A visual representation of flourishing under harsh conditions looks like a flower growing out of a crack in a piece of concrete.
Less than ideal
Take a look around you. You might notice your conditions are less than ideal. Maybe you work a minimum wage job but want a decent living wage. Perhaps you live in an apartment but want to buy a house. Maybe you’re in a relationship, but you’re not happy and want a life partner. Or, all of these things are true simultaneously within your life. If so, that’s a lot. But know that you can overcome any obstacle in your path.
Growing up, the events that take place in our lives aren’t always ideal. Often, we are given a set of cards in life and must deal with them accordingly. Sometimes, we’re given a two of clubs, others, an ace of spades. Yet, no matter what card you are given, just as when you play card games, it’s about the next card you will receive and what you will do with it. It’s not to be confused with always looking towards the future. Instead, it’s about being mindful of your current circumstances and knowing, whether bad or good, they won’t last forever.
As humans, we are often prisoners of the moment or always worried about the future, rarely ever in between. However, it’s in our best interest to find balance, to remain level. If we’re always prisoners of the moment, we may believe our current living conditions will forever stay the same, not accounting for any monumental or even subtle changes in life. If anything is right, it’s that life brings change with it. The two are symbiotic in that you can’t have one without the other.
Remaining in the moment can be beneficial, so long as you keep an eye out for what’s just around the corner. Contrarily, overthinking about the future can do the opposite and take you away from the moment. The last thing you want is to be so consumed in the future that you don’t enjoy the here and now. Simply put, the future isn’t promised, so enjoy every day for what it is. Remember, there is always a glimmer of hope.
I remember feeling like I’d never move out of my parent’s house. There I was, 24 years old, still living at home. Let me first say that looking back on it; I am incredibly and immeasurably thankful. My parents are older, so spending those years with them after I graduated high school was both extraordinary and critical to my growth. It allowed us to grow even closer, and for me, to gain insight and wisdom from them and their experiences, which slowly helped me become the person I am today.
Yet, I knew it wasn’t enough. For me to truly flourish, I had to step out into the real world on my own. I couldn’t continue to rely on my parents for everything and, more importantly, couldn’t keep stunting by growth any longer. Not because they would’ve stopped helping me, but because I needed to grow on my own, too.
You see, typically, we grow the most under less than ideal circumstances. When times are hard, and you can barely pay rent, afford a car, and buy food, it’s tough. But we usually see the most growth in ourselves when we’re put in uncomfortable situations. It’s very challenging to think this way when you’re in the moment, but I often look back and am thankful for my journey. Sure, there have been plenty of rough times, times when I thought I’d have to move back in with my parents. But I believe those harsh conditions made me more resilient.
They set me up well for other disappointments. Generally speaking, there will be disappointments in life. Sometimes, you’ll be let down. Increasing your ability to handle disappointment is fundamental to life. But in navigating and ultimately persevering through these harsh conditions, you come out on the other side better refined with the ability to effectively manage the unforeseen circumstances the next time around.
The analogy of a flower growing out of a slab of concrete is so beautiful to me. It’s relatable and intrinsic to the development of many. Plenty of us come from harsh conditions. In this case, so does the flower, so how does it grow out of a crack in the concrete? Well, all it took was just a pinch of dirt, a little water, some sunshine, and it grew despite being put in less than ideal conditions. As with the flower, it’s what we make of our environment.
The flower doesn’t give up, no, rather it takes what it can, and lives to its most extraordinary ability until one day, change comes along, plucks it from the concrete, and places it in a field. The seeds of the flower grow, and instead of one flower barely making its way out of the concrete, hundreds of flowers blossom in a field. Showing that, with determination, and a little bit of hope, the ability to flourish is always there.