The Black Rose: “Gimme Something Real or GTFO”



The easiest way to build a real life for yourself is to learn to spot the difference between real and unreal in ourselves and others (so we can change, ignore or walk away from the unreal stuff).

In this context, ‘real’ means that you’re moving towards WHOLENESS via your true potential, you’re not blocking yourself with negative or irrational thoughts that distort your view of yourself, the world, and reality, and you’re not engaging in DRAMA or unhealthy ego dances with people that don’t support you and your growth (and who you don’t support in return).

Ultimately, this boils down to two incredibly important things:

  1. Having the best possible relationship with yourself.
  2. Having the best possible relationship with others

Really, these two things feed off each other because if you don’t work to ACCEPT yourself then you’ll never be able to provide the most amount of value you can to the world and have the best possible relationships with the people in it.

Because relationships are so important to living a ‘good’ (REAL) life, we need to be able to understand which relationships are worth keeping, which are worth ditching, and which are worth healing if need be.

This article gives you a simple but effective metaphor for just that.

Here we go:

Tending To Your Garden

In the metaphor that we’re going to run with, your life is a garden; you are the gardener and your job is to ensure that you take responsibility for making sure that your ‘garden’ is more populated with flowers (roses in this example, but you can use whatever you want) more than weeds.

This means that you need to realise that you have POWER over the garden and that if you take RESPONSIBILITY and make REAL CHOICES then this garden will be one that you actually want to spend time in.

If you don’t acknowledge your POWER, refuse to take RESPONSIBILITY and become passive and just let things happen or let nature take its course, then your garden will become overrun with WEEDS and it won’t be the kind of place you actually enjoy being in.

Roses or Weeds? That’s the basic choice for all of us but we have to step up and actually MAKE THE CHOICE otherwise we just end up living a life surrounded by unreal relationships and all of the DRAMA and BS that comes with them as everybody tries to uphold their own ego ‘stuff’ and act like an emotional retard (that’s what ‘weeds’ do).

In short then, the quality of your life will be affected by the quality of the relationships you CHOOSE to cultivate and nurture – first, the relationship with YOURSELF and then:

ROSES – the REAL relationships that add mutual VALUE to the lives of the parties involved.

WEEDS – the UNREAL relationships that don’t add mutual value and bring drama and unnecessary conflict.

Gimme Something Real or GTFO

Sometimes, we don’t realise how much power we have over our own ‘gardens’ and our ability to change the scenery.

All this means in practical terms is that it’s up to us who we ALLOW into our lives or not and that we’re more than capable of setting boundaries by saying “NO” to the unreal relationships and people that hold us back.

This might sounds strange if you’re emotionally attached to certain unhealthy ‘weeds’ that aren’t serving you but – actually, as an ADULT human being – you can kick absolutely anybody out of your life for whatever reason you want (that isn’t a recommendation that you should but just a reminder that it’s your CHOICE and you can do what you want without having to JUSTIFY yourself).

Here’s a list of ‘weeds’ that you can start to remove from your garden anytime you like:

-Fake friends that only seem to take from you and never give anything in return.

-People who don’t share your values or moral code and act in shady ways that go against your integrity.

-Family members that keep trying to fit you in a box or cause drama because of their own ego ‘stuff’.

-People you’ve outgrown for whatever reason and that are holding you back.

-Irrational people or emotional retards that are constantly causing trouble or problems for you.

-People that have stabbed you in the back too many times.

-Basically: anybody that you feel doesn’t BELONG in your garden (based on your true values, intentions, and moral code).

Get the trimmers out and say goodbye to those weeds.*

*This is an amazing thing and very empowering but it also means that if you act like a Weed people can trim YOU from their garden.

This doesn’t mean that you should get rid of anybody or everybody that annoys you – if you do that then it’s probably just your ego driving you and you’ll end up LONELY.

In the cases where people are clearly a drain on your time, energy, and attention, though – i.e. acting like bonafide WEEDS – then don’t be shy to step up and set a VALUE on your life that it actually deserves.


A simple – and very effective – rule of thumb to keep in mind here is as follows:


Make this one of your official standards for living your life and ensuring that the people you CHOOSE to keep around are bringing the REAL stuff (in exchange for you giving them the real stuff too).

How To Spot A Rose:

If you spot a Rose in your garden then you need to do the work of nurturing the relationship and keeping it there.

This means giving something real in return (quality time, energy, and attention), appreciating its value, and ensuring that you keep it away from weeds that might be trying to KILL the relationship.

Here’s how you can spot a ‘Rose’:

They bring joy to your life

A rose will bring a sense of joy to your life by allowing you to see life CLEARY and to be your REAL SELF.


This joy will bring energy to your life and make you feel more alive on account of the relationship being LIFE-ENHANCING.


Laughter often comes from a sense of shared TRUTH and that’s exactly what the REAL relationships are built on.

They support your goals and your purpose

The roses in your ‘garden’ actually want you to reach your goals and to move towards your life purpose because they have an ABUNDANCE mind set and your success is their success.

They help you learn and grow

The roses also realise that you won’t stay the same forever and that as life moves and those reality waves sweep over you then you’ll learn and grow into the next evolution of your realness (i.e. you’ll go more deeply into WHOLENESS – connection to yourself, the world, and reality).

In contrast, life is a little different when you let the weeds take over:

How To Spot A Weed:

They constantly make you miserable

There’s hardly and joy in your life when the weeds are involved because they’re unreal. This unreality brings FRICTION in the form of drama, frustration, and eventual MISERY.

They DRAIN your energy

The unreal nature of this misery-inducing activity will eventually drain you of energy and you’ll constantly feel depleted and lethargic around them (that’s what happens when you ALLOW the weeds to wrap themselves around you and to restrict your breathing).

There’s hardly ever any laughter

All this misery and untruth is hardly then environment for laughter (but there’ll be plenty of arguments and dramatic moments).

They belittle your goals and try to derail your purpose

The weeds want you to feel bad about yourself because they feel bad about themselves too. “Misery loves company”, after all, and so the weeds don’t want you to take action that might fill your life with more roses.

They don’t want you to learn or grow (usually so they can CONTROL you in some way and keep you the same).

Furthermore, a weed will constantly try and convince you not to grow or to do new things. This is because they don’t want you to OUTGROW them because if you do they might not have a hold on you anymore – it’s about CONTROL (so they’ll often use SHAME to try and stop you growing and GUILT to stop you doing things that are real to you as a way to convince you to stay the ‘same’).

Perhaps by reading that you’ll have already been able to see that some of the people in your life are ‘Roses’ and others are ‘Weeds’.

What you do with that information is up to you, of course, but in general you need to nurture the relationships with the roses and use them so that everybody can grow more real and you need to get rid of the weeds in whatever way works for you.

There is an exception to the rule, though:

Enter the BLACK ROSE

Sometimes, you’ll meet people in your  ‘garden’ that are hard to categorise as either a Weed or a Rose. Sometimes, they appear to be a friend; sometimes, they appear to be a foe. In this case, what you have is a Black Rose.

The Black Rose appears when you’ve taken a passive approach to letting people in your life but don’t get close enough to figure out if they have the potential to be a Rose that can add value to your life or if they’re just a Weed in disguise waiting to complicate things.

In this case, things could go either way – it’s up to you to take an active role towards making the relationship work for you (or stepping back if there are clear signs that the Black Rose will reveal it’s true nature as a Weed).

There are three main ways to handle a Black Rose appearing in your garden:

How to handle the Black Rose:

Figure out if their  ‘good’ side is real or not.

Sometimes, the Black Rose will look like a nice addition to your garden but the closer you look the more you realise that appearances can be deceptive.

Maybe, for example, they will constantly let you down by saying one thing but doing another. This mismatch between words and actions is suggestive that they are being untrue in some way.

Another sign might be that they constantly gossip or say negative things about the other Roses in your garden. This is a sign that they’re just a WEED in disguise trying to destroy things from the inside out.

Obviously, you should probably try and give people the benefit of the doubt but if the Black Rose gives too many signs that the ‘good’ is just a mask for weed-like behaviour then you should be wary (and be prepared to get the pruners out when things get more intense).

Figure out if their ‘bad’ side is real or not.

Sometimes, the Black Rose might just look ‘bad’ on the surface of things because they’re moody or have a strange sense of humour or whatever. It’s possible that this is just because they’re going through some ‘stuff’ and so you might be able to tend to it and turn it into a real relationship.

This depends on how much energy you’re willing to invest overall but it’s a good way to add more roses to your garden if you give the right people the benefit of the doubt.

Figure out if they’re ‘neutral’ or not.

Sometimes, a Black Rose is actually just ‘neutral’ and the best thing to do with it – if they’re not bothering you – is to just leave them in a corner of the garden where they’re just getting on with their own thing.

This applies to people that are ambivalent towards you and that you’re ambivalent towards (basically acquaintances on the periphery of your social network) – if you see them, you can say “hello” or whatever but you don’t have a particularly meaningful relationship with them and neither or you are really interested in one (for no particular reason – just how life is sometimes).


Your life is in your hands but you need to know that you have a responsibility to nurture the ‘garden’ and see things clearly.

You can do this by remembering “Gimme something real or GTFO” and making sure that you’re doing the best you can to cultivate the real relationships and let the unreal ones fall by the wayside.


If this story inspired or helped you then please share it with other! 🙂

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Hi, I'm Oli Anderson - a Transformational Coach for REALNESS and author who helps people to tap into their REALNESS by increasing Awareness of their real values and intentions, to Accept themselves and reality, and to take inspired ACTION that will change their lives forever and help them find purpose. Click here to read my story about how I died, lost it all, and then found reality.

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