) true. Our faulty thinking is revealed when we believe someone else’s situation is stinkweeds, while ours are merely a few innocuous dandelions. Make no mistake, friends, a weed is a weed.
  2. Make your environment hostile to their growth. Although a few little fellows bullied their way through, overall the special fabric and bark dust did a great job reducing their appearance in my lawn. In your own life, determine what habits/beliefs/behaviors you have that allows the problematic behavior to return, time and again. These will have to be altered for lasting change to occur.
  3. Take care of them the moment you realize they are there. The longer weeds (and problematic behavior) are allowed to live, the deeper their roots become. You must pluck them out at the first sighting.
  4. It’s likely you will need some help. Yard work (especially weed pulling) is miserable when it’s solitary. But get a friend, put on some music and all of a sudden, it’s a garden party! Okay, this is almost certainly stretching the idea a bit, but it can be lonely trying to do hard work, alone. Get people you trust to help and your chances of success improve greatly. Added bonus? You will have some built in “accountabili-buddies.”

In conclusion, a well-maintained yard is lovely, but it’s no small commitment. Similarly, a life of self-discipline and growth is amazing, but it requires hard work and vigilance. Giving your effort to literal weeds produces a season your neighbors might envy, but when you take care of the metaphorical ones? Well, those results are truly evergreen.