Succeeding Through Struggle

I came across a legend that captured my own experience with struggle so perfectly, I wanted to share it with you.

A Legend

Author Unknown


A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.  One day, a small opening appeared, and he sat and watched the butterfly as it struggled for several hours to force its body through the little hole.  Then, it seemed to stop making any progress.  It appeared that it had gotten as far as it could.


The man decided to help the butterfly, so he snipped off the remaining bit of cocoon.  The butterfly then emerged easily, but it had a swollen body and small, shrivelled wings. 


The man continued to watch the butterfly.  He expected, at any moment, the wings to expand and support the body, which would contract in time.  Neither happened!  In fact, the butterfly spent its whole life crawling around with a swollen body and shrivelled wings.  It was never able to fly.  What the man, in kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required to get through the tiny opening was the creator'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 freedom.


Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life.  If our creator had allowed us to go through life without struggles, it would cripple us.  We would not be as strong as we could have been.


And - we would never fly.

For those of you who follow my blog including my journey so far, you're aware I kept my financial disaster a secret from nearly everyone around me.  As I didn't share my situation with anyone, there was no opportunity to be bailed out.  For this, I am eternally grateful. 


The impact of not being saved from my own mess was the greatest gift I've ever received; the essence of which is captured perfectly in the legend of the butterfly depicted above. 


I'd like to thank those who supported me emotionally during my own struggle.


Specifically, and counter-intuitively, I want to truly thank those who didn't bail me out; who didn't save me when I needed saving.


What I mean by this is, had I told my closest friends and family about my circumstance as it was, they might've rescued me.  They might've, and more than likely would have tried to reduce my discomfort.  And, it is precisely this discomfort that allowed me to feel my potential and my unwavering ability to do what needed doing.


There is a big message here, which applies to enabling others in all regards, and that is, our real potential can't be touched when the consequences of our actions are so kindly (and with the best of intentions) reduced or eliminated.


So, if you face a challenge similar to mine, pray for support, not help, because, with so-called help, you'll never know what you're made of.  You'll never know how resourceful and capable you are. 


Any support should be in the form of encouragement; that is to solve your problems or accept advice (when solicited) for the best course of action, but never in the form of having your consequences removed - a bail-out.


When facing a big challenge, I hope for all of us, that our greatest advocates (those we love) won't ask how we will ever surmount the insurmountable, rather choose words which convey all the skills and abilities we do have (our capabilities) to face life's challenges.  Not "how will you ever" but "yes, you're more than capable, when will you start?"


So, thank you to those who let me struggle while standing patiently beside me (loving me anyway) as I experienced shame, humiliation, and finally liberation as I started to see all that was possible for me.