In my last blog post I mentioned needing some space over the summer after an emotionally-draining spring. Well what better way to create space (at least between my ears) than with a little reality TV?!
I’ve made no secret of my obsession with Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise. Because I fancy myself a real housewife too, I’ve gone beyond just bringing them into my home on TV each week. I’ve brought one of their traditions to my family’s nightly routine.
In Season 9 of the Real Housewives of New York, Bethenny Frankel prompted her fellow Bravolebrities to name a rose and thorn (i.e. best and worst moment) of their cast trip to Mexico. This ritual quickly spread through the Bravo universe, becoming the final question of several Housewives end-of-season reunions and Bravo’s Daily Dish podcast.
Oh… and my family dinner table. That’s right. Every night, Josh, Penelope and I go around the table and share our roses and thorns of the day.
Sure, some moms take their parenting cues from “experts” like the good Doctors Sears or Ferber, but if I want to listen to a bunch of crybabies carry on for hours at a time, I may as well binge-watch a season or two of Housewives and get to enjoy it. Besides, the Rose and Thorn Method has been an incredibly effective way for our family to navigate life together, and I’ve got a hunch it can help you bloom in your life too.
STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES
Although it’s probably against the rules to pick it as my rose, the highlight of my day is hearing each family member share the highlight (a.k.a. rose) of theirs. Many days we get to celebrate each other’s accomplishments. On others we’re forced to work together to find something to be thankful for in the midst of a no good, very bad day. But each and every day, we are mindful to identify something positive that happened.
Most of us take time to acknowledge the big days like birthdays, anniversaries and promotions, but what about all of the “every days” in between? If you’re like most folks, your days are busy and full of tasks to be done at home, on the job and everywhere in between. It can be easy to get so busy “living” that you don’t leave time to admire the blessings that are blossoming around you. Go-getters chasing big dreams are especially likely to move on to the next task at hand without stopping to appreciate a job well done or recognize an opportunity as the gift that it is.
Maybe you’re having a hard time identifying any roses in your life right now. The prick of just one tiny thorn can hurt so badly that it’s hard to focus on anything else. If you’re feeling the sting of more than one challenging circumstance, the blinding pain can make it nearly impossible to see beauty around you. Some seasons are just plain harder than others, and life won’t always hand us a bouquet of blessings. It’s important to remember that even a single rose is beautiful – especially in a season that’s otherwise void of bounty.
When is the last time you stopped to smell the roses in your life? Precious moments occur each and every day. By identifying them in your own life, you’ll be able to consistently appreciate the beauty of the present instead of constantly looking to the future for happiness or dwelling on the pains of the past.
EVERY ROSE HAS ITS THORN
If focusing on the positive cultivates a more positive mindset, then surely acknowledging the negative is just inviting negativity into your life, right?
Unfortunately, everything doesn’t come up roses all the time. That’s why every night each member of my family shares one thorn, or low point, of the day. Although it’s not nearly as fun as sharing our roses, valuable conversations often happen as a result.
If you’re a glass-half-full gal like myself, you may find it more comfortable to cover up the prickly parts of life than to properly deal with them. After all, it’s way more fun to dance among the flowers than to spend time pruning the garden. Plus, if you post a picture while you’re boogieing through the blooms, you won’t have to worry about others judging you. It can feel much easier to pretend everything’s perfect than to open yourself up to scrutiny and admit the roses aren’t always redder in your patch.
Above: Actual footage of me glossing over life’s thorns. (source: GIPHY)
Perhaps you’re the opposite, and you tend to linger in life’s thorns. The longer you hang out in them, the more you get hurt until you’re too wounded to free yourself from the thicket that’s grown around you. While there’s no way to prevent painful moments from happening in life, you do have the choice to use them to move forward positively or to let your wounds fester and linger.
Whether you’re trying to cover up life’s thorns or you’ve let them grow uncontrolled around you, you’re bound to get poked eventually… ouch! So let’s find some purpose in life’s pain, shall we?
Thorns may feel like obstacles, but they are actually opportunities. If bad things have to happen – and they will – then make something good out of them by learning from the experience. Acknowledge each challenge you face, apply what you learned from it to your life and then move on – stronger than you were before the pain.
BLOOM WHERE YOU’RE PLANTED
As I reflect on my summer, I’m happy to have a bouquet full of rosy memories to look back on like the road trip my husband and I took to celebrate our 10th anniversary and many afternoon adventures spent with my daughter. But hidden among them are some prickly situations too: uncertainty in some areas of my life that I thought were nailed down but were suddenly out of my control, unmet self-imposed expectations and some transitions that have come with growing pains. That’s why this week I’m using the Rose and Thorn Method to help assess what brings me joy, acknowledge the painful things that need to be addressed and plan for the immediate future so I can bloom in this next season of life. I hope you’ll use this Real Housewives ritual to help you bloom where you’re planted too.
YOUR CHALLENGE: Use the Rose and Thorn Method to reflect on your current season in life and plan for the next one so you can blossom and thrive.
Look back over the last season of your life and write down all of the roses and thorns (i.e. highs and lows) you’ve experienced. Really take some time to recall all the things that brought you joy or upset you, no matter how big or small.
Appreciate your roses. Do you see any trends? What are the things that made you the most happy? Make a plan to intentionally incorporate more of this into your life.
Acknowledge your thorns. Maybe you see trends here too. What can you change so that you don’t keep getting pricked by the same thing again and again. If you experienced an isolated incident that caused you pain, celebrate that you’ll never have to live through it again, learn from it and move on.
Now look ahead. Prune any thorns that you can from your life so you don’t get hurt by them in the future, then plant more roses into your plans so that you have even more blooms in this next season of life.
P.S. Sharing Is Caring! Ask your significant other, family and friends to take the challenge, then share your findings with each other. Knowing what your loved ones consider roses helps you understand what they value and how you can best show them love, while learning the thorns they feel the deepest will keep you from unintentionally poking their sensitivities and insecurities. Likewise, they’ll learn how to help you bloom too!