The risk it takes to blossom

rose bud

Photo credit: Photosjhoot.com

Everyone you meet is experiencing their own struggles.  I remind myself of this when I am quick to judge someone.  It doesn’t always prevent me from being judgmental but it helps a lot, because I realize that, despite all our differences, we are all struggling with something.  We are all on a journey.  We all need different things to get through that journey, that struggle, that challenge.

During one of my last classes of my Master’s degree program, the following quote was displayed in the professor’s slideshow:

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

–Anais Nin

I began silently crying in the lecture hall when I read it.  I literally wept in a room of close to a hundred people, just from reading this one line of text.

At the time, I was in the midst of an internal struggle – I was constantly changing my mind about my divorce.  We had separated and reconciled and separated again (this time while still living together), and I was so very afraid to actually leave.  I was not happy being married to my ex-husband, but at least I knew what my life was.  At least I knew there would be someone there who cared about me on some level, even if we weren’t truly happy together.  At least I had a routine, and I knew where everything was in my apartment, and we were paying the bills.  At least I had someone in my life.

It’s scary to cut that tie to someone, to solid ground, to routine.

But I had packed everything I was and everything I could be into a tight little bud, too afraid of what would happen to let go of being sure and reach out toward what might or might not be happiness.

It still took me almost a year to move out and file our dissolution papers.  To blossom and grow into who and what I am now – and I’m still growing all the time.

Maybe your struggle is like mine, about a relationship you aren’t really happy in but you like having someone around.  Maybe you want to change something else about your life – like the products you use, or the foods you eat — but you’re afraid that friends and family members will laugh at you or think you’re weird.  Maybe you want to sell your big home to live in a smaller dwelling but you’re afraid you will run out of room.  Everyone has something dancing just out of reach that they want but they’re not sure how much they want it. My advice is to take the risk.

No matter what your happiness is, even if you don’t know what it is yet, be aware of those moments when you are staying tight in a bud and really ask yourself if it’s worth the risk of missing out on the rest of your life. Don’t make excuses for why it’s a bad idea.  Risk losing what you don’t want for the chance at something you do.  Blossom!

19 thoughts on “The risk it takes to blossom

  1. livingsimplyfree says:

    this made me remember something my ex used to say to me. He was violent, abusive and would stalk me around work and running errands. I couldn’t take it any more and tried so many times to break it off, but out of fear wouldn’t go through with it, but anyway, his one come back when I wanted him out of my life was that no one would love me if he left. I seriously stopped and thought about whether I could find a way to live with his treatment or was willing to take the chance that I wouldn’t find another someone. I didn’t have to think long, I knew I’d rather be alone, the point I was trying to make is that I can completely understand where your head was at that time in your life.

    • Caitlin says:

      I’m so sorry you went through that. Mine never said anything like that to me, thankfully. We had a few pretty bad arguments but he was never truly abusive. As far as exes go, he’s a pretty good one. Still glad he’s an ex.

      To be honest, I don’t know where my life is going to be three, six, or twelve months from now… but I know it’s going to be awesome!🙂

      • livingsimplyfree says:

        You know the saying what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger? Well, while I wish some days I never had to know him, I am stronger for it and learned a lot about myself through that experience.

        None of us knows where life will be after today, but having a positive attitude like you have will ensure you make it to your goals.

  2. Shari Rolston says:

    Thanks for sharing, Caitlin. I recall mom telling me one time, only I know my limitations and where I draw the line on what I can and cannot live with. Excellent advice. I fully get where livingsimplyfree is coming from, Wonder if they were married to my last ex! Sorry it took me a few days to get over here to read it.

  3. Sara says:

    Thank you, Caitlin, for this. As I’m going through a divorce right now, and have been going through a major self-processing in the past few years, it was a very touching story to read. I feel like I’d also kept big and important parts of me in a tight bud for as long as I could remember, and it feels good – although scary, too – to open them up. Taking risks is always scary, but this time I’m willing to take them and try to find the life that looks like me and not some shadow that only looks like me. And I’ve loved that Anais Nin quote for close to twenty years, now, but never fully grasped its meaning. I think I’m finally beginning to, though🙂

  4. bemusedfox says:

    That quotation literally made me shiver. Thank you. While I am not agonizing over a separation or divorce right now I still feel paralyzed by fear and anxiety. One of the things I keep trying totell myself is that any decision I make will have consequences even if I decide not to decide. And I can and will live with those consequences.

    • Caitlin says:

      You’re welcome – it made me shiver (and cry) too when I first heard it. Sometimes we need a little kick in the pants to understand that everything has a ripple effect. I hope you find a way out of your fear and anxiety. I know it can be debilitating.

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