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“Every rose has its thorn”

You’ve heard the phrase a million times, in commercials, magazine ads, even in a 1980s pop-rock ballad. Due to its overuse, the phrase is easily dismissed, however, The cliché actually has value worth remembering, especially when you encounter life’s inevitable road bumps and are desperate for some new perspective.

Analyzing the Rose

Observing the complexity of a rose, we can observe much about our own complex lives. A prickly exterior makes it difficult for predators to attack—its thorny climb protects the stem, allowing it to grow in strength and resiliency as the flower develops. At its very tip, the protected stem brings to light a hardy rosebud and soon, delicate, sweet smelling, gloriously and vividly colored petals follow, creating one of the world’s most cherished sources of natural beauty for all to admire. Upon further inspection, and through personal experience, we quickly learn to first watch for its thorns before handling. Here’s where the cliché becomes truth: that’s life, isn’t it?

It’s no coincidence that on Valentine’s Day, roses are what we give to exemplify the depth of our love, often developed through the experience of sweetness and sharp pricks. Even the sweetest highs can be followed by extremely painful lows, often in quick succession. Our daily commute to work alone can be an emotional rollercoaster; from the elation caused by a favorite song played on the radio, to the stress of a particularly bad day of traffic, or the overwhelming amount of emails waiting at the office. But is the high and low necessarily a bad thing? Or like the rose with its thorns, is it life’s duality that makes it so beautiful?

A Rose is a Rose

Regardless of the type, roses develop thorns to survive and flourish with one goal—to make the end result as beautiful and strong as possible. With this revelation, a trusted cliché takes on a whole new meaning for the experience of personal sadness, the joy of happiness and the enabling journey allowing us to grow deeply rooted, strong stems of self-awareness. Without the protective pricks that temporarily stun us, we cannot truly appreciate the rose’s miraculous journey to flourish. Cultivating our happiness is difficult at times, but what we make of our experiences determines if we thrive rather than merely survive. If allowed to play their role in our lives naturally, the thorns of sadness and trials can eventually cultivate healthy outlooks for positive growth, offering beauty to another struggling in their journey.

Interactive Strategies:

Goal: More effectively reflect, reconnect with, and beneficially utilize our personal experiences by refocusing our inherent positive core energy for individual positive growth.

Exercises:

    • Take off your shoes and socks and take a walk in the grass. Known as a grounding exercise, the simple act of walking on the earth in your natural state will help center your thoughts for reflection.
    • Plant a seed and watch it grow through your nurture. Whether you plant a tulip bulb in a pot, or a tree in your backyard, getting lost in the quiet, simple act of nurturing plant life—ensuring it has enough sun, water, and food to thrive—is a therapeutic reminder of nurturing our own life. Quiet, reflective activities outdoors provide opportunities to assess both positive and negative experiences, and can lead to deeper appreciation of their contribution in our life. Reflection allows us to better determine the effect of our trials in the present, and gives us opportunities to utilize them for continued positive growth—essentially leading to deeper happiness.

Lisa Cypers Kamen is acclaimed for her engaging blend of positive and spiritual psychology coaching, workshops, and philanthropic projects. Through her books, radio show, media appearances, and inspiring documentary films, such as “H Factor: Where Is Your Heart?,” Lisa recently launched Harvesting Happiness for Heroes, a non-profit corporation dedicated to bringing integrated psychology coaching tools and mindfulness training to Veterans and their loved ones. She has been featured on The Huffington Post, ABC and CBS television, Yahoo News, and Money Watch. You can visit Lisa on her websiteFacebook or Twitter.