After a couple of years, I was excited to see that my trees began to grow...so much so that they needed trimming. My brother, that doubles as my handyman, explained how you know what branches to cut off. Any branches that were too low or growing down or even small branches growing inward, needed to be trimmed off because they were taking "energy" away from the healthy branches and doing nothing to help the tree become bigger and stronger. It's important to not wait too long because as long as there are branches that need trimming still there...they are taking energy and nutrients away from the branches that are good. And if you never trim the tree, it will never become as big or strong or beautiful as it COULD have been.
Back in February, I did something I thought I would never do...something I thought I would never need to do. I started seeing a therapist. My marriage was a mess and demons from the past were haunting me. I felt like I needed someone to talk to that didn't know me and wouldn't judge me. I still remember the first day sitting in a strange room...on an old ugly couch...looking at a stranger...as I wept uncontrollably and tried to tell her all the things that have hurt me or that are bothering me...in an hour. I am a control freak. I like to have control because there were times as a child when I had all my power taken from me...times when I should've been protected but I wasn't...feelings I felt that were not feelings I should have been feeling at that age. And so I try to have as much control now as I can, even though it doesn't change the past. I like to do things how I want to do them...when I want to do them. I like to always look just right and stay composed when I can. I felt so out of control...so ugly...so damaged. This was completely out of my comfort zone, but there was something strangely comforting at the same time about just getting it all out...telling all my secrets...admitting my shame...letting myself be vulnerable.
After I purged myself of all the things that were bothering me...I quickly began to try and regain control by telling the therapist what exactly I was doing to make changes and try to correct these problems. I told her how hard it was/is and how disappointed and upset some people were with me. I told her that I felt alone and scared. Finally, when I let her speak, she looked at me surprisingly unfazed and said,
"You have been hurt badly. You have held it in and made the choice to never use these things as an excuse to protect everyone else and keep a sense of pride. No one would ever believe the things that you have suffered because you have covered them up so well. Now, you have chosen to correct this by cutting off the things and people that cause you pain. The problem is that you are like a tree that hasn't ever been pruned. Instead of getting rid of these things as they came, you waited and let them continue to grow. You had so many limbs to cut off that you now feel very bare and very alone."
This made perfect sense. I had let things grow that should have been cut off sooner and made some huge changes in my life. It wasn't until the secret pain became unbearable that I finally did something about it...and I did it all at once. It has been scary to make these decisions and hard to deal with the consequences that have followed, but every day is a little better. New branches are growing where old, unhealthy ones were and the people that love me are learning to accept my changes and love me unconditionally.
So, you probably wonder what this has to do with anyone other than me. It's a warning if you will. Don't let unhealthy "branches" grow on your "tree" because it seems too hard to get rid of them. Take the things out of your life that weigh you down or keep you from reaching your true potential. Don't have friends that don't accept your commitment to eat and live healthy. Don't surround yourself with jealous people that want to drag you down. Avoid unhealthy relationships that cause you to doubt your worth and rob you of your goals. And when you do need to cut off branches, be brave. Value yourself enough to put in the work it takes to be your best. Don't be afraid of feeling alone at times or vulnerable, because in time you will be glad you made the changes. Finally, don't be too proud to ask for help. When trees have large branches that break or need to be removed, sometimes it takes a professional because the job is too big to do on your own. Rely on the people that care about you to help you make changes.
Just as it takes pruning to help a tree grow tall and strong, it takes making uncomfortable changes in our own lives to become the person we are meant to be. After the struggle...because of the work it takes to get there...in the end...we will become stronger than we ever thought possible.