The Human Tree

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character building blocks

 

Comparing life and death to a tree, serves as the best analogy of our situation. A tree grows from a small seedling, into a plant with roots that absorb the essential nutrition, which further aid the growth of branches and leaves, thus making it a fully grown tree. How do we look at the tree? We see the expanse of the branches, the denseness of the leaves, the vibrancy of the flowers and the amount of shade it provides. We grow in a similar manner and this same ‘tree’ perspective becomes our major fall. We never look at the root of the issue. We only judge by outward appearance.

“But the question of life and death is a very important one – one that we should give deep thought to throughout our entire lives. If we compare our existence to a tree, the question of life and death is like tree’s roots. While it may seem like we have a whole variety of problems and issues to deal with in life, they are no more than the leaves and branches, which are all connected to the fundamental root issue of life and death.”

The roots, the major cause responsible for the nourishment or undernourishment of the tree are overlooked just like the root cause of our daily issues. Leaves do not stay green by spraying various forms of chemicals or external applications on them. They only retain their health when nourished well from the roots. Same is the situation with us. You cannot correct a bad behavioral trait or an ill habit by criticizing, or rebuking. One needs to know the root cause before finding the correct answer.

But we have be conditioned and persistently trained in that superficial manner, be it knowingly or unknowingly. A child is not at fault for being irritable or unfocused, the parents are responsible for not nurturing the child’s strength and interests and failing to do that in addition to the consequential “scolding and blaming the child” strategy only makes it worse, highlighting the recklessness of the bearers.

There are certain building blocks that form a person’s character. If they are not put into place and further growth is not built on top of them at the right time, no amount of external and superficial filling, reinforcing, acquiring can strengthen the individual. That need for approval, acceptance or justification will only serve as a temporal secured state of fleeting feelings. Dependent on external sources to invalidate your insecurity will only get you this far. You will be constantly dependent on a tangible element, be it a physical object, material acquisitions, financial wealth or something as trivial as your status. Your behavior, actions and decisions will be based on these poorly reinforced beliefs.

Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.
– Abraham Lincoln

When we worry about what others think of us, we give in to their expectations and strive to live up to their vision of us. Sadly, not everyone knows us as well as we do just as others do not have the same dreams and envisioning of what our life can look like. So, when we live to strive for good character and meaningful goals we can paint a more beautiful picture of our lives than anyone could think of or would have otherwise.

Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.

– John Wooden

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