The Process of Owning our Potential

“When we plant a rose seed in the earth, we notice that it is small, but we do not criticize it as “rootless and stemless.” We treat it as a seed, giving it the water and nourishment required of a seed.

When it first shoots up out of the earth, we don’t condemn it as immature and underdeveloped; nor do we criticize the buds for not being open when they appear. We stand in wonder at the process taking place and give the plant the care it needs at each stage of its development.

The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential. It seems to be constantly in the process of change; yet at each state, at each moment, it is perfectly all right as it is.

A flower is not better when it blooms than when it is merely a bud; at each stage it is the same thing…a flower in the process of expressing its potential.”
― W. Timothy Gallwey, The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance


I came across this quote recently, and was struck by the appropriateness of it’s application to the process that I walk through with my clients in therapy. And that I walk out in my own life. And that we are all walking out as we are in this process of changing, growing, and learning. And so I am taking a brief break from the blog series Choosing Love that Lasts to share it’s significant impact.

Too often I do not give myself or others the permission to fully be “in process.” And yet, we always are. There is no arriving at some end goal, and try as we might, our lives do not seem to move in a linear progression where we some day achieve and arrive at the final destination of fully actualized, healthy, whole, and then coast there until we die. Its probably more like a plate of tangled spaghetti where every one piece is intermingled and touches countless other pieces that all keep looping back around each other. We are always in process, always on a journey. Always being refined, renewing our thinking, becoming more aware of our identity and the potential that is locked inside of us. And no stage of that process is “less than” in importance, significance, or potential. It just is.

Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential.

If only I could get just this one part, I think it would drastically change how I view myself and others.


How would a greater grasp on this concept alter your life or the lives of those around you?

About Liz Fava, LPC

Liz provides individual and couples therapy for adults, including counseling for dating, engaged, and married couples. She also conducts couples workshops, and training and supervision for therapists.