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Struggle is Good- It Makes Us Strong.

Struggle is Good

For years, when working with my hospital patients I have encouraged them to struggle… while they are attempting to get out of bed… or struggle while moving from the bed to the chair. Often times they call out asking… and expecting me to help them with things they are capable of doing. I resist as much as I can. Then, I gladly help when truly needed.

I usually tell them a story about the butterfly and  the cacoon. Here is one version:

The Emperor Moth and The Struggle

The emperor moth is the most majestic species among all the moths. It has wide wings spanning out majestically when it flies. Before it can become a full grown moth, it has to be a pupa in a cocoon. Now, the interesting fact about the moth’s cocoon is that the neck of the cocoon is very narrow.

In order that it become a moth, the pupa of the moth must squeeze its way out of the narrow neck.

One day a man found a cocoon of an emperor moth. He took it home so that he could watch the moth come out of the cocoon. He sat and watched the moth struggling to force the body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther. It just seemed to be stuck.

Then the man being kind decided to help the moth. So he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The moth then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. He expected that the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the little moth spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly. A few days later, it died.

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the moth to get through the tiny opening was the way of forcing fluid from the body of the moth into its wings so that it would be ready for flight. Once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon. Freedom and flight would only come after the struggle. By depriving the moth of a struggle, he deprived the emperor moth of health.

You see, the struggles of life, heartaches and pains are necessary if you want to be great. Instead of cursing them, understand them while you are experiencing them. They are part of the making of a man.

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  • Wise words, Tom. Struggle always makes us stronger, providing it doesn't kill us first.

  • lucy52

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



  • Thanks for sharing. Yes iit is good when we ca learn from our struggles, learn from it and help others who may be going through the same struggles. This is what I call “Using your pain to be a gain” I have also loved reading a lot of your articles.

  • Mary-anne

    Such an important point. I need to be reminded of how struggles help me become a better me. Thanks for sharing.

  • I have been looking for this story, which I remembered hearing many years ago. Thank you and thanks for the reminder that all of life's struggles serve us. Their purpose may not be evident in the moment but, indeed, they are part of what makes us who we are.

  • Calonjackson

    I love this article..

  • I'd like to thank you for your positive attitude as the word I try to spread isn't nearly as positive. I need to hear a good word at the end of the day. Thanks and Bless You!