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Article: What a Sunflower taught me

What a Sunflower taught me

What a Sunflower taught me

Optimism has been known to exude profoundly positive effects, including economic and health benefits. But looking at the assortment of grim news and the chaotic world we live in today, it is really hard to be all sunny. More so as some of us deal with genetic circumstances or socio-economic baggage.

Positivity can, however, be learnt. You do not have to fulfil a list of prerequisites or have a special talent of sorts so as to “attain” the ability to think optimistically. Moreover, the simplest of things can teach us the ways to grow towards positivity. Today, we have sunflowers teach us the simple ways of becoming positive and happier with ourselves.

A sunflower’s petals are meticulously dyed by the warm and brightly shining Sun. It also has a huge brown centre of smaller disk flowers that seem to give its petals a greater spotlight through the contrast in colours. A beautiful and often tall flower, it still grows magnificently with minimal conditions.

How does it stay so steadfast and positive and how can we learn from it?

Small seeds with a big dream

Sunflower seeds are not the biggest of seeds and they can look pretty much insignificant to us except for maybe eating it. But even as little as it is, each of these super seeds is jam-packed with vitamin E, selenium, niacin and variations of vitamin B. This sets the higher resilience that increases their ability to germinate.

Like these tiny, dull-coloured sunflower seeds, many of us were not born with a silver spoon in our mouths or had some genius capability at three months old. That said, we are worth more than what we seem to be. Each of us is equipped with our own special abilities. When fuelled with ambitions and dreams to help us mould ourselves into better people than we started out as.

That is also why one should not worry about being too small for a particular dream. These seeds never felt “too small” to shower in the grand rays of the noble Sun, and so should you not be afraid to dream of bigger, happier things in life.

Always face the Sun

If you have been in a field of sunflowers, you might notice that sunflowers always grow towards the sun. This is called heliotropism, occurring when the young sunflowers tend to face east as the Sun rises, then slowly turns west as the day passes. The reason for this phenomenon is, of course, to maximise photosynthesis so that they may grow well.

Many of us find ourselves in less than satisfactory relationships, be it with friends, loved ones, or even family members. Having to communicate with these people makes us tired, and sometimes less happy than before the interaction. This will, in turn, cause us to have a pessimistic outlook for the rest of the day. However, if you instead, look towards spending more time with the people in your life who share similar interests with you, can understand you, and are genuinely there for you, you will also end up feeling more rejuvenated and happier.

Look for the sunny people in your life and surround yourself with them. Love and care are one of the best ways to learn happiness and thus, optimism.

Do not be afraid of growing

The way a sunflower grows is this: it grows from the stalk -- its neck. One side of the stalk grows and the sunflower bends towards the sun, and then as the sun moves across the sky, the other side of the stalk grows. The only way a sunflower gets big is by literally sticking her neck out again and again and again. This is also the reason why many sunflowers are big and tall, they unabashedly reach out to the skies to attain the best nutrients for their growth.

Majority of us are afraid of taking the reins on our lives and chasing after our ambitions. Maybe we do not want to offend someone else, or perhaps it is the lack of confidence. As a result, we settle for ‘second-best’ or compromise with something that is not necessarily the place we want to be at. But how do we feel great about ourselves or our lives when we know there is something that could have been done to our situation?

If you have been feeling that way, then it is time to stop overthinking and casting unnecessary doubt on ourselves. Take the daring leap to reach for your dreams. Face your fears because life is too short to stay on the short end of the stick. I can assure you that you would feel a lot better than not doing anything and being left with a pessimistic ball of regrets and the same feeling of doubt.

"Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It's what sunflowers do."

-Helen Keller

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