The Journey to Self-Love: On Becoming a Rose: Poem

George Eliot quote it's never too late to be the person you might have been

Anaïs Nin's famous quote: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” inspired me to describe how and why codependency or Self-Love Deficit Disorder (SLDD) "survives" because of the Self-Love Deficient's (SLD's) fear of consequences and of the unknown.

SLDs were raised in an environment in which any challenge to the status quo, or the ways of their pathologically narcissistic parent (Pnarc), put them in some form of danger, whether it was something bad that happened to them or something good that would be held back from them. At every juncture in the SLD’s childhood, they witnessed the Pnarc smashing all challenges to their power, dominance, and control of the family. Therefore, any potential for them to experiment and take risks as all children and adolescents do was crushed. These “crushed” children became adult SLDs who became adept at avoiding harm by hunkering down in a safe and risk-free adult SLD personality type. Instead of taking risks to explore possibilities, they stayed protected in the numb, lonely, but safe world of the SLD.

Written by Ross Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., CADC.
Self-Love Recovery Institute – President/CEO
PsychotherapistEducatorAuthorExpert Witness


Inspired by Anaïs Nin. “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”

Breaking through to self-love
is the most difficult journey
for paralyzed and anxious
rose bud people,
whose roots are deeply
and inescapably implanted
in the inhospitable soil
of forgotten and discarded dreams.

The long winters of waiting
tires any rose bud
who has had a lifetime
of disappointing dreams
of not being able to open up,
to share their nectar of self-love.

The sun-drenched landscape
where happy and fulfilled roses
freely bask in golden rays of love
to share their delicious fragrance
remains the forbidden sad dreamscape
for many a frightened rose bud

Rose buds dream
of throwing caution to the wind,
risking predictable harm
and inevitable pain
for the moment of pure happiness
when hope and love
overtake the loneliness of safety

We all start off as a rose bud.
Perfect and pure,
filled with potential
to become a most beautiful, unique,
and remarkable flower.

Wounded roses
who were neither protected
nor nurtured,
know only to hunker down
in a safe bud state,
to weather unpredictable storms.

History has demonstrated
that decisions to open up,
to bloom,
have predictably been met
with the opposition of
gale force winds
and torrential storms.

There comes a time
when the courage to transform
into a beautiful rose,
the one we always were,
but didn’t know about,
overcomes our fearful vigilance
to avoid further harm.

The time is now,
to allow ourselves to understand,
that the fear of harm
brought more suffering and losses
than would have the rain, wind, and frost.

We need to bravely
be optimistic about the world,
about ourselves,
and decide to no longer settle
for loneliness infused safety.

Deciding to bloom
allows us to come to terms
and accept
our frightened rose bud life,
and why our parents
could and never would
tell us about our beautiful flower.

It is time to discard our life
as a lonely self-love deprived
and unrealized rose,
and bravely allow ourselves
to transform into the flower
we always have been.

As we vulnerably and carefully
come to full bloom,
stretch our arms out,
and connect with an unpredictable
but potentially loving world,
we will experience,
for the first time
the freedom of a flower.

Only at this time
will we finally understand
the cost of mistaking ourselves
for a rose bud,
and not the flower we always were.

By Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC

The companion (to this poem) YouTube video:


Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.