Respecting the Thorns
I recently heard this proverb, and it stuck with me. It was on a silly television show that I was watching out of the corner of my eye while I worked, and it stuck with me. It stuck with me through workouts and family dinners and laundry. It's stuck with me.
I realize that this is the advice I would have liked to have received, and it's the advice I would like to pass on to my children and anyone else who needs to hear it: He who wants a rose must respect the thorns.
So what does it mean to me? It means that anything in life worth having is going to require work. Anything you want, you are going to have to respect the journey to get there. Anything you are seeking, you are going to have to respect the struggle to achieve it. Anything worth having is worth more because of the sacrifices and hardships you must endure to keep it.
There is not a single aspect of life to which this doesn't apply. In our health, we must respect that we need to exercise. We must respect that we need to sacrifice the easy way for the one worth treading. We must respect the failures, because we only learn from them. We must respect our stumbling blocks, our wrong turns, our mistakes. We must respect the changes we have to make to our course in order to keep on going.
This goes hand in hand with an article I read recently on the power of negative thinking. You read that right, negative! In short, the theory suggests that envisioning all your successes already achieved can cause you to not achieve it in actuality. In turn, envisioning all the possible problems and pitfalls can actually help you come up with a more realistic view of the situation and a strategy in order to actually be successful.
On the healthy eating front, you cannot just imagine yourself thin and just being happy with that. You have to also consider what will happen if you make the wrong decisions along the way, and then how to make the right ones. You have to envision a future path that includes obstacles in order to be better prepared even for the ones you never saw coming. And you have to respect them when they do.
In life, in your family and relationships, the same is necessary. If you want the rose of the relationship with your parents, children, friends, spouse, you have to respect the downsides of that relationship too. Having a clear and realistic picture of the people in your life and their own "thorns" will actually give you a deeper respect of them and your interactions. People have thorns, and that's OK.
Our goal is not to exist in a world without obstacles, in relationships with people without difficult moments, as ourselves without thorns. These things give the world around us depth and definition. Our choices and our journeys would be hollow without them.
When I think about how this relates to my business, I could write a whole other post. I had to go through a lot in order to finally embrace being an artist. I fought the stigma, the ideology, the criticism and changes it threatened in some of my relationship. It has truly taken me until this very year to fully commit, wholeheartedly. Sure, I've been working as a professional artist for over 10 years, but I didn't throw everything into the same basket. I made sure to cover my other options, just in case. I was cheating myself by not giving it my all, and at the same time I wasn't respecting the thorns. This is something that, if I want it, I'm going to have to deal with all the aspects that come with it - including the possibility that I could dedicate my entire life to this and never make a true success out of it, as defined in more popular terms (i.e. money, fame, recognition, etc.)
Art is very likely one of my own personal thorns. It's a positive thing, to be sure, but it has caused a great deal of strife for me in my life as well. But that's OK. Even if others cannot respect this thorn of mine, in the end all that matters is that I can.
And that, right there, is the answer to everything. I'm going to be spending time figuring out more of my own personal thorns, and making the time to give them the respect and thought that they deserve. I also imagine that people will think I'm even crazier than usual when something happens and I wander off shaking my head and mumbling "It's OK. This is just another thorn..."
And so, I'll repeat myself, to myself, as many times as I need to hear it: "Anything in life worth having is going to require work. Anything you want, you are going to have to respect the journey to get there. Anything you are seeking, you are going to have to respect the struggle to achieve it. Anything worth having is worth more because of the sacrifices and hardships you must endure to keep it."
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Image Credit: cbamber85