Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Psychology of Roses

     I've never been a big fan of roses.  As a plant, they are difficult to keep healthy and require a lot of care.  They are covered with pokey, hurty bits that like to make me bleed.  They look dead for much of the year, and when they finally bloom there is still a very low beauty to pain-in-the-ass ratio.  The flowers are pretty, yeah, and sometimes they smell good, but I do not find the effort worth the result.  As a romantic gift, I find them even more wanting.  Overpriced because of emotional value-based inflation, uncreative at best, and they do nothing but look pretty, then die.  (I have to admit here that the only time I have ever been given flowers they were a handful of daisies High School Boyfriend gathered on his way to the bus one morning.  So I may be a bit biased.)

     Psychologically, I understand the reasons many people like to grow and care for roses.  There is a tangible result to the work involved when it (finally) blooms.  It gives people a sense of accomplishment to tame the wild thorny rose, to keep it trimmed and civilized.  If you don't, the rose will return to its natural, wild state.  So to cultivate roses is to change the world, in a sense.

     Unfortunately, most people seem to feel the same way about those they love.  If only we try hard enough, we can change someone's nature and make them civilized/happier/less of an alcoholic/more affectionate/interested in family/more how we want them to be.  The ability to accept and appreciate people who what they are, and not who we would like them to be or think they might become in the future, seems to be a rare quality.  This is obviously related to my idea of turning "I love you, but..." into "I love you because," but it's not quite the same.  Changing one's opinion in that manner takes conscious thought, but loving people for who they are and not some distant ideal should be a natural and automatic trait.  Ideally, that is.

     Personally, I like the wild roses.  The full and bushy habit, the delicate and sweet-smelling flowers, the resilience, the ability to grow many places... I find all of those things much better than being difficult and the need to fit a description that doesn't come naturally.