Monday, June 11, 2018

Good Relationships Need Good Soil

((Original post from June 2018 now with a new Oct. 2018 update at the bottom))

I've heard it said that relationships are like flowers.

Flowers need the right amount of sun and water in order to grow. Relationships similarly need love and attention in order to grow. But they also don't need too much sun or water. Otherwise, they wither and die.

I've seen troubled relationships transform into beautiful bonds when people simply pay more attention to each other and give one another the perfect amount of both space and care.

But what about the flowers that get the right amount of sun and water, and they still die?

What about those relationships in which we feel we've done everything right, but things still feel so wrong?

Perhaps it's just bad soil...

I've been living in my current house for the past 5 or so years, and I have had the worst time getting anything I plant to grow in the flowerbeds out back. Weeds grow, but I don't want weeds! I've tried planting all kinds of things I desire: hostas, zinnias, herbs of all kinds, even succulents. Nothing stays alive! I've had to plant things in separate planters with store-bought soil in order to grow anything. And it took me about 5 years to realize that it wasn't me -- I wasn't the one messing up. I wasn't the terrible gardener; I'd been doing everything right.

It was just bad soil.

And this realization also hit me. Relationships also need good soil in order for growth to happen. Sometimes, no matter what we do, certain relationships are just not going to work. It doesn't matter how much we love them or how much attention or space we give them. The flowers will always die. And it's not due to any fault of our own. Sometimes the other person simply doesn't have the fertile ground, or the foundation, for a healthy relationship to even take place. So what do you do?

You take all the wonderful things you have to offer another person, and you find better soil!


Update, Oct. 29, 2018:

Since I have published the original above post, a funny thing has happened.

I planted my Rosemary months and months ago, and I didn't see growth. I'd planted it in the same soil that I'd planted the other plants, which didn't seem to be able to grow; however, rather than pull it up like I'd done the obviously-dead plants, I decided to simply leave it alone.

Then, the unlikely occurred...

It started to grow.

I'd given up on it, and it actually started to grow.

Watching this surprising turn of events made me think of those rare but special relationships that we have with certain people that are different from the rest. Sometimes in the most intense relationships, we have to give them up for a while. We have to do the most difficult thing and Let Go.

There are many reasons for this. Sometimes the timing for a relationship isn't right. Sometimes we need to separate to create space to do some inner work and mature as people in order to be more compatible. Whatever the reason, letting go is the magic ingredient. It takes courage. Sometimes you even believe that it's hopeless, and you have to, so that you can move on and hit the "reset" button and get on with what you need to do in your life.

But that doesn't necessarily mean that relationship is truly over yet...



  1. I have the same experience Scarlett, and learned two more things (using your metaphor):
    It is hard to admit that you are planting on infertile soil.
    In most cases, even fertile soil becomes infertile over time.
    Good luck