embrace your 'loathe list'

I love gardens. I love flowers, plants, foliage and I stare for hours at the amazing maple tree in my garden. Edwards Gardens is one of my favourite places to take a walk in Toronto.

But I really, really, really hate gardening.

Furthermore, it is safe to say I suck at it. I don’t have the instincts, I always pick the wrong plants, and I simply don’t have the patience to putter in the garden daily. I love to get my hands dirty, but I don’t seem to reap much from what I sow. That unproductive feeling totally bums me out. Two years ago, my husband and I planted a huge squarefoot garden and we were totally inspired to ‘live off the land’ - or, at least, share home-grown tomato salad and grilled zucchinis with our friends. In the end, however, we invested over $500 and all we ended up with was some really strong, bitter celery. <Le sigh>

Facing the fact that I truly do not enjoy gardening has been an exercise in acceptance.

So what does this have to do with being an entrepreneur?

For some reason, I see entrepreneurs (like moi) really struggling with acceptance in all areas of their lives. Maybe it is because we have such high expectations and put heavy demands on ourselves. Or because we are crazy goal oriented. It is easy to get caught up in how we SHOULD feel, should look, should act, or where we should be.

In my daydreams, I WANT to be a good gardener, bond with Mother Earth and take instagram pics of perfect roses I grew myself (while sporting a delightful sun hat, of course). But it isn’t really going to happen unless I decide to dedicate a huge amount of time, effort and money towards that goal. And honestly, I don’t want to do that. Just thinking about it makes me wanna nap. And I need to own that.

Reflecting on this has made me ask myself, “What other things do I hate doing, but pretend I like doing, just to keep up appearances, or satisfy other people’s expectations?”. Not surprisingly, there are quite a few things I can put on the ‘Loathe List’.

It isn’t about the roses after all. It is all about releasing expectations and embracing my true wishes. While easier said than done, I am now at least aware of this head game I’m playing.

The guilt I feel for not being inspired to nurture nature, especially since I am lucky enough to have a garden in the city, is weighing me down. It is making me feel heavy, and I want to feel light. I can’t keep beating myself up because I prefer watching Netflix to planting marigolds.

It is ok to hate gardening. It is ok to hate cooking. It is ok to hate your volunteer job. And yes, I’m going to use the intensely strong word ‘hate’ because that is how I think most of you are feeling, but maybe are afraid to admit.

If we accept that we don’t like certain things - even if we do have to do them (kids need to be fed, I get it), then we can release the guilt and give it less power. We free up our energy. It just is what it is. It does not mean you are any less of a person, entrepreneur, spouse, parent or human being.

So no more pretending I like gardening. You hear me, you double-crossing hydrangeas?? We are done here.

And now I ask you, “What do you feel guilty about not liking to do, but keep doing anyway?”. Maybe, just maybe, it is also time for you to cross something off your ‘Loathe List ’- and keep it off for good.

To your brave success,
Alana