Mydaughter once received a beautiful bunch of flowers for her birthday. These flowers had their individuality, they were beautiful and professionally arranged. 

After about a week, there was a funny smell in the house (oh yes the flowers were still holding on even though they were getting less attention).

I couldn’t figure out what was smelly and everyone in the house thought it was just my OCD tendencies again.

Later that day I needed to use the table and had to move the vase. As I picked it up, the smell like rotting cabbage almost made me throw up (well, a bit of exaggeration I know). 

I wondered what could be so smelly because all the flowers still looked so beautiful and fresh. Upon inspection, about four unique green flowers have been causing the smell. It was easy to identify them because they stood out even though I never paid too much attention to them in those last few days. All I saw was a bunch of beautiful flowers.  I took them out and threw them away.

I asked myself how something so beautiful and unique, that brought life and beauty, could spoil the whole arrangement.


I couldn’t help myself but started paying close attention to the flowers and their arrangement.

They were different, each had its character, own smell but together they looked beautiful and complementing each other.

I also noticed some flowing hanging green leaves. Well, truth be told, the only green plant I know very well is something that can alter my state of thinking and make me “believe I can catch the sky” or feel that I deserve a golden ticket from Idols Competition judges. Anyway, it turned out it was an Ivy flower.

Why Ivy if it is called “Poison Ivy”? I wondered.

But wait, not all of them are poisonous. This Ivy symbolized strong bonds and long-lasting friendships. 

I stared at these flowers as if I was seeing them for the first time. This time, with much interest. I started analyzing them with a huge smile on my face. They got me thinking!

We have beautiful flowers and not so beautiful ones.

Some have bright eye-catching colour combinations, whereas some are plain but yet striking.

Some can look like they are too much because they are different.

Some, like Ivy, can make one think we do not need them but, they are the ones that are keeping the arrangement together inside the vase.

Some can spoil the whole arrangement if not taken out in time and thrown away.

I couldn’t help but think of relationships we have with different people, and the reasons some are in our lives and some we had to part ways with. 

If you think about it, relationships/friendships are like a beautiful flower arrangement.

We have people with different characters

We have voices of reasons

We have reckless ones

We have more outgoing ones and more reserved ones

We do not always agree on certain things

We sometimes hurt one another, either intentionally or unintentionally

Sometimes we feel aggrieved

Sometimes we feel unloved and unappreciated 

Sometimes we feel lonely and like we don’t belong

Sometimes we have to part ways with others along the way

But we still recognize the “oneness” that comes with the unique bunch (relationships/friendships). 

We need to learn to appreciate one another

We need to build one another

We need to learn from one another

We need to forgive one another

We must always embrace each other’s shortcomings because they make us complement each other. We all bring a different perspective in each other’s lives.

We need to nurture those friendships/relationships dear to us.

However, sometimes we need to cut out toxic relationships/friendships for our good like I had to remove those flowers from the whole arrangement. If we don’t, we risk spoiling what we have by contaminating it with the energy that brings nothing good in the union itself. Wisdom is identifying those toxic characters and lovingly walking away from them. I say “lovingly” because I believe that there is something to take away from any relationship. We need some people in our lives to make us learn more about ourselves, and therefore make a conscious decision on how we can be better and not bring the same energy we never welcomed.

It is, however, amazing how many people (myself included) sometimes let the same toxic people stay in our lives because of guilt and fear of judgment.

We come up with all the different reasons we cannot cut them off. We need to stop worrying about what people will say and start worrying about our mental well-being. No matter how nice they can be, certain people are just not good for our well-being. If we think that we are being selfish and unreasonable to part ways with them, but deep down we know we need to let them go, then we are not true to ourselves. We will always walk away unhappy whenever we have had any form of interaction with them. 

Let us always treat our relationships/friendships like a bunch of flowers. We need to water them with kindness and love, regularly trimming the leaves that are drying up. When needed, get rid of those that will spoil a beautiful bunch.

Maureen Morapeli