Symbolism: Trees With or Without Leaves Still = Beauty

This concept came from another friend of mine from the church we both attend. She is a full time student currently attending Sioux Falls Seminary. She mentioned about seeing the beauty in the trees even without their leaves on her Instagram.

You may have to use your imagination and critical thinking to understand this topic and follow along.

Take a look at this tree. It looks great and beautiful right? On our best days, we too feel great about ourselves. We feel great about ourselves, other people, and the world in general. We have more of a positive mindset.

So this tree has no leaves on it. Some may think where is the beauty in this one or this tree will look great once it has leaves. Well have you thought about those things in terms of yourself? Have you said ‘I’m not good looking’, or ‘Once I clean up, put make up on, or comb or cut my hair, then I will look great’?

Now what I’m getting at is that though one tree has leaves and the other doesn’t, they both still have beauty. They have the same beauty, just a different look. Both trees are alive right? Both trees have strong branches right? There’s beauty right there.

Both trees provide life and shelter to different lifeforms. Those lifeforms don’t care how one tree looks compared to the other one. If the the tree with no leaves can provide a home for a squirrel for example, that squirrel will live there; it doesn’t care how it looks.

Now I’m not an expert on insects or animals that live in trees or trees in general, I’m assuming that both trees or healthy and alive.

You are the Tree

Now let’s take the trees out of the equation and substitute them with ourselves. The tree and branches are us as a person to the world. On good days we feel great and positive, so we look like the tree with leaves. On gloomy or bad days, we can look like the tree with no leaves.

Now remember what I said about make up, cutting and combing our hair picture? Picture the leaves as the make up, putting on really nice clothes, a wonderful haircut, and deodorant. When you do all that to yourself, don’t you think or say you look great when you look at yourself in the mirror? Did you think when you saw the tree with leaves that it looks great? Maybe you did, maybe you didn’t.

See the similarities; both statements include the words ‘look(s)’ and ‘great’. We recognize the beauty of ourselves.

Now switching gears again, the tree with no leaves can symbolize us not all glammed up, having a bad hair day, and feeling down. We don’t believe there is any beauty there.

The Moral

As I mentioned both trees have beauty, just a different kind. As people, there are all kinds of beauty as well. Beauty isn’t just an outward appearance; there is beauty within us all. Those who truly embrace that part of themselves can not only feel good about themselves, but can make others feel good about themselves too.

The pic above is leaf buds. Are we going to say that it isn’t beautiful because they are only buds and not leaves? I wouldn’t because those buds are alive and the start of something that will look great if taken care of and in time. The trees that are out there now in some areas of the world don’t have leaves, but soon they will have buds on them.

Going back to the squirrels, they didn’t care what the trees looked like on the outside. There are friends and family members who still see the beauty in you despite what you look like on the outside. Outward appearances can change, but inward beauty, most of the time, doesn’t.

Wrap Up

So if you have been feeling down lately or right now, one your not alone there are many many others unfortunately feeling that way right now. Two if are doing any kind of “me work” to feel better about yourself or to heal, then you may have some leaf buds starting to grow on your branches and I wish you good luck on that. You are loved for exactly who you are; your unique and special.

Take care, stay safe, and remember your not alone and you have worth in this world.

Comparing Yourself to Others…Nah

We’ve all been done it at some point in our lives, comparing our talents, skills, personalities, a lot of things about ourselves to other people. I have done this myself and have struggled with it for a long portion of my life. For example, we see other people and sometimes think ‘I wish I was muscular like that guy or I wish I had great hair like her’. There are times when we make a mistake or mess something up, we may feel low about ourselves. We may begin to think that we can’t do anything right and think that the people around us have no trouble doing anything. This kind of thinking can hurt our self-worth and influence us to believe in lies.

You see someone who has a nice car, nice clothes, a lot of friends, is doing well in school, work, or just life in general and you think ‘that person must have no troubles or problems at all’. Sometimes you get jealous or envious of the other person and start comparing your accomplishments to the other person. When we do this, most of the time we conclude that the other person is better than me. Our self-esteem and our self-worth takes a hit when we do this. People sometimes think that they if they had what the other person had, they would be happy as well. For example, I have been in predicaments where I felt that I’m struggling to get an A in a class and everyone else is getting A’s without trying. This however wasn’t true; it was my insecurities getting the best of me.

A common comparison I have witnessed and experienced is seeing a friend, family member, or stranger in a relationship with another person and I start thinking that those two people are happier and doing better in life than I am. The truth is that those in a relationship may not be as happy as you think. So it seems silly that we would think that, but our insecurities get the better of us sometimes and our minds send us on a downward spiral. We have our own lives to live and shouldn’t try to mimic what other people are doing. The reality is that what works for some people may not work for other people. For example, someone who chews gum before taking test to relax may not work for the person next to them. This other person may do some deep breathing to relax. The thing is that both methods can work, it all depends on the person; we are all wired differently.

Here are some ways we can start to break this cycle and start doing our own thing:

1) Discover what makes you unique This may require some trial and error, but discovering what your capable of is part of your life journey and that can be fun. Maybe you have a knack for painting, building things, maybe you have always had a way of taking great care of animals than your friends. You should find out.

2) Focus on what you do best You have your own skills and talents. These things are what makes you unique. Close friends and family members may see special things about yourself that you don’t. Ask them and then excel in them and you’ll find your own peace and happiness.

3) Find and embrace joy When you are filled with joy, life gets easier. Create your own joy by doing things you love. Overtime you may begin to feel that confidence returning and your perception of measuring up to someone else fading away.

4) Distract yourself Comparing oneself to others can become a habit and it may take some time to break that thought cycle. When that thought cycle starts, try distracting yourself with something else. Focus on something else, get a song in your head, an object (I’ve focused on the color of bark of a tree), say something to yourself like ‘stop or no’, get invested in a movie, video game, watch TV, listen to music, try talking to someone, dance around. This could take some trial and error as well, but if you work at it you’ll find something.

5) Challenge the thoughts The thoughts that make you think that someone is better than you may not be real. Challenge the thought with positive things about yourself. List your skills and talents. Think about the compliments you have gotten, most people wouldn’t have said those compliments if they weren’t true. What are you good at? You are good at something. If it helps make a list of the positive things about yourself. Keep that list on you or somewhere where you will always see it. Recite these things when you wake up to help start your day. Overtime, your mind will begin on focusing those positive factors as second nature and you will begin seeing that what made you feel inferior to someone else was false.

We make our own path and our own choices, we shouldn’t follow someone else’s. The path that someone else is on may look good, but it may not be the right path for you. We are all wired differently and part of the journey of life is finding what works well for us. People will follow the herd as a way to not be alone or are afraid to stand out. This can lead to following someone’s path that isn’t a good one. We may know that this way of life or path is bad for us, but we are afraid to break away out of fear of something bad happening or our insecurities have something to do with that.

Doing our own thing and finding what works for us is a step in breaking the habit of comparing ourselves to others. This idea can be confusing because people only look to obtaining happiness, but there is more to it than that. What we have to do is see that there is a good and healthy part and the happiness part. Let me explain, someone may be happy in their life, but that happiness is coming from putting other people down. This scenario has the happiness part, but it’s lacking the good and healthy part. Both parts have to be together in order for your confidence to grow which I admit can be challenging and will take time. Our insecurities, the lies we get told by other people, and other things lower our self-esteem which hurts our confidence and we begin to compare our self-worth to other people. Don’t be hard on yourself, be patient, this can be beaten, it takes time, effort, and not giving up. I know you can do it.