Weeding Your Mental Garden

I think you will spend 7 seconds reading this post

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ou want to create something amazing. Have an impact. Make a difference. One beautiful day at a time.

You want to bring the right people into your life, but they seem to leave as fast as they arrive.

You try so hard and seem to make little perceivable progress.

You beat yourself up. In public. On your blog. Repeatedly.

You are one hot mess.

Why? Your head is full of strong, healthy weeds. And you haven’t done any heavy weeding in a long time.

The flowers are sparse and anemic, you have little good soil to work with, and the weeds are so familiar that you forgot they are unwelcome. Some even look like trees.

They crowd out good ideas, good opportunities, and good people that want to take root in your life.

Instead of people coming into your life and growing in a pruned garden, they are faced with man-eating Venus Flytraps and thick tangling weeds. The soil is so toxic, they cannot grow and quickly leave.

My hope is to paint a picture of some of the nasty weeds that can grow in one’s life in order to jump start the weeding process.

If you identify with any, and God knows I am speaking from experience, I want to encourage you and remind myself to be diligent in keeping our mental gardens hospitable to all who visit. To guard our gates wisely.

In doing so, we will not only have the freedom to create a beautiful life, inspiring art, and meaningful relationships, we will reduce the pain, stress, and sin in the world that is perpetuated by those without restraint or self-discipline.

Ridiculous Expectations

This weed tends to grow taller and taller over time. Nothing is ever good enough. Not even the latest cell phone that beams images across the globe in high-resolution color. Not even the multimillion dollar film that hundreds of talented people spent the greater part of a year producing so you could be entertained for two hours. Not even your significant other who despite putting up with your flaws never seems to be helpful enough, pretty enough, fast enough, clean enough, or tough enough.

We let our expectations grow unchecked for so long that things that should blow us away with gratitude only upset and frustrate us. “How dare these things not live up to my standard of excellence,” we say to our puffed up selves. Many times this weed can grow into the more insidious anger or pride.

Thankfully, this weed can be pulled by being mindful of it. Offended hearts can be replaced by thankful ones. Count your blessings, understand the world is not created to serve you, and see people and things for what they are — broken and man-made.

Grudges

This weed grows deeper roots by the minute. It starts with resentment toward someone for something they did or didn’t do to you or your posse. It likes to grow next to ridiculous expectations and low-self esteem. It wishes ill will on others and can grow into hatred. Many times, you purposely do not verify the source of your information — which is usually not the person you are holding the grudge against — because this weed thrives on ignorance and lies. It can also do a number on your health.

There’s only one solution for killing this weed. Go straight to the person you want to hold the grudge against and ask for forgiveness. In person or over the phone. Yes, even if you are justified in your mind. The quicker you can do this the better. And do not take the easy way out and use email or text. But be warned. The battle that will rage in your heart and mind will be epic. Spiritual even. You will need massive shears to cut this out of your life.

Don’t worry, your gardening skills will be enormously stronger the next time a grudge starts growing. Regular grudge checks are recommended.

Untamed Ego

There’s nothing quite as suffocating as talking to someone, or rather listening to him blab, about how wonderful he is et cetera et cetera. Remember, people do not care about you until they know you care and actually ask you to share. Otherwise, silence is your friend.

I genuinely think our culture today has groomed us to stroke our own egos because every message is geared around me me me. It’s natural that this weed could grow into our mind as an extension of the conversation brands have with us. Since companies talk about how great their products will make you, you naturally want to share how acquiring these items have made you so much cooler than everyone else. You start to believe through customized advertising that the world was indeed created just for you.

And a special note to bosses. Your employees cannot walk out like everyone else. They must suffer through your embarrassing monologues. Anyone else would be taking the nearest exit.

The best way to get rid of this weed is to go into every conversation with the thought that you will let the other person talk first. Asking three or more questions about the other person helps you keep the focus off you long enough to kill any hopes you may have of dominating the conversation with your latest product, project, success, gift, experience, vacation, car, widget, book, film, CD, oh-my-dear-please-shut-up production.

Desperation

The stench of this weed can be sensed immediately. You want a relationship, or a job, or a project, or a shot. You are trying way too hard. You are in all out panic mode. You may even have all the skills and talent required but you are blinded by this opportunity as if nothing else will ever come along. The brown-nosing abounds while you are pitied by those around you. And you still end up with nothing.

The herbicide for this weed is the idea of abundance. You have to accept the fact that we live in a huge world that is better connected now than ever before in history. There are more opportunities, jobs, guys, girls, clients, gigs, or partners than you can realistically engage in your lifetime. You must relax, detach yourself from the outcomes of any particular one, and be confident others will come.

Excuses

This weed pops up everywhere something hard presents itself in your mind. Especially when you try to step out and do something creative. Steven Pressfield calls it Resistance. You attempt to create something great, only to watch this weed grow right in its place and cry for food. If you feed it with logic or justifications you will find yourself creating nothing. All of a sudden, you have plenty of gorgeous excuses and nothing of real substance.

Your mind will play tricks on you with this weed if you don’t kill it with action. So the formula to beat this one is simple yet powerful. Act.

Skeletons

Past baggage. Past hurt. Past junk. The keyword is past. These weeds should have been plucked years ago but grow as fresh as the day they were planted each time you mention them. They somehow find their way into every conversation you have. You give life to them every time you focus your thoughts on them. You empower them to grow into your present and choke you.

The antidote to kill these weeds will take you on a difficult journey. Maybe even counseling. They have thick trunks and resemble trees instead of weeds. They may have old axe markings at the bottom of them where you did some work in the past but never quite killed them.

Ignoring the fact that you need to deal with them directly, face them, and stop feeding them only prolongs the pain and poisons the soil in your life further. If you decide to do the heavy weeding in this area of your mental garden, the sunlight that will pour into your garden will give you the momentum you need to accurately see and deal with many other weeds and take you to a place of health, abundance, and clarity.


We’re all broken, hurt, and struggling with mental weeds in some area of our minds. But it does not have to remain that way. Feel free to add any others that I have missed and how you beat them.

3 Comments Weeding Your Mental Garden

  1. Maria Brophy

    You are such an awesome writer! This is great. Esp. the Grudge Weed – it reminds me that I need to forgive and drop a grudge on a friend who broke my heart. I still love her, but have been angry for too long. The way you worded it – makes sense to me. Thanks! (Now I need to go say I'm sorry…)

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