I decided to do something different on my morning walk today. I can’t exactly explain what spurred the thought, but I chose to pay close attention to the flowers. Maybe it’s because I’ve been working extra hard to catch up after losing so much time to a shoulder, neck, and arm injury on my right side that cost me almost three months of real productivity. I’m also getting ready to fly out for 10 days of intensive ghostwriting for a person I cannot name, so there are a lot of loose ends to tie before I leave. Or, it might be due to the especially long winter we had that made me ache for this time of year.
But whatever the reason, our Missouri wildflowers are especially appealing to me this year. So on my walk, I made it my mission to stop and admire every variety I saw, and then to take a picture. However, I did not anticipate how this action would remind me of some important facts related to tending dreams.
I first spotted a wild rose bush. Though they aren’t as large, full, and aromatic as domesticated roses, they are still gorgeous. I noticed that most have five fragile, flat, pink petals. This rose is not one you would see in a show-case, but when you don’t overlook it, as most of us often do, you see its beauty hidden in plain sight. I think some of our talents are much the same. We and others overlook them, often undervaluing what we have to offer.
Next, I stopped to take a photo of a white yucca in bloom. Unlike most blossoms, it’s flowers point upside down along the stem. You have to lift a blossom up to see all of the beauty inside. Many of us fight the parts of ourselves that make us feel especially different from other people. But when we see our differences as ways to stand out, we often find real value beneath. Instead of fighting areas that feel upside down from the norm, we would benefit by putting in effort to lift those differences to the forefront.
I saw two species of white and yellow daisies while I walked as well. Some were larger with wide petals and dime-sized gold cores. Others were petite, with white petals so close they looked like fringe dotted with small, pale yellow buttons. No two blooms were exactly alike—though they were of the same family, fulfilling the same purpose. I’ve noted something similar about dreamtenders. Two people can tend identical dreams, but their results will not be exactly the same. Personality, gender, history and experience, as well as current opportunities, will influence outcomes. But this diversity only enhances the results for each. Dreamtenders don’t need to battle against each other, instead, we need to remember that our value increases when we work cooperatively.
As I finished my walk, I saw violet bluebells, white Queen’s Lace, black-eyed susans, fuchsia clover blooms, purple echinacea, and some red, yellow, and purple varieties I didn’t recognize. But since I was moving in to look closely with an eye for appreciation, I noticed that every flower I’ve mentioned had two things in common. They each had at least one flaw and they all had a unique value. This brings me to you and me.
Every year, I choose a One Word focus. (Or I should say, my One Word chooses me.) Toward the end of the year prior, a particular word will keep cropping up, and after enough times, I know that’s my next year’s emphasis. This year, my word is value.
This is also the time of year, around the mid-way point, where I review to make sure I’m still giving my One Word the attention it deserves. Maybe that’s why the flaws and values of each flower stood out to me—or maybe it was because you needed to hear this message.
Either way, my walk made me reflect on how we think about ourselves, and in response, how we treat ourselves. I don’t know about you, but too many times, I’ve looked in the mirror and seen nothing but my imperfections.
In the past, I’ve only concentrated on my flaws, and therefore, overlooked my own value. I’ve also missed the inner gifts, talents, and abilities that may not be evident on the surface, but like the wild rose, with just a little attention, became something that added value to the world.
I’ve seen my differences as negatives, when instead, they gave me character in a way that brought others happiness. For instance, I have a naturally crooked smile, but like the upside down Yucca, my cockeyed smile represents something valuable—my commitment to be a joy-splasher.
I used to worry about competition, but now I see that people who are tending the same kinds of dreams as me are kindred spirits. Together, we make a beautiful bouquet. We are similar, yet each of us has distinct inflections that add special value.
I actually have lots of flaws and imperfections, like all of the flower varieties I saw as I walked. But, many of my flaws aren’t as obvious as they are to others, and even if they are, not everyone will have appreciation for what I have to offer—and that’s okay. The fact is, my defects don’t discount me as a dreamtender. Instead, they help make me the remarkable, distinctive, and extraordinary person especially able to fulfill my abundant purpose on this earth. The same is true for you.
Don’t focus on what you see as shortcomings. Instead, see your differences as valuable. You have things to offer that no one else does in exactly the way you can. You were made for an exceedingly abundant life.
But you will only experience it if you do what only you can do. We need your gifts, talents, and abilities. If you need to tend them before they’re ready for the world to see, that’s okay. It’s actually important for you to take the time necessary to tend your dreams fully—so you can give us all the value you were made for. Without your color, our planet will lack luster, and who wants to live in a dull world.
- When you look in the mirror do you see only imperfection, or do you see any value reflected there?
- How does nature inspire you in your dreamtending efforts?
- Where would we be if life-changing dreamtenders like Mozart, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Florence Nightingale, Mother Teresa, Celine Dion, Henry Ford, or others had focused on their weaknesses more than their strengths?
If you were a flower, what variety do you think you’d be?
This episode’s Dream Tending Tips:
- Make a list of your talents, abilities, and gifts. Dare to review it often, to offset any obsession with perceived defects.
- What value might your dreams provide if you achieved them?
- Look at your flaws, imperfections, or defects differently than you have before—how might they add uniqueness and character to your dreamtending efforts?
- Have you ever considered that your perceived weaknesses might be opportunities in disguise? If we’re too perfect, other people can’t relate to us. Your imperfections can actually make you more relevant.
- Do you need to catch up or tie up some loose ends to free you up to concentrate on your dreams more fully? If so, take it one step and keep at it. You will get there.
- How long has it been since you stopped and admired nature, noticing the details and inflections that offer creative ideas, inspirations, and motivations to help you tend your dreams?
- What One Word focus or resolutions have you made for this year? Are you staying true to them?
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Until next time, remember, your dreams are waiting for you to grab and tend:
Never stop believing.
Dare to dream bigger.
Host Anita Agers-Brooks can be found on various social media platforms, and you can discover additional dream tending tips at tendyourdreams.com.