Relationships: Pruning in the Garden of Life

I’ve been writing about relationships recently. Yes, I’ve mentioned family, how we handle those relationships, can also be applied to the workplace and to friendships. Today, let’s look at relationships and how they need tending and pruning.

I enjoy gardening. There is something grounding about getting out and working with your hands, and being in direct contact with the earth, dirt, something growing. About 10 years ago, I planted wisteria, a very strong vine that has beautiful flower clusters with an amazing scent.

Suddenly my beautiful wisteria had turned into monster vines taking over the front door!

Where I originally planted them, they didn’t do well.  So after a year and a half, I replanted both vines, to the other side of my home. They have thrived. Typically, I need to cut the vines’ back several times in the Spring and Summer, sometimes, into Fall.

This year, I had the most blooms; they smelled heavenly. I loved how the front of the house looked with the vine growing around the trellis, we had built to support it.

Then, in what seemed overnight, the vine shoots were covered with small ants. I’d had this happen before, but this year, it was worse. And, the shoots were taking over the front porch. You’d have to duck and dodge so they didn’t brush up against you.

They were growing daily, making it more and more difficult to get to the front door.

I just couldn’t bring myself to go out and cut the wisteria back, because the ants were grossing me out. I just knew they would get all over me, my hair, and in my clothing. So, I did nothing.

Relationships Need Tending and Pruning Too

Do you have a personal or business relationship that needs tending and pruning? Are you ignoring and avoiding doing what you know needs to be done? None of us like to confront people. It’s human nature to avoid that which makes us uncomfortable. We know it won’t go away, yet we can’t make ourselves deal with it, with them.

I won’t sugarcoat this, suck it up and deal with it! It won’t go away, it will get worse, the longer you avoid the situation. I could give examples, and go on and on. You know the kind of things I’m talking about. There is an endless list of how relationships can be inappropriate, and how that affects us.

  • Boundaries, passive aggressiveness, enabling, inappropriate behavior and more.
  • We may have a team member who is chronically late. Maybe they don’t have a good work ethic, and/or blame others, for their mistakes.
  • Or, a family member doesn’t show respect in how they communicate with us.

When appropriate boundaries are ignored, when bad behavior is tolerated, when we allow people to take advantage of us, we must put an end to it, or it will get worse. Stop procrastinating and deal with the person, and the situation.

You have a voice in your head that is telling you what you should do. Do it! It’s that simple. And if we don’t take action, we have ourselves to blame.

Taking Action in Relationships is Challenging

Finally, I sucked it up, went out the front door with pruners, and started hacking away. There were still ants, they didn’t leave, just because I was going to hack away at the vines they were crawling on.

Once I got down to the more substantial branches, I realized many of these branches had been allowed to grow in directions that weren’t good. I had let them just grow.

I had to make big cuts. I’m going to have to stay on top of them, and train them in the proper direction that I want.

Just like my wisteria, we must prune the relationships in our lives, for everyone’s sake. You may need to just snip a little, you may need to let a team member find another team to work with. Drastic actions sometimes are necessary, so that a team or a family can be healthy.

Strength, Dignity and Grace to…
Tend and Prune Our Relationships

  • It takes Strength to do the work necessary to make change happen.
  • Dignity not to ignore and become a victim, and to believe we don’t have what it takes to make a change.
  • Grace, for ourselves for letting things go on too long, and for others for their role in the situation, forgive.

Ignoring our relationships because it’s uncomfortable, won’t make them go away. Pruning can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful, yet necessary. It will be so worth it in the long run.

How have you pruned a relationship lately?

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