Ten years ago, I bought a small orange tree to put on my balcony.
Since I was a child, the scent of orange blossom relaxes me and brings me well-being, so I always felt the presence of a certain unease.
I did not hesitate to decorate the balcony with the little tree, hoping that when it bloomed, I would observe its flowers and smell its aroma and this would contribute to my well-being.
It was a small tree and had intense green leaves. It had one longer branch that rose towards the sky, and to my joy, in just a few days, the orange tree began to fill with orange blossom and multiply its leaves.
That spring although everything was the same in my life, for me it seemed more like spring, because I had a beautiful orange tree on my balcony giving me the most beautiful flowers in the world.
The branch that rose upwards was filled with flowers and green leaves and for me it could not be more perfect.
One day some visiting relatives came and one of them, an older man, with some authority in the family and amateur gardener, said that the orange tree needed pruning so that it would grow more.
I did not say anything, partly because I did not want the antipathy of my in-laws and partly because I did not know what it was that I needed to prune from the tree.
A week went by, and as some flowers gave way to tiny green balls destined to become precious oranges, more flowers appeared and the scent of orange blossom continued.
One April afternoon my husband’s father came back, with a pair of pruning shears, ready to do what he had told me: to prune the orange tree so that it would grow more.
I did not object, and in just a short time he had cut the branch that ascended to the sky with its flowers and tiny oranges …
I could not keep my eyes from moistening with tears and my face flushed with rage. I still did not say anything and I remember my father-in-law looked at me and continued with the pruning. I picked up the branch from the ground and put it in water in an attempt to stop its death … I could not believe it!
My husband had not stopped his father pruning the tree, even though he knew how important that orange tree was to me. He had not protected me from his father.
The orange tree did not survive the pruning. It stopped growing and ended up dying. That spring turned out not be my spring.
Once again, I had let someone decide for me.
I had been educated to keep quiet, not express my feelings and pretend that everything was fine, and it took this incident for me to realize that I was not taking the reins of my life and was letting others make decisions for me… I became aware that it had always been this way and that I had to change.
Other moments of my life in which others had made decisions for me, came back to me. It became clear to me that I was not living my own life, as I was not making my own decisions and choices as I did not have the courage to express my wishes.
I used to think that I needed to let others feel good, although by doing so, it often made me feel bad.
After the orange tree died, I decided to change. I decided to learn to be my real self, and to be a woman who could change and grow.
And there began a wonderful learning experience for me.
There comes a time when excuses run out and we must take responsibility for leading our own lives. A life where others no longer make the decisions for us, but where you choose how you will live.
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Expert in Emotional Intelligence and positive psychology.