A tree planted in a protected environment and deprived of environmental challenge will never develop roots strong enough to support its growth. Strong roots are a tree’s basic need, and adversity is thus essential to serving this fundamental need.
For humans, the same principle applies. However, there is a paradox when the basic need is belonging. Self-worth, developed by oneself as a response to not being fed reasons of worthiness through experience, may look like roots from the surface, but lack the strength to firmly grip the dirt.
Future roots are possible; even in isolation. It will take self-reflection, forgiveness and self-acceptance. It will be painful. But alas, struggle and conflict are key ingredients of fertile soil – proving once again that in order to grow we have to live through some fertilizer. The irony is that we are never alone on this journey – there are forests of trees in the same situation. All of which deserve strong roots, and with any luck, their roots will connect under the surface, where most of what makes life important exists.