I am experiencing a theme this week with my clients and friends- letting go of things that are “good” to have better. I thought it might be helpful to give a cliff note version of another talk Henry Cloud gave at Women of Faith a few weeks ago. He wrote a book that I can’t wait to read, Necessary Endings. This is based on his talk and that book.
Dr. Cloud gave an example of a rose bush. Rose bushes actually produce more buds than it can handle. (I didn’t know this- perhaps this is why my rose bush does not bloom as well as I wish but has a ton of buds! hmm.) So the pruner has to do 3 things:
1. Prune off the dead
2. Prune off the sick or weak ones
3. Prune back some that are good but are not the best
He used this as an analogy of things that we sometimes need to end. Some relationships, jobs, habits, addictions have run their course and it’s time to move on. We need to prune off the dead. Some aren’t dead but are weak or make us not well or at our best. We need to prune these as well. So why prune back the good ones? Because the good ones are not the best but are taking up resources that the best ones need! The best ones cannot produce the beautiful buds and eventually flowers that they have the potential to be because the “good” ones are taking their resources. So the bush just stays “good”.
How is this applicable? Sometimes just because something is good doesn’t mean it is the best thing for you. I have people tell me a lot, “I’m dating this person. I really like them but we are too different. They are a good person and really good to me so I stay.” This person is good, just maybe not the right person for YOU. They have difficulty ending it because nothing is horribly wrong (they don’t beat them or hurt them) but they just aren’t a good match. Many experience this in their jobs. “It’s money and provide for my family. I don’t enjoy it but it pays the bills!” I know in this economy, sometimes that is the case. But I’m talking about people who have the potential to have better and can get a better job, but they are too uncomfortable to do so.
Why do we do this? Why do we hold on to what is good but not best for us? Most of us are afraid to let go of something because we fear nothing good will come along. So many people live in a life of “good” but not GREAT out of fear!
Have you ever seen the movie The Butterfly Effect? They show the different ways the characters lives would have turned out if certain things would have happened differently. I wonder how many of us would have different lives if we let go of good to have the possibility of better. We can start now- it’s never too late!
Written by Natalie Chandler
Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville.