Tree Theory

January 14, 2019 § Leave a comment

Growth is slow.

Not always, certainly; some things, some feelings, some people grow seemingly overnight.

Often, though, growth is frustratingly, annoyingly, painfully slow. So slow, it’s imperceptible—especially to yourself.

I’ve been trying to grow in … well, several ways, really, but in one way in particular, and I’ve been frustrated at how slowly it’s going. It’s been over a year of self-help books and therapy and talking with people who have dealt with or are dealing with issues similar to mine.

At times, I felt like I’ve made no growth at all and said as such. Fortunately, others told me they’ve seen growth, even if I didn’t.

This weekend, though, I didn’t have anyone to tell me that. Snowed in for two days, I had plenty of time to beat myself up for not “getting there” yet. For not evolving fast enough. For not being wired right.

It lingered still this morning, through my ablutions and chores and the drive to the office. But then, sitting at my desk, a thought hit me out of nowhere: Personal growth is like growing a tree.

Even the biggest, oldest, strongest tree in the forest started out as a seed. With the right soil and enough water and sunlight, the seed became a sapling and then a young tree and then a mighty oak.

You can fertilize it all you want, but you are never going to grow that oak overnight. It will grow at its own pace. It will sink its roots deep. It will rise toward the sky. Slowly. Imperceptibly.

I think I’m somewhere between seed and sapling right now. I’m the tiny green shoot just breaking free of the loam. Still closer to acorn than oak.

But I’m growing.

I have a practice of putting inspirational reminders on the lock screen of my phone. If I’m going to be addicted to that glowing bar of crack, at least I can use it to drill positive things into my head.

So I scribbled the thought down on a Post-It, and when my lunch break rolled around, I jumped on and created the image below.

For those of you who can’t see it, it’s a photo of an oak tree with text that says:

Be patient with your growth. The strongest oak grew from a humble acorn.

This blog post is another reminder to myself, to read the next time I feel like crap for not being as far along as I want to be. I hope it’s a reminder for you, too.

No matter what you want to achieve—creatively, professionally, personally—as long as you continue to do the work and feed and water and fertilize the seed, you’re getting there. The roots are spreading. The branches reach up for the sun.

You’re growing.

Image Credit: Text: meBe patient with your growth. The strongest oak grew from a humble acorn.






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