One of our toddler’s favorite books right now includes a line that reads “You can’t see the flower grow” and it really resonated with me. Mostly because I had to really think about how I felt about that sentiment. Like a lot of us since the pandemic started, I do quite a bit of indoor gardening, and experimenting with propagating new plants, and watching how quickly some of them change and grow — impressive, noticeable differences overnight. That’s growth you see, you can measure it. It’s clearly grown. And if you set up a camera and rewatch that footage, you’ll obviously see it grow.
However, I also agree that it can be difficult to actually see the growth happening when you are focused on it. You need to be able to look away and then look back and see the difference. That’s when it feels the most profound, it seems.
I know that I don’t often notice even major growth in my mental health until a little time goes by, something happens to measure that growth, and only then am I able to see it. Even though the moment right before whatever happened to offer that opportunity, I didn’t feel or see the growth, it had already happened and had been happening all along.
That thought is inspiring to me, a reminder that growth can be difficult to see when you are zeroed in on what’s growing with no other perspectives. We often just need to take a step back and focus on something else for a while.
Nikki is a photographer, writer, artist, and advocate of radical self-love. She writes about mental health, gaming, sex, and inclusivity.