What is the first thought that pops into your mind when you see a weed? Something annoying growing in your yard, garden or an empty lot? Do you glare with contempt at them for defying your landscaping efforts? Perhaps you think of something ugly or worthless. Maybe you are compelled out of embarrassment or aggravation to get down on your knees and yank them out of the ground. You’re not alone. Many have these images and feelings where weeds are concerned. The phrase “weed out” is interpreted as getting rid of the imperfect,the useless, the unwanted or intruders. 

What do you think about me as I tell you I happen to see and think of many weeds as engaging and interesting? Am I crazy? A tad misguided? Do you wonder about my sanity or eyesight? You’re not alone. I’m sure there are quite a few who think of me in one or all of these ways for writing this, especially those of you with green thumbs.

Weeds are not necessarily ugly to me and certainly not useless. Before you find something else to read, indulge me for a few moments and continue along with me here.

How weeds are viewed depends on perspective. The Meriam-Webster dictionary defines a weed as “a plant that is not valued where it is growing, a nuisance, unwanted in a human setting.” Humm. This definition is very profound, yet subjective to me. Think about it. A weed is not considered or defined as such when it grows where it belongs or where it is wanted by people.

There’s one particular weed which has always fascinated me. Henbit and Dead Nettle are the names assigned to it. This “weed” grows in clusters each spring, especially in the South. Some of these little gangs often spread to form small seas of brilliantly vivid purple. If you look closely, each resembles a combination of an ant, an alien and a Dr. Seuss conceptualized flower. They have lanky stems encircled by tiers of green frilly skirts, a scattering of purple eyes and oddly formed yet delicate hot pink and violet trumpet antenna.  Weed, smeed. To me, they are awesome.

When I was little, I happily would get on my knees and gather handfuls of these flowers for my mom. I’d get them from our yard, neighbors’ yards and along the roadside. The more I could find, the better. Mama was always delighted and never corrected my definition of them. To her, I was offering her gifts of quirky, funny looking flower bouquets. She would proudly display them in a small glass on her kitchen window ledge until they had absorbed all of the water. Then, I’d go hunt for more!

Have you ever felt you’re seen as a weed? Have you thought of yourself as one? Have you been defined as annoying, ugly or worthless? Perhaps you’ve felt out of place and wished someone would choose you over the seemingly perfect people. Have you ever viewed someone else as a weed? Not valued them? Are there people weeds in your community, school or even family? Do some who are different than you make you uncomfortable or quick to judge? Well, I sure have had those ideas of myself. I’ve been deemed a weed by others at one time or another. I could list many situations and moments where I’ve been characterized as useless or judged unfairly. When I accept that definition of me, it shows in my persona as I feel unwanted or misplaced in life. How grateful I am to those who have chosen or continue to choose to view me as a flower. I may be a bit funny looking or quirky, but to them I am valued and wanted.

I’m embarrassed to admit I have been guilty of defining others as weeds. Rude drivers, loud or annoying co-workers, neighbors or unruly kids. Sometimes it’s been a person ahead of me in line at a store who wafts a rather unpleasant odor. I have viewed some as wonderful one day and an intrusions the next. Even a well-meaning relative now and then can surface in my life as a weed. Wow. That admission was a hard one to divulge, but it’s honest.

When I am caring and unselfish, looking close enough to see people as flowers instead of weeds, great things happen and humbly change my perspective. The elderly driver in the middle of the road probably isn’t being rude. Older people are more cautious and sometimes their eyesight is poor. The boisterous co-worker or classmate could be trying to hide insecurities. The person with B.O. may be from a different country where deodorant is foreign to them and not necessary. That relative may get on my nerves because I choose to feel bothered rather than blessed.

If you have looked at yourself or seen others as weeds, consider your perspective. Instead of being embarrassed or aggravated, try picking bouquets of positiveness and patience. They’re wonderful! Place yourself in a beautiful glass and value yourself as lovely, quirky, funny and unique. Offer gifts of kindness. You’d be surprised at how you feel. After all, doesn’t everyone like to get flowers? Be kind to yourself and to others. I’m going flower picking!