Have you ever tried a new communication strategy and the other person respond in the same way as they usually do, and then you concluded that your efforts “didn’t work”?

Me too.

Then, I remind myself that change often happens beneath the surface, and not to jump to hasty conclusions about whether or not something “worked.”

When we plant seeds, we don’t expect flowers in a day. Growth happens over time, and initially, underground. So, the next time you find yourself wondering if all your efforts are making any difference, remember this grounding principle :

Trust the sprouting stage.  

A whole world may be unfolding beneath the surface…

  • Your body language could be a seed.

  • The way you open a conversation could be a seed.

  • Your facial expressions could be seeds.

  • Your lightheartedness or earnestness could be a seed.

  • Choosing to use “I” instead of “you” could be a seed.

  • Choosing to say “one possibility” instead of “you/I should” could be a seed.

  • Staying open and patient could be a seed.

Instead of instant gratification, quick results and measurable short-term effects invest in the long-term seasonal health of the whole garden. Relationships have their own ecology, their own seasons, and their own pacing.

Choosing to speak & listen in loving, authentic, gentle, and direct ways fundamentally changes the culture of our relationships over time.

Don’t be too quick to judge whether or not something is “working.” Even when you diligently add aluminum to your soil, your pink hydrangeas won’t turn blue overnight, and sometimes, not even in the first growing season.

People are like that, too.

Just focus on being who you want to be and bringing what you want to bring to interactions. And then, wait and see.

Life may surprise you in delightful ways.

From Insight to Action

  • Tend your garden. Focus on ways in which your needs are met daily.

  • Start with Beauty. How is your need for beauty well met during this day?

  • Notice things that you find beautiful. Savor them.

  • Notice how you feel when you pay attention to needs well met.

  • Repeat Daily.

  • In a few weeks’ time, notice: What seeds are sprouting from this practice?


Want to go deeper in this work?

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