Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Be a Sunflower!

A long time ago, a wise old man was visiting a garden.

He walked around, admiring every flower and enjoying their colors and shapes, till he came to a young sunflower that looked quite sad. He stopped and asked the sunflower:
“Why are you looking so sad, dear sunflower?”

“Because I am,” said the sunflower in a grumpy voice. “Just leave me alone.”

But the old wise man continued talking, “Please tell me why you are so sad. Everything seems to be all right with you. You are growing well and you have good health and plenty of space to grow in. Then why are you so sad, O sunflower? Please tell me.”

The sunflower replied to the old wise man:
“Look over there near the entrance to the garden. Do you see the beautiful rose growing there? See how deep and dark its red colour is—that’s what I want to be like. My colour is all pale and yellow. The rose smells so good and strong while my smell is weak. No one likes me.”
“But you are very special,” said the wise man. “Everyone loves you just as much as they love the rose. You are special because you have such a unique bright colour that makes everybody feel full of joy and life. It makes everyone active. Your fragrance is also unique. No other flower can be just like you, you know,” said the old man, speaking from his many years of wisdom.

“But people come specially looking for the rose. They think it symbolizes beauty and love. They want it so that they can impress their loved one by gifting it to them,” complained the sunflower.
“If only you look at yourself and all that you have, you will always be happy, dear sunflower.

This is the secret of happiness. Look at your own self and see all that you have. See your beautiful abilities. You move every day with the sun…as the sun travels around the earth, you follow its path. And when it goes to sleep, so do you. The whole world believes you symbolize knowledge and wisdom, and everyone who understands life deeply appreciates you more than many other flowers for all your unique and special abilities.”
But the sunflower wasn’t really listening to the old man.

“As I said earlier, I want to be like the rose and that is why I am sad and unhappy. I want what it has got. Can you help me or not?” asked the sunflower.
“And as I said earlier my dear beautiful sunflower, if only you look at yourself and all that you have, you will always be happy. This is the powerful secret of happiness. On the other hand, if you always look at what others have got, you will make yourself unhappy and sad all the time. You will never feel that you have enough or are good enough; you will never be able to understand your strengths and you will never be able to be the best you can be. ”

“So the first thing is to stop wanting to be like any other flower and just to be yourself,” continued the old man. “Accept the fact that you are a sunflower; for this cannot be changed, even if you wish it to be otherwise. Accept also the fact that you are special and unique and that no other flower will be just like you, ever.
Once you have accepted this, then I can show you how to be happy and also become the best that
you can be.”

“You can be the best sunflower the world has ever seen, but you will never become a rose.
The choice of happiness and success is available to you and so is the choice leading to unhappiness and misery. Which one do you pick? Remember that looking at yourself and your special talents will keep you happy, but looking at others and wanting to be like them, or have what they have, will make you unhappy,” concluded the old man.

The young sunflower had been contemplating the words of the wise old man. They seemed to make a lot of sense, and so the sunflower decided to give it a try to see if it really could be happy and grow to become the best sunflower the world has ever seen. The sunflower no longer wanted to be the rose.
“Okay I am ready to become the best sunflower I can be “declared the sunflower.
With this statement, the sunflower stretched up tall and turned its face to the sun. As it looked into the golden light of the sun, it shouted “I am special because I am a sunflower. There is no other flower like me. I am Unique”
The whole garden was bathed in a golden glow and all the flowers started to smile.
The sunflower looked truly magnificent! The old wise man smiled too.
“You really are the best sunflower I have seen “he said.

“Its all thanks to you “smiled the sunflower “now I am VERY happy just being me. I will be the best sunflower that I can be!
Know who you are and be the best ‘you’ that you can be.

Focus on your strengths, and do not focus on what other people do.

Do not try to be something that you are not.

Be authentic! Instead of spending your energy comparing yourself to other people, put the energy into growing your strengths.

Every morning when you wake up, say to yourself ‘I am special!’… And remember the Sunflower story.

Note: Special thanks to Tayira for this post on Guru.

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