There once was a girl with long green hair. She liked to travel, sometimes by foot, and sometimes with her heart and mind. In her journeys, she connected to her inner world and wise beings who shared their knowledge with her; this helped her to discover herself. This story is about one of those journeys.
She loved roses; every time she inhaled their mesmerising scent, it felt like she was taking in their essence. On a beautiful cloudy day, she decided to go to her favourite park with the beautiful rose garaden. There was an empty area a few steps away from the rose bushes, and she decided to lie down in the grass with her book; this was one of her favourite relaxing moments. She closed her eyes and started to listen to the bird songs coming from a tree a few meters away.
“Hello”, she heard at one point. The voice was very soft and friendly. She opened her eyes but couldn’t see anyone around her.
“I’m here look to your left”, said the voice again. The girl looked to the left, but she could only see the rose bushes. She then got up and started to walk towards them. When she got near, she saw a beautiful red rose who was moving around even though there was no breeze outside.
“Hi,” said the rose cheerfully. “Thank you for coming over. I feel a bit lonely today; my sisters are all sleeping, but I am not tired at all. Would you mind keeping me company for a bit?” asked the rose.
“Sure”, said the girl smiling. “I would love to!”
“Thank you. You are a lovely human. You know, I believe that humans and roses are similar” said the rose.
“Really?” asked the girl.
“You seem surprised,” said the rose. “Let me explain. Have you ever been hurt in your life?” asked the rose.
“Yes, I have”, said the girl. “I don’t like pain, but I know that it’s part of life; most of us either get hurt or hurt other people.”
“I saw that, and I find it very sad,” said the rose in a soft voice. “Actually, it’s the hurt people that I believe are like us roses”, said the rose.
“I’m confused”, said the girl.
“Well, think of my stem as all the pain from your childhood: bullying, grief, lack of love, rejection, abandonment, emotional and physical abuse. These hurtful events can leave scars inside you. You might not even be aware that they are there until you get older; until one day, when someone says or does something that makes you feel hurt. It can be someone that you love or a stranger, but in those moments, you might react without knowing why.”
“Yes, it has happened to me, and I see this happening to people around me all the time,” said the girl a bit upset.
“Think of all these reactions as defence mechanisms; they are like the thorns on my stem. These thorns formed in time without you even realising” said the rose with a sad voice. “The thorns can be anger, jealousy, manipulation, fear, addictions, walls that keep people out. Every time someone gets close to your pain, the thorns are there to protect you. To keep people away from the possibility of being hurt again.” continued the rose.
“You are right, hurt people and roses are very similar!” exclaimed the girl. “What about the part of you with the petals?” asked the girl.
“Oh yes, that part”, replied the rose. “I believe it was the pain from your childhood that caused your heart to break for the first time. Maybe without even realising, someone that you loved a lot made you believe with their actions or words that you were wrong the way you are. In that moment, you were rejected for the first time and your heart was broken. Imagine that your broken heart lies hidden in the centre of the rose, beneath the petals. It wants to heal, to love and trust people again, but feels that the price to pay is too high. It’s your broken heart that is afraid of being hurt again” continued the rose.
“That is beautiful,” said the girl with tears in her eyes. “I never thought about things like that before. I wonder how we can heal our broken heart?” asked the girl without expecting a real answer.
“It’s not easy, and it takes time,” replied the rose, “but it is possible. Show me how would you hold me if you want to take in my scent”, said the rose.
The girl placed both her palms facing up under the rose’s sepals and hip, holding it like it was the most precious gift in the world. She lowered her head, and with her eyes closed inhaled the mesmerising scent of the rose.
“I see that you already know the answer to your question”, said the rose happily.
“What do you mean?” asked the girl looking confused.
“The way to heal a broken heart is to hold it gently like it is the most precious gift in the world; just as you held me, with a lot of love and respect. The broken heart will start to open itself slowly and will heal in time”, said the rose.
“So, I have the power to heal someone’s broken heart?” asked the girl, confused.
“Yes, you do; but first you have to heal your broken heart” replied the rose. “Start by focusing on your thorns instead of focusing on other people’s. When you learn to accept and love yourself unconditionally, you will start to accept and love others unconditionally too. When you accept and love others unconditionally, you show them that it’s ok for them to accept and love themselves unconditionally as well.”
The girls had tears coming down her cheeks. She thought about all the times in her life when she was a rose and hurt the people she loved with her thorns. She remembered all the times she felt other people’s thorns hurting her but couldn’t walk away from them. It all made sense now, she focused on their thorns, instead of her own. She realised that she couldn’t change the past, but she had the power to change her future.
“You are right, rose!” the girl said. “Hurt people are like roses, if you touch their thorns, they will hurt you. Thank you” said the girl with a sad smile on her face.
“You’re welcome,” said the rose. “Thank you for keeping me company and listening to me; you are an interesting human. I will remember you.”
“I will remember you too, rose” said the girl. She got close to the rose, put her hands gently around it like she did before, and gave the rose a soft kiss on its petals.
The girl felt the warm sun on her skin. A leaf fell on her face, and she opened her eyes. She looked at the rose bush to her left and smiled; her heart was full of love and gratitude for the rose.
Note: This story is not about very abusive relationships, where the hope is that the person who abuses you will change and stop hurting you, if you accept them as they are. They will not change just because you want them to, no matter how much you try, hope and maybe even blame yourself because they are like this; the decision to change must start from them. Learn to love and put yourself first; you deserve to be treated with love and respect.