Life Struggles Matter

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly but rarely admit the changes it has to go through to achieve that beauty” – Maya Angelou

It was a sunny spring afternoon. A man walked out into his backyard and found hanging on one of his bushes a large butterfly chrysalis.  There was no sign of life, but he looked forward to checking back the next day in hopes to find something new. Day after day passed and each time the man checked on the chrysalis, he was disappointed to find it remained hanging in stillness.

Then, one day when the man was just about to give up, he noticed some movement and there in the top of the chrysalis was a tiny hole. The man got so excited.  The butterfly would soon emerge, he thought to himself.  Several days went by, the tiny hole got a little bigger but not big enough for the butterfly to break free. It was obvious that the butterfly was struggling to get out and so filled with compassion, the man decided to help. Using a pair of scissors, he oh so carefully cut the tiny hole into a larger one, allowing enough space for the butterfly to emerge without any further struggle. Almost immediately a shriveled weary butterfly appeared in the beautiful sunlight.  Her wings were slightly disformed and her crawl was very weak.  The man was optimistic though, it had only been a few minutes.  He believed the butterfly would gain strength and start flying soon.  Unfortunately, the butterfly would never regain strength and she would never fly. (Adapted from The Butterfly Story) -Author Unknown

While the man had good intentions by setting the butterfly free, it was the worst thing he could have done.  You see, when a butterfly is still in the chrysalis, she fights to get out by pressing against the inside walls of the chrysalis.  As she presses, blood, life, and strength are pumped into her wings and the greater her struggle, the stronger and more beautiful her wings become. Without this struggle to get out of the chrysalis, the butterfly will never reach her full potential. The butterfly needs to go through this challenge to fly!

Imagine for a moment!

Your life challenges represent the chrysalis in this story. What struggles are you currently facing? Are there days when you feel like giving up and giving in? What about this last year? What challenges are still lingering? Maybe a health problem, an employment challenge, or relationship issue?  What are your challenges teaching you? What have you learned about yourself? Thinking about the struggles you have overcome, how are you a better and stronger person?

What if it’s a loved one?

Maybe your life struggle right now is a child or loved one who is continuing to make poor choices for their life or are struggling to get out of their own life chrysalis? Do you find yourself, like the man in the story, wanting to save, rescue or fix their current life challenges?

Imagine now!

What do you want your life to look like in 6 months from now or even next week? What do you need today?  What is missing in your life right now? What’s going well in your life right now? What’s one small action step you can take to begin moving forward?

Regarding that child or loved one, what are you doing for them that they really can be doing for themselves? Are you taking ownership of their struggles and the responsibilities that belong to them? Are you trying to make changes in their life where you really have no control? Do you worry more about their life than they do?  In what ways can you support them without saving and fixing while they are struggling to get out of their chrysalis?

Wherever you may be on your path, remember……. For the butterfly to share its beauty with the world, she will need to go through struggles!

Life Challenges are inevitable. But as we continue to press on toward our dreams and desires, our wings are becoming stronger and more beautiful!

Every day I get the opportunity to help coaching clients who are stuck or caught up in the circumstances of life. If you are caught up in your own struggles or having difficulty setting boundaries with a loved one, I would love to have a conversation with you.

Remember, You, Your Life, and Your Relationships Matter!


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