Strength Through Adversity

As you embrace the start of the New Year, it’s important to give yourself room to grow. It’s also important to remember that growth is not always easy or obvious. I’m reminded of the following story, a valuable metaphor for embracing adversity:

A man found the cocoon of a butterfly. A small opening appeared. The man sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through the little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and could go no farther.

The man decided to help, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that at any moment the wings would expand, and the body would contract to the proper proportion.

Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around. It never was able to fly.

In his kindness and haste, the man had not understood something. A restricting cocoon and the struggle for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were nature's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need to become stronger in character and determination. If nature allowed us to go through life without any obstacles, we would not learn how to be resilient and powerful. We might never fly!

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