Therapy: Tending to Your Emotional Garden

This weekend I spent the majority of my free time in my garden. I find gardening to be incredibly grounding and meditative, even though not all gardening tasks seem particularly enjoyable. I’m talking about weeding, of course.

After spending multiple hours pulling weeds, I began to realize that weeding is an awful lot like therapy. For example, the process itself is not necessarily something that we initially look forward to. In fact, the thought of weeding can be downright trepidatious, especially for beginner gardeners. And pulling weeds can be frustrating, time consuming, and sometimes even painful (anyone who has spent more than a few minutes bending over in a garden yanking out weeds knows exactly what I’m talking about).

Therapy too can be perceived as something that doesn’t seem pleasurable. Talking about our problems often brings up difficult, painful emotions, sometimes to the point of tears. And it may even seem easier to just ignore them and pretend that they’re not there, which brings temporary relief in the short run.

But any gardener will tell you that if you ignore the weeds, they continue to grow anyway, and at some point, they will take over your garden. The result is a great big mess.

Weeding doesn’t need to be approached as a chore; it is a necessary part of gardening, for sure, but it ultimately leads to fulfillment, gratification, and sustenance. Have you ever dug at a weed and pulled it up with a sense of accomplishment, relief, and satisfaction? There’s something gratifying about digging at the roots of something and dealing with it once and for all.

Without weeding, we can’t really enjoy the fruits of our labor – those delicious cucumbers and sweet tomatoes and spicy peppers. Likewise, we can’t truly thrive in our lives if we don’t proactively address the emotional and behavioral problems that prevent us from living our lives purposefully and with confidence and grace.

Don’t wait until your garden is overrun before confronting your emotional weeds. You’ll be glad you didn’t, come harvest time.