The Sunflower Effect

I read somewhere that during cloudy days, Sunflowers do not droop down, rather they turn towards each other, deriving energy and happiness from one another. It’s called the sunflower effect.

A few years back, I retired as the Deputy Manager of Health Services at an MNC. The work was satisfying but taxing at the same time, and left little time to devote to my family. So, after retirement, I thought of working in something other than the medical sector because I wanted to be happy with my work while having time for my family too. That’s when I thought of establishing a chain of “Sunflowers”. 

There are many times when we feel depressed or repressed, but fearing family prestige we are reluctant to discuss it with even those we are close to. I experienced it myself once when I was in a dilemma over how to utilise my time constructively. While some people kept reminding me that I was wasting my medical degree by not practicing, others coaxed me to join a hospital, etc.

It made me feel really guilty and I was almost convinced that I had made a grave mistake by not continuing my practice. It was at this point that an old colleague called me. It was a surprise call. She enquired about my health, my family, and whether I was enjoying my life. There was no reference to anything to do with medicine and she just asked if I had seen any new movies and plays, joined any club or NGOs, etc. 

It was such a refreshing conversation that I instantly began to feel better after the call. It struck me that earning money at the cost of one’s family and interests, or joining a big NGO just to get validation from peers is not the only means of getting happiness and satisfaction. In fact, there is a greater sense of satisfaction to be derived in giving happiness to others. We can be like “Sunflowers” to others by being positive when we talk and be good listeners when they share their woes. 

People who work for us, as the household help, drivers, guards, sanitation workers, and even the vegetable vendors are all our stakeholders. Being a sunflower to people can ease their burden and if we do not care for them when they need it, how can we expect society to be caregivers to us?

Once my maid, normally a very chirpy and talkative girl, was very quiet and had a glum expression on her face. I immediately asked her the reason. After a lot of coaxing, she told me she was having a difficult time living in a joint family. I talked to her, counseling her (in private) so she could continue living with her family and still be happy. Gradually, she regained her old liveliness with a little effort on my part and it established a bond between us. So, now when she sees me in a glum mood, she immediately enquires if everything is ok. Just hearing the concern in her voice gladdens the heart. 

While “you know who” tells me that I talk a lot, and with everyone, but if the people I am dealing with are not in a good frame of mind, it makes me want to reach out. The way I look at it, if just by talking and listening attentively, I am able to alleviate the sorrow of a  person, what is the harm? I have continued the practice of picking up the phone and calling up long lost friends and relatives. I realised there are many people out there waiting for their “Sunflower” to turn to in their cloudy days.

So, oblivious of what tag you get from others, once in a while call up to talk to your near and dear ones. Just look up when your maid comes to work to see if she is ok, or when the sanitation worker rings your bell, just ask if he needs a glass of water. Be the Sunflower for others, and who knows when someone might be the same for you on your cloudy day.

Sunflower effect
Rajyashree Sinha
Rajyashree Sinha

I am a retired doctor, now busy in keeping family and friends connected. With two grown-up children who are now well settled, I love taking care of my housekeeper’s family like my own. I am health conscious and love being around my pets.


Image Credit : Shutterstock

24 thoughts on “The Sunflower Effect”

    1. Lovely article and so true and motivating straight from the heart love you didi for being our sunflower

  1. Dr Rajyashree Sinha should have switched to freelance journalism after retirement. She has very good command over English language and capable expressing herself frankly!

  2. Wow mam
    Superbly expressed
    Being a Sunflower for someone is not an easy task
    Very motivating

  3. Lovely and inspiring article. This is one.of the way to help others and stay in touch as well. Good to see you active and engaged this way.

  4. It’s nice to keep u active and have nice feelings in heart for needy…..great. Waiting for some more such articles. All the best.

  5. Really motivating Aunty. Showing sympathy we all do but being empthatic is what matters a lot. I have realised this with my personal experience.

    Thanks for expressing yourself so candidly.

    1. Thank you so much beta. I value your opinion the most, as it is always thoughtfully given

  6. Beautiful inspiring article dear Rajyashee. To become sunflower and to become the sunshine is the actual purpose of Life either Professionally or as Best listener beand by empathetic gesture . Congratulations aand Best wishes to you. God bless.

  7. Great Raj…All the best in your new role of Sunflower. Nothing makes you happier than making someone Happy. Keep going…
    Very well expressed & written…Congratulations!

  8. A very nice motivating article.The example of Sunflower is so unique.Great work Aunty Jee.Looking forward for some more article from you.

  9. Concern for others through Sunflower story is appreciated.During Corona lockdown our maid servant wanted to send money to his son.She approached me and I felt so happy to help her through my mobile banking app.Within no time her son received the amount in his account.Your well written article compelled me to share this recent incident under comment section.Keep up your writing skills.

  10. Very aptly explained. We need to certainly focus on suxhthoughts especially when you are free from your routine job work and duty. Such thoughts are the energy boosters for self and also to the person whom you are associated with like the way you explained with example of sun flower. Well written….keep it up!!!

  11. Very straightforward and simple way expressed in this article to live life in content.
    Lesson learned!!

  12. This is my second attempt to write a comment! Hope this gets posted before disappearing into the ……
    Very well written and expressed! May your efforts be always rewarded, and you and people like you keep “being sunflowers!” Enjoyed reading it. You always wanted to be a journalist, and had a way with words.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *