A Lesson In Self-Compassion From Mother Nature…

Dietitian Calgary Diet Kate Chury

This is somewhat of a different post than I'm use to sharing. Below is a picture of a passion fruit vine and flowers. Aren't they pretty? This passion fruit plant was one that I grew while living in Paraguay. 


A Paraguayan friend of mine convinced me to put a passion fruit plant in my garden. Actually, he convinced me to put a lattice up on the brick wall that surrounded our property (the barbed wires in the picture lined the top of the brick wall/fence). The idea was to create a "living wall" in which I would gently weave the vine through the lattice, creating a green leafy wall (accented with these beautiful flowers and fruit, of course). Sounds pretty awesome, doesn't it?

So for about a year I patiently wove the vine through the lattice. Each time I noticed the vines growing up towards the barbed wire, I would carefully untangle them and weave them creating my green, living wall. To my dismay, after a year my passion fruit plant did not produce flowers or fruit. The wall was green and leafy. It looked nice but the plant just wasn't blossoming. 

After the first year, I gave up with the untangling and weaving of vines. I let them just do what they wanted. I watched the vines as they grew upwards, towards the top of the brick wall. This was the very place that I was, for a year, trying to stop them from going. Do you know what happened? They started blossoming. My plant was now filled with these beautiful flowers. And these flowers then produced fruit. 

Why am I telling you all this? I learned that sometimes, no matter how hard you try to control something, it just won't do what you want it to. I had good intentions. I wanted an aesthetically beautiful wall. I was trying to force something that just wasn't meant to be, something that wasn't what the plant needed. The plant knew what it needed, it knew where it needed to go. All that time, I was interfering.

This is a great analogy for how some of us treat our bodies. Sometimes we try to force something (like unrealistic weight loss) that just isn't healthy for us, something that isn't what our body wants or needs. We desperately try to change our body to something that it shouldn't be, just because we want it to look different. This constant pressure to change or to be something that we are not stops us from blossoming, from meeting our full potential. Sometimes we have to just stop trying to take control. We need to have more self-compassion. You may be surprised what happens when you stop trying to force something that just isn't meant to be. You may be surprised to see what happens when you begin to trust your inner voice, your intuition. 

This isn't to say that you should stop any initiative to improve your health. It's sometimes just the how you are doing it that can be hindering you. Being overly restrictive, having an all-or-nothing or no-pain-no-gain attitude may not be what your body needs (it probably isn’t what your body needs). Oftentimes a more gentle approach to health and self care is what we need and what will help us blossom to our full potential.