Spring and emotional growth

Spring has arrived. I notice too that “weeds” have appeared. I wonder, does this represent a part of one's self? Are there parts within a person who would like to root out and plant a more beautiful, more aesthetically pleasing bloom? Winter has passed; perhaps a moment has been lost where self exploration and fortuitous growth for one's self has been canopied or disguised by new growth. Perhaps it's a mixture of both.

I sense that weeds dominate other parts, particularly “pretty” flowers”. Weeds seem to re-appear again and again and I believe that we all have weeds in our emotional gardens yet some people cling on to these difficult parts of ourselves. I often hear “I don't like this part of myself”. I wonder, what does this person need to change their “weed” into a beautiful bloom?

Carl Rogers, a very wise man, created the person centred approach to address this very existential dilemma. He didn't believe that the past impacted on the here and now. He believed and created the person centred approach on three main core conditions to enable growth. These are empathy, congruency and unconditional positive regard. 

As children, we need all these ingredients of being heard, understood, empathised with. We need someone to be able to walk in our footsteps and not judge us, nor bring their own agenda to our garden. What we don't need is sympathy. It usually starts with “At least” and then you know you are being sympathised. Empathy is different: another person might say “It sure feels dark down here and I am here with you”.

Everyone has the capacity to grow and change. It takes courage and when you have been repeatedly told that there's something wrong with you, a feeling of being disabled emerges. Perhaps the “weed” part of you was planted when you were young and year after year, the feeling of not being good enough, not measuring up, not making parents and grandparents proud continues to impact your emotional and physical well being. Physically, our bodies can experience headaches, nightmares, anxiety – the list could be very long or even, very short.

Another metaphor, is that we all have “shops”. We present our shop front to the people in our world, some we have known for years or embarking on a new relationship with. We like to show people our best – we are selling and hoping they don't find out what is in the back room of our “shop”. The back part of our shop is usually weeds – experiences that make us feel uncomfortable, shamed, angry, bad and within our culture, the “stiff upper lip” is the norm. I disagree. People are fragile, vulnerable and with spring here now, perhaps this is the time to choose a different way where “weeds” are nurtured, heard and changed into a more empowering, joyful way of being.

To be heard, validated and emotionally held is extremely reparative. 

Everyone has the ability to change and yes, it takes courage and motivation. What are your “weeds” and what does your back of shop front feel like, for you? Would you like to change your garden? You can you know and spring, a season of much change, is here now.

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Banbury, South Northamptonshire, OX17

Written by Sarah Dean

Banbury, South Northamptonshire, OX17

I'm a qualified and registered member of the BACP and trained in London. An integrative counsellor, my practise is based on Person Centred and Psychodynamic theories.

I aim to enable Adults and Young People (13+) to achieve empowerment and work creatively with you on an open ended basis.

Specialisms include anxiety, bereavement and esteem.

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