I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.

I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies. – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Here is a butterfly, just emerging from chrysalis, the intermediate stage between caterpillar and butterfly.

A butterfly, just emerging from chrysalis, the stage between caterpillar and butterfly. In what parts of your life are you a butterfly, and what parts are you still a caterpillar?

What does that mean?
This is another version of the Ugly Duckling story. Caterpillars aren’t usually all that cute or interesting. Neither are ugly ducklings. However, that’s where butterflies and swans start out.

If you want to have some of one, you have to put up with the other. The same thing goes for people. No one is born a butterfly. Even the people we consider butterflies today had a caterpillar stage at some point.

The important point is to realize that as long as we keep growing, the butterfly stage is available to each of us, eventually. We can get there if we keep working at it. Eventually, we will get better and better, and then one day, we’ll realize we have become the butterfly we wanted to be.

The same goes for our friends and family. You may have watched in envy as an older sibling emerged from the change and flew off as a butterfly while you were still a caterpillar. Or perhaps you watched a younger sibling, friend, or relative make the transformation.

Why is patience important?  
Without patience, it’s really hard to put up with caterpillars. Whether we’re talking real crawlies, or using them as a metaphor for people. It takes time, a lot of time. There is the whole time as a caterpillar, as they grow and become more experienced. Then there’s the time they spend converting from caterpillar to butterfly. That can take some time as well.

While you can help it along, it’s hard to speed it up. What is obvious to you, as a butterfly, makes no sense to a caterpillar. Even after you have explained it a dozen times, they may still have to live though it before they can understand it. Your patience may be tested, right?

Patience, patience, patience. Why can’t it be done NOW?!?! How many times have we asked that for ourselves, or on behalf of others? Yet time is the only way to get from caterpillar to butterfly. Understand that, and relax. It won’t make it less frustrating, but getting angry won’t help anything, so try to avoid that, right?

Where can I apply this in my life?
We all are caterpillars in one aspect or another of our lives. And it can manifest at different times and in different portions of a person. There are plenty of people I know who are very pretty, but shy around people. Beautiful butterflies, but in a group, they turn caterpillar on us. I would imagine you know some people like that.

Any skill, talent, ability, or field of knowledge could count. I’m a caterpillar when it comes to dancing. My wife is a beautiful butterfly. On the other hand, when it comes to playing Trombone, we’re the other way around. She had about a decade of dance, and I played Trombone instead.

My problem is my lack of patience. She has trouble working with someone who has such a lack of skill as I. That makes both of us frustrated, and the cure for that is patience. It won’t be easy, but patience truly is the only option, if I want to make the transition.

Patience won’t cause it to chafe any less, nor will it cause things to go more smoothly nor more rapidly. But it might keep us from getting so frustrated we quit. We got to that point once before, and that was well over a decade ago. We’ll see if things go better this time around.

What parts of your life are still caterpillar, and what parts are almost butterfly? Take a moment and think about what parts of your life you might want to take to the next level. Grab some paper and write a few of these areas down.

Do you know why you want to be a butterfly? Are you tired of being a caterpillar, do you want to have beautiful wings, or do you want to fly? If you don’t have a strong reason, it’s going to be hard to have the drive and to muster the level of patience to get through, instead of just giving up.

If you want to get an idea of what it is like, try hanging around some butterflies for a while. See how things are when you get there. See if that doesn’t help motivate you and give you a little more drive. Could you find a mentor or a person to model yourself after?

Patience, like determination, works better when you know why you are doing it, and what you are going to get out of it. Define what being a butterfly means to you in these aspects of your life. Write these ideas next to each of the areas you wrote down earlier.

Add some notes about mentors, role-models, and resources to assist you in the transformation, and you’re just about ready to begin. Add a brief plan, the big steps between where you are and where you want to be, for each area, and then a few details on the first step.

And now it begins. Start your transformation by taking the first step. Cross something off the plan. Take that first action. Build a little momentum. With the first step behind you, each subsequent step becomes easier, progress seems more certain, and your ability to be patient builds as well.

If you’re helping someone else work through their caterpillar stage, help them through a similar exercise, and lend them what support you can. Then be patient with them, as they will have to make their own mistakes. It’s part of the process. So is patience.

Smile on the outside, even if you want to scream on the inside. Caterpillars can’t be rushed. They are not known for their speed. But if you want to be or see a butterfly, you will have to spend some time with a caterpillar.

From: Twitter, @AR_Foundation
confirmed at : http://www.thequotefactory.com/quote-by/the-little-prince
Photo by jemasmith

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  1. The Morning Contemplation | Contemplating Love - 24 March 2013

    […] I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies… (philosiblog.com) […]

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