The other day I saw a video that compared relationships to the leaves, branches, and roots of a tree. It made so much sense that I thought it would be a great way to remind us all that relationships need pruning too.
In gardening, pruning helps plants blossom and grow. Depending on the greenery, some need pruning in the Fall, some in the Spring, others year round. Tyler Perry’s video (as Madea) reminded me that everything in life operates on a cycle, even our relationships. Some you nurture for life, others you let go as they leave or the seasons change. Especially if, as he says, you’ve done everything you can do and “…they still wanna go…, let dem go.” (Click image to hear for yourself.)
Trust me, I know how hard that is when love’s involved, been there done that. It’s never a fun experience when we mistake leaves or branches, for the real thing. But when you find those roots, man do they help make life that much easier thanks to their unconditional love and support.
Unfortunately, as Tyler noted, most of the people that come into our lives are leaves. And leaves will do what they were put on this earth to do. They will gladly take what they need and move on when the seasons change. In my life I’ve learned to identify and label these leaves as acquaintances. They’re the people you tend to see and hang out with when you’re out and about in group settings, but never one on one. Branches on the other hand, are labeled as friends because they tend to be a little more sturdy. They’re the ones who make the cut for house parties and for occasional one on one time, but not quite the go to confidants because you know they too may break off in a strong wind or storm. Roots however, are your BFFs, your life partners. They’re the less than handful of people in your life that you share everything with and that share everything with you. They encourage you, and allow you to be you, without trying to control you or requiring certain conditions be met before they offer you their full support.
Don’t get me wrong, acquaintances, friends, lovers, boyfriends/girlfriends, etc. all play a vital role in our life. They allow us to learn and grow through experiences shared. And regardless of the outcome, we need to be grateful for their roles in our lives. However, to keep a forward progression in life, for ourselves and for those who we allow in, we have to learn when to prune negative, toxic, draining relationships out of our lives. The trick of course is to be able to differentiate the energy sucking leaves and branches, from the true, positivity filled roots in both our personal and professional lives.
One thing that’s helped me in sticking with who or what I’m passionate about, is to flag and get rid of any “have to’s” and/or “should’s” that pop up in life. Like “I have to workout”, or “I’m exhausted, but I should workout.” When I attached “have to” or “should” to my workouts in the past, I never looked at them joyfully because they felt like a chore, vs. a choice I was happy to make. Once I embraced it as a rewarding choice to make for my mind, body, and soul, workouts became an important investment in myself. That’s the same feeling you should get from the relationships you want to continue to foster. There has to be a nice balance of give and take.
And as Tyler noted, it only gets easier when we learn to love ourselves. When we learn to be comfortable in our own skin, we begin to tap into our self worth and confidence, which opens the door for us to take a stand on our requirements. Our requirements are those things that we want everyone that crosses our path to meet and respect, like our space, boundaries, etc. It’s a journey for sure, but one that I definitely recommend because it’s what brings us back to our true selves. Our true self knows that we are worthy of the best, including those we surround ourselves with.
How do you decide when your relationships need pruning?