It’s funny how often our own words come back as reminders to guide us in the right direction. 2 months ago, I began writing acronyms on my white board at work that stood for what I felt I needed to work on at that moment. My plan was to use the acronyms as reminders, by placing them some place visible I’d have to look at each day. And to practice what was written until I perfected it and changed my behavior. I don’t have a deadline. I leave the acronym up as long as it takes. It’s been surprisingly effective and has worked (so far) surprisingly fast. Last month, I worked on thinking before I spoke. Now, I’m working on contentment.
There’s a quote I really love. It’s simply, “Bloom where you’re planted.” And it summarizes in 4 words everything I strive for right now. And that is simply, to be content.
“You think you will be happier somewhere else. At some point, you have to examine yourself and consider the problem may not be where you are, but who you are. If you remain the same, no matter where you go, your circumstances will always be the same. Because you’re still carrying you with you.”
— A Dear Friend
When I was younger, I moved around a lot. If I became unhappy in one place, I’d convince myself there was better opportunity elsewhere, that I’d be happier there, and I’d uproot myself and move. Sometimes, my circumstances forced me to move. Other times, it was completely by choice. Either way, each time, I somehow found myself planted in a new location, only to be yanked up by the roots at any moment when it appeared I couldn’t or was slow to bloom. The decision was always a failed one. However, the idea that this was the right thing to do flowed into all areas of my life. Relationships with friends, relationships with families, jobs, my education, even my ownership of pets. In 2008, I was living in a foreign country and engaged to be married. I’d just moved there from Virginia and was speaking to a friend about reconsidering going through with the marriage. I wanted to move to Tennessee. She said something to me that never left me, “You think you will be happier somewhere else. At some point, you have to examine yourself and consider the problem may not be where you are, but who you are. If you remain the same, no matter where you go, your circumstances will always be the same. Because you’re still carrying you with you.” I left. But I always wondered if she was right. It took another 7 years for me to accept what my dear friend had said as truth. 7 years to realize I was not blooming because I had not allowed myself to. I thought of how much further I could have been in so many things, had I just stayed still, nurtured and watered myself, finding contentment and something to be grateful for no matter where I am, and bloomed where I was planted.
That’s what’s written on my white board, right now. And it’s a subtle reminder of my current become-a-better-person project. I was recently offered a new position on my team. We’d been discussing it for a while, and I was excited about the opportunity. When the offer was officially made, the salary was significantly less than what I’d hoped for and was expecting. I felt insulted, but politely began negotiations over the next several days. When we finally agreed to an amount, it was still a bit lower than what I wanted. To be honest, after telling myself again and again that I could look forward to X and receiving Y, it was crushing. I felt someone had just knocked the wind out of me, saddened and I began to question my value to the team. A range of thoughts began running through my mind, and I knew in my heart none of them were true. I’d seen the emails I wasn’t supposed to see that showed just how much my team really appreciated and cared for me. I’d never had that before. Yet, I still found myself hesitating about signing off on the offer. I began considering my options. “Maybe, I should join a new team.” I’d received 2 offers from others within the company which were more than what I’d asked for. I began to consider taking them. But I loved my team, and didn’t want to leave. I thought back of how when I first began working here, I truly believed that I was blessed. I still do. I believe and know The Lord put me here for a reason, even though I have not fully figured out why. I thought of what my goals are for my career, and began to really question if I could accomplish them here. I felt so confused and torn. “Lord,” I said, my heart still heavy, “What should I do?” And then I began to listen to the voice of reason.
“I could leave. But there is no guarantee I’d like my new team. I’m extremely happy here. Is that a risk you want to take? Do you think the money is worth the risk?”
“These people love and adore you. You have liberty here that you would not have anywhere else. Do you want to give that up?”
“You have security. Do you want to give that up?”
“What is it that you want to do that you can’t do right now, where you are?”
“For months, you’ve felt as if you were divinely placed here. Has that now suddenly changed? Are you really going to essentially say that by leaving? For money? You’ve done that before… multiple times. Insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results…”
“Stop for a moment and think. What are you doing here? Think of all the times you ‘left’ a little too soon, when the answer to all your questions and prayers were but a breath away. Be still.”
The voice of reason was right. It was not worth the risk. It wasn’t worth the money. And my happiness on my team is something I have literally woken up so very thankful for each and every single day. I’m not being prevented from doing anything I aspired to do before, and if anything – I have gained something more. I accepted the offer.
The news spread quickly. I began receiving an outpouring of excited emails and support. And as I swiveled around to check my whiteboard for a list of things I needed to do, there was BWYP. Bloom where you’re planted. Written in bold pink marker and encircled with flowers. I’m currently planted here. And I’m going to bloom here. I chuckled to myself, “Thanks, God. For reminding me,” and in that moment, I knew I had made the right choice.
Have you ever had to make a decision to uproot yourself or BWYP? What did you end up deciding to do? I’d love to hear how others handled tough decisions like that. We learn from each other by sharing our experiences. xo