It’s not just their lovely colors that attract me to them, but I love their "story." I'm impressed by how the butterfly starts out as an unattractive, worm-like creature and eventually becomes a beautifully winged wonder.
A few days ago, I decided to read more about them and in doing so I became even more amazed by what the caterpillar goes through as it becomes a butterfly. And I identified five lessons that us humans can learn from that process.
Butterfly Lesson #1: Sometimes your environment won’t let you be who you’re supposed to be.
The caterpillar matures and grows, but the skin that it’s in doesn’t. That skin remains tightly wound around the body, but the caterpillar's body can’t be contained by it, so it sheds it. It lets it go.
Sometimes, we have to shed our own skin. We have to change our environment and adjust our way of doing things so that we can mature. Only then are we able to fully experience all that life has to offer to us.
Butterfly Lesson #2: Real change is a process.
Did you know that the caterpillar sheds its skin five times before it becomes a butterfly? I had no idea!
This reinforces for me that it takes time to make the changes necessary for lasting transformation. And, if at first you don’t succeed… you know the rest. It may take five (or more) times before you get your wings and are ready to soar.
Butterfly Lesson #3: Don’t forget your past.
The caterpillar doesn’t discard that skin that once housed it, instead it eats it. Yuck, but…
This suggests to me that we should take our lessons, chew on them, digest them, and always remember them. This will help ensure that we don’t repeat the same mistakes and provides a better chance of us making lasting progress.
Butterfly Lesson #4: Change hurts.
The caterpillar has to work hard to remove itself from its old skin. Its a process of wiggling and squirming and wiggling some more and, if you could ask it, I’m sure the caterpillar would tell you that it hurts!
We often experience discomfort and pain as we free ourselves from the people, places, situations, and mindsets that no longer fit who we are. We second guess our decisions and we worry ourselves sick because change takes us out of our comfort zones and forces us to do things that can be very difficult. And that hurts.
Butterfly Lesson #5: Only you know when.
Scientists know that the caterpillar sheds its skin five times before becoming a butterfly, and they know that the entire process usually takes about two weeks. But exactly when that ultimate transformation happens is unknown. It’s a personal thing between God and the caterpillar.
I love that. God really is the only person who can force you to take the steps necessary to ensure that you evolve and become all you are destined to be. And while family and friends can tell you what they think, and give you good reasons to support their positions, they really can’t force your transformation.
It’s not until you feel yourself trapped inside of a cocoon that simply no longer fits that you’ll hear from God, start your wiggling, wiggle some more, get your wings, and FLY!
Don't take it from me... take it from the butterfly.
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