Brookgreen Gardens; SC
“And then the day came when the risk to remain in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” - Anais Nin
“Out of vulnerability comes strength.” - Sigmund Freud
There are numerous stories of the struggle that an Emperor Moth goes through during the stage that it goes from cocoon to moth. At the caterpillar stage, its weaves a cocoon whose composition is such that it is waterproof and very tough. The caterpillar then remains in this stage from two to five years – sometimes even as long as ten. For someone who has been watching for such a long time, signs that the moth is going to emerge can be exciting. But when this time comes, the struggle for the moth to emerge is long and tiring. It is a common mistake for someone to try to assist the moth by cutting the cocoon. But, alas, a moth cut out of the cocoon emerges with stunted and useless wings. You see, the struggle itself is what strengthens them to the point that they are useful. If the moth is not allowed to go through this effort it will never know what it is to fly.
In life, it is often very difficult to watch someone else struggle when we are in a position to help them. The answer to their problems seems so obvious to us, and we think that by helping them we are improving their situation. But are we? Who among us has the wisdom to know when someone needs to skin their knee today so that they do not break their leg tomorrow? How can we be sure that rescuing the alcoholic or addict before they reach a point of misery deep enough that they seek help themselves won’t end up killing them? How can we just stand by and watch as our child foolishly makes purchases on credit, thus mortgaging themselves long term for a short lived happiness? How do we know that when we step in and try to tell others they are getting involved in a relationship with an unhealthy person that we are not denying them the pain they need in order to prepare themselves for a much better relationship later in life? Examples abound, but the question remains, how can we know if we are helping someone or are denying them the pain they need in order to grow?
Of course, if something is life-threatening we need to intervene as best we can – which in some cases will not bear any fruit anyway. But this is where we must learn to trust our intuitive voice. For if we nag them now in an attempt to get them to see things “our way” we will probably have completely alienated them when the time comes that they would have been prepared to listen to our guidance. It is tricky territory, but when are tempted to intervene in another’s life we need to ask ourselves – are we merely enabling the person’s behavior or are we actually being of service? This is one area of life where wisdom is much more valuable than good intentions.
Today, may I be prudent.
Happy Wednesday !!
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