It’s a beautiful, sunny morning and you decide it’s the perfect time to plant a vegetable garden. So, you start digging through the soil to make room for the tomatoes, cucumbers and various types of plants. At last, you finish planting and stand back marveling at your work while imagining yourself tasting each vegetable.
A few weeks later, your plants are fully grown and you stand tall with pride. You carefully touch and feel the different textures of each plant, marveling at their shapes and forms. The tomato is round and smooth with a beautiful shine. The cucumber features different shades of green and feels a bit bumpy but mostly smooth. In short, you are beaming with pride!
The Vegetables’ Feelings
Would it surprise you if you suddenly saw the plants bickering with each other and complaining how the other one is somehow better? I’d imagine it would. You may even feel some disgust at their ignorance of their beauty and gently point out each of their beauties. For example, you might calm the tomato’s jealousy by pointing out how it has a special shine in the sun or how perfectly round it is. You may calm the cucumber by reminding it of its uniquely different shades of green. After your efforts, each plant feels worthy and valued.
The Disease of Jealousy
It’s very easy to fall prey to the “disease” called jealousy. In fact, it’s almost inevitable, as we are surrounded by people more often than not. But that doesn’t mean that we must give in to jealousy’s temptations. Whenever I engage in negative self-talk, such as “Why am I so anxious/angry/tired? I shouldn’t be feeling that way! It’s not normal,” it makes me feel horrible. If we think about it, though, what’s considered “normal” is all relative. What is normal for someone might seem outrageous to the other and vice versa.
This is exactly what the plants in the vegetable garden were struggling with: rather than appreciating their own beauties, they were fixated on the other vegetables’ qualities, letting those other qualities define their normal. We each do things that seem strange and out of line to the other eye. If we can embrace our own quirks and nuances, we will make peace with ourselves and feel very normal about them.
I am slowly working on accepting my feelings by telling myself that this is how my brain is wired. This is my normal, my biological makeup. It’s how God made me. As annoying and unpleasant as it may be, this is how I’m supposed to be feeling now. No, we’re not doomed to the will of our emotions. On the contrary, we have power over them. We have the power to be kind to ourselves and accept whatever emotions we are feeling as normal.
What are your feelings regarding the author’s take on emotions and our role in controlling them? Please share your thoughts, comments, and questions below.