Are You Root Bound?

Are You Root Bound?

I have a plant that has not been looking too good lately. My husband suggested it might be root bound.

Those of you who have potted plants are probably familiar with this phrase. For those who are not…
When a plant is “root bound” it means that the life giving roots of the plant have become so numerous that they are actually stifling the growth of the plant. At that point you typically repot it into a larger pot with fresh soil. Sometimes you can try to divide the plant and have two plants, with fresh soil. You need to add the fresh soil to the newly potted, or divided plants, so that the roots have room to spread out and grow.

Jim, was right, the plant was definitely root bound. I think there may have been an equal amount of roots and dirt! I cut it back significantly, took out all the extra roots and replanted a few that still looked healthy. Fingers crossed that it not only survives, but thrives.

I got to thinking about how people can become root bound too. When I say “root” I am referring to family histories, traditions in families and businesses; the “we’ve always done it this way” lives that people may find themselves stuck in.

Sure, I saw the miniseries “Roots” (the old one) and I am a genealogy nut. I love digging into my family history. I agree that knowing your family history is important. It can be beneficial for medical purposes, and to discover the people and things that helped shape the person you are. However, our roots should not stifle our growth.

There are times when people can get so caught up in the past that they feel bound by the traditions and expectations for their future. Just as an example…
• Everyone in your family has always attended ______________ college, they expect you to as well
• It’s expected that you’ll go out and get drunk on your 21st birthday, everyone does it
• Your company gives gold watches upon retirement, even if you just got the latest techy watch last month
• You are expected to marry within your_________ (race, religion, financial status, etc.)

Those are just a few examples. Traditions and expectations based on the past come in many versions.

The thing is, perhaps that’s not what is best for you. You are not your ancestor, or predecessor. History does not have to repeat itself.

I do need to say that some roots are wonderful and a pleasure to continue, but it needs to be your desire, not something dictated by your roots.

If you feel that your growth is being stifled because you are “root bound,” it may be time to have a discussion with those who are attempting to dictate your future (and that person may be yourself). It’s okay to go in a new direction, as long as you have done your research and this is a positive change.


*Pam Horton is a certified Stress Management coach in the Raleigh area.*


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