This coconut is trying valiantly to survive. It has grown a green shoot to reach for the warmth and light of the sun, and with rain, it can receive the water it needs, but the third ingredient for its survival is missing. There is earth underneath but venturing into the soil for its nutrients is prevented by the barrier of the rocks and other debris this coconut had landed on when it fell from its tree. There is green grass nearby – how sad to think that just a few inches away the coconut could sink into the earth to grow its roots and reach its potential. I think, if I move it, give it a push, would it then be able to complete its life process?
We humans are subject to the environment in which we are born. As infants, warmth, water, food are provided for us; if not, we do not survive. Reaching our potential is also affected by what the environment provides as we learn to become independent. Sometimes the environment into which we are born does not support what we need to reach our potential. What happens if emotional support, affection, and validation are missing? How well do we learn to create our own nourishing environment? Do we need a push to reach our potential? More significantly, do we, ourselves, need to seek out a more nourishing environment so we can reach our potential?
The environment can also be physically harsh; the terrain, the climate, the distances we must travel, the stress of surrounding noise, all contribute to the difficulties we experience in reaching our potential.
While we are young, even though the physical place is not the most nourishing, we are able to adjust if the human support is there to support our development.
As we age the environment becomes more important for the maintenance of our health. A harsh environment can diminish our mobility which can cause decreased social engagement opportunities and access to learning activities, all factors in the maintenance of physical and mental health.
Like the coconut trying to survive, is a push necessary for us to change our environment when needed? Can we give ourselves that push? Do we even know how?
Like any other life skill, the how can be learned. There are many life stories that model for us. There are coaches, mentoring groups, and programs to help. Start your own exciting search!