Life-Changing Lessons We Can All Learn From Caterpillars

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Have you ever heard a song that totally inspired you or gave you a new perspective? That recently happened to me while I was jammin' to a coffeeshop playlist on Spotify. First off, you should know that I'm a total sucker for anything + everything acoustic, so when "Dirty Old Town" by Craig Cardiff came on, my soul was instantly overjoyed! 

As I listened closely to the lyrics, they penetrated my heart + I was suddenly inspired to blog about the power behind these words: 

"Dirty old town, dirty old town,
They've got all your little problems clearly written down.
But you don't even know + you can’t even see
Oh, the butterfly that you're gonna be,
Oh, the butterfly that you are becoming."

Throughout the day, I caught myself humming the tune + singing the words over + over. When I thought of those people in that dirty old town, I thought of those things or people that keep reminding us of where we've missed it. At times, we allow our past, how we grew up or the labels people place on us dictate what we are capable of becoming.  They've got all our little problems clearly written down, making sure to remind us of our past failures, mistakes or the unfortunate situations we've been through, so much so that we soon are unable to see our own potential anymore. We unknowingly give permission + power to the lies + opinions of others, and eventually it starts to cloud our own view of who we are + who we can be.

Growing up one of my favorite TV shows was Boy Meets World. I always believed Mr. Feeny knew best + remember these words of wisdom:

"If you let people's perception of you dictate your behavior, you will never grow as a person."

I was also really intrigued by the line, "Oh the butterfly that you're gonna be, oh the butterfly that you are becoming." Many times, through our pain + failure, we are evolving into something beautiful + we don't even realize it. I decided to look up the process a caterpillar must go through to become a butterfly + found some surprising similarities. 

Caterpillars have to go through a 4-stage metamorphosis. Alike the seasons we often go through in life, each stage has a different purpose.

In the beginning, the caterpillar is born within a very small, oval egg. Next, the egg hatches to reveal an itsy bitsy caterpillar with a massive appetite. The more it begins to eat, within a short time, the caterpillar grows significantly in size.

As it transitions into its third stage of life, it begins to go through chrysalis, which is just a fancy term for when the caterpillar hangs upside down on a twig or leaf + spins itself into a cocoon. From the outside, it looks as if the caterpillar may just be resting, but inside is where all of the action is happening. Within the cocoon the old body parts of the caterpillar are breaking down + transforming into new internal organs + external parts that'll make up the soon-to-emerge butterfly.

Once the caterpillar is finished developing, then comes the fourth + final stage: the big reveal! Now, the butterfly peels through the layers of its cocoon + makes its debut as a new creation. At first the butterfly's wings are soft + very delicate, but in due time that butterfly is ready to fly! 

In learning about what caterpillars go through to become butterflies, I realized the third + fourth stages are crucial. Oftentimes when we're going through a tough time, people may not be able to see the pain + turmoil we're battling on the inside. We may look like we're fine + have it all together. When someone asks us how we're doing, they may actually believe us when we say, "I'm good" or "I'm doing fine." Yet they don't know we truly feel trapped in a shell of fear or hopelessness. But just like that butterfly, there comes a time when the pain finally ends + we break out to emerge as beautiful. Sure, it may hurt + we may have scars, but in due time, we will be stronger than ever + ready to take flight!

Remember, where there is pain there is purpose. 

Yes, people may try to label you or constantly bring up your shortcomings. And there may be times when people look at you + see you as a short, stubby caterpillar who won't become anything. But oh love, little do they know that you have the potential to morph into a beautiful butterfly! Regardless of what people say, you are not your past or present failures. We all fall short + we all make mistakes in life, yet our mistakes make room for growth! Where you are in life is not who you are. You have the potential to turn your tragedy into something beautiful. Oh, the butterfly that you're gonna be!

What kind of negativity have people spoken to or about you?  Have you ever had something painful help you to become a better person? I'd love to hear your story in the comments below.

XO,
Mel