In thinking about what builds resilience or grit, I’m reminded of the story about the butterfly about to emerge from its cocoon. The enthusiastic child spent hours awaiting the butterfly’s metamorphosis. Out of compassion for the struggling creature, the child cuts open the cocoon to help the butterfly free itself. The child didn’t realize that the resistance of fighting to get out of the cocoon is essential to the butterfly’s development. The butterfly’s weakened body and shriveled wings kept it from flying and ultimately shortened its life.
Being in a cocoon isn’t comfortable, it’s hard. It can be difficult to see an end in sight.
2020 was a cocoon year. Being in a cocoon isn’t comfortable, it’s hard. It can be difficult to see an end in sight. It can be full of struggle and challenges. The upside of this test in resilience is that it can build strength and teach us lessons we wouldn’t have learned under other circumstances. Cocoons are messy, confining and not easy to escape. They can also be opportunities to re-treat, re-evaluate, and re-group.
Expert on “grit,” Angela Duckworth advises that our physical reactions to stress are normal. It’s how we label them that gets us into trouble. In a recent podcast on “Find Your Grit in a Crisis”, she states that to deny that we are not supposed to be stressed during these challenging times is what is abnormal. Acknowledge how you feel and reframe your response.
As we go into 2021, so many are anticipating the freedom that new life can bring. Nature has its own timing and so does the new year as it unfolds. If you still feel “cocooned,” it can be an opportunity to build your resilience and prioritize what is best for you and your loved ones. Metamorphosis is available to those who preserve. Butterflies symbolize transformation!