A Tale of Two Butterflies

Struggle is what hardens us, perfects us, enables us to reach our full potential. Yes, I guess we all want someone to carefully slice open our chrysalis and free us…

Do you know the story of the two butterflies?

A woman, clearing her garden came across two chrysalis’. Having destroyed their home, she brought both into her apartment and placed them in cotton wool to look after them. One day, she noticed one starting to move. Intrigued she watched as the tiny butterfly fought its way out of the chrysalis. It took more than quarter of an hour and when it finally emerged, it was exhausted and lay, seemingly near death, on the cotton wool for another five minutes before it finally unfurled its wings to their full beauty and flew off into the garden. Distraught at watching what she thought was a terrible struggle, when the second chrysalis started to move, the woman fetched a scalpel from her kitchen and very, very carefully sliced the chrysalis open so the butterfly wouldn’t have to endure the awful fight to break free.

And then she waited for the butterfly to unfurl its wings and fly away. And she waited. And waited.

The butterfly never unfurled its wings, its body remained swollen and the wings never, ever unfurled.

It is the act of struggling that actually enables the butterfly to fly. The fight to break free forces fluid from the body into the tiny capillaries of the wings which then harden as the butterfly lies there exhausted. It is the very struggle that completes its metamorphoses from caterpillar to butterfly and enables their beautiful wings to strengthen and for them to fly away. The butterfly that didn’t have to struggle was never able to reach its full potential – it was the struggle that hardened it and perfected it.

Struggle is what hardens us, perfects us, enables us to reach our full potential. Yes, I guess we all want someone to carefully slice open our chrysalis and free us, to take some of the effort and some of the hardship away, but then we would be like the butterfly unable to fly. We need to fight, to push through, to take time to rest and then fight again, and again, in order to harden ourselves and achieve our full beauty.

Every rejection, every disappointment is you trying, fighting to emerge from your chrysalis. Every fight and every setback only makes you stronger and more beautiful. One way or another we all emerge from the chrysalis, in our own time, stronger, and more beautiful than we could ever imagine. But just as it is in nature, so it is in our lives, it is the struggle, and the setback that makes us so.