Borrowing thoughts today.. . Sometimes it's like someone else has read my mind. Kylie Alger, a certified wellness coach and co-owner of the Well-Woman: Body, Mind and Spirit (email@example.com) gets the credit for today's thoughts. Thanks, Kylie. This is great inspiration to keep on keepin' on.
A familiar story about the transformation of a butterfly is, "The Very Hungry Caterpillar." In this children's book, the hungry caterpillar eats and eats and eats until one day he sits on a branch, builds a cocoon, and then viola. . . "Out comes a beautiful butterfly!"
The butterfly's incredible metamorphosis sounds effortless, but what this simple story doesn't explain is the epic struggle a caterpillar endures to free itself from the confinement of its cocoon. I wasn't aware of such a struggle until I heard another story I will paraphrase here:
A little boy once found a caterpillar. He took it home, fed it every day, and watched the caterpillar grow until one day the caterpillar built a cocoon. The boy patiently watched the cocoon until finally, a small hole appeared where the butterfly would eventually come out. The boy was so excited, but the quickly became concerned because it looked like the butterfly was frantically moving inside the cocoon, looking like it wasn't making any progress. The poor butterfly appeared desperate, so the boy decided to help --- he hurried to get small manicure scissors and very gently snipped the cocoon to make the hole bigger so the butterfly could easily emerge.
But instead of big beautiful wings, the butterfly had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The boy continued to watch the butterfly, expecting that at any moment the wings would dry out, enlarge and expand to support the swollen body. But it never happened. The butterfly spent the rest of its short life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It was never able to fly …
So what happened? Why was the butterfly crippled? It turns out that the butterfly was supposed to struggle. The hardship of the butterfly working through the small opening of the cocoon is what forces fluid from its swollen body into its beautiful wings. Unfortunately, without the struggle, the butterfly's wings will never develop properly. The boy's good intentions ended up hurting the butterfly.
Just like a butterfly, we, too, can benefit from our struggles. Without obstacles, we would be denied the opportunity to grow and transform like a butterfly. Without struggles, we could end up like the crippled butterfly, with an inability to soar.
Without trying to sound cliched, it's like the quote, "Whatever doesn't kill you, makes you stronger." While struggling usually feels painful, it's often the struggle that builds resiliency. "I am thankful for my struggle because with out it, I wouldn't have stumbled upon my strength," says writer and wellness consultant, Alexandra Elle.
Take time to reflect on you life and identify times when you have struggled. With hindsight, you may discover that those were the times you grew the most, as those difficult times offered you the greatest opportunity for personal growth and transformation.
Take time to reflect on your life and identify times when you have struggled. With hindsight, you may discover that those were the times you grew the most, as those difficult times offered you the greatest opportunity for personal growth and transformation.
People who recognize their struggles as part of a bigger picture are often able to give meaning to their suffering and find themselves better equipped to take on other challenges when they arise.
"Whatever we face, we have a choice: Will we be blocked by obstacles, or will we advance through them and over them?" asks Ryan Holiday, author of "The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph."
If you find yourself in a struggle, don't be afraid of it. And if you haven't struggled in a while, maybe it's time to strengthen your wings by seeking new opportunities for growth.