“Just when the caterpillar thought her life was over, she began to fly.” (Dr. Happy)- from my favorite source of daily inspiration, Jack’s Winning Words.
Life certainly throws enough at all of us to leave us sore sometimes, down and thinking that we’re out. We tend to withdraw into our own protective cocoons sometimes. Hopefully we’re not holed up in there for long and come out as that butterfly to soar anew. I’ve written enough here about dealing with pain, sorrow and anger that I needn’t repeat the advice from all of those posts. Here are links to a few of latest ones –
I think the idea of the butterfly emerging from the cocoon and flying away is a great visualization of what can happen in life, once you unburden yourself. That was sort of the underlying story in this recent post about finding new roads –
I get to see this happen more often than many people because, in my real estate business life, I deal with so many people who are undergoing stressful times in their lives – a divorce, a death in the family and illness forcing them into some form of care or other circumstances that usually involve having to do something with their home. I often suggest that they read a few of the posts, but never push it on them. I try to play the role of being the calm person (sometimes the only one) in the midst of the stormy situation.
It’s interesting that so many of these little sayings about resiliency and persevering through tough situations use the female gender as the protagonist. I suspect that it is because the authors know that men will always try the more macho approach of toughing things out before giving up and curling up in despair into a fetal position (seeking to return to the protective cocoon of the womb I guess).The other thing that I written about before is the tendency of men to approach life’s problems alone, whereas women will more often seek help, usually from other women. While the butterfly emerging from the caterpillar cocoon analogy would seem to indicate a lonely stay in the cocoon, women seem to have a way of inviting others in so that their cocoon becomes more like a coffee klatch – a much healthier and efficient way to handle crises.
Some who go into the cocoon wrap it around them so tightly that it shuts out everyone and everything in their lives – they descend into the darkness of depression and some never make it back. There is no comfort or sense of safety in that cocoon for these people. There is help available, but many do not seek it. These people need help to get to the road to recovery and to being able to emerge and take flight. That is where you might come in. Every now and then you have to get outside of your own comfort zone and take the risk of trying to intervene in the life of someone that you truly believe needs help to break out of despair or in dealing with overwhelming anxieties.
Providing help to someone can often be as simple as just being there to listen to their problems. You don’t need to try to play the role of the amateur therapist, just play the role of the good friend. Help them see that it’s OK not to know what to do, but that it’s not Ok to let that take them down into depression. Suggest that they see a professional or their pastor or someone else who can get them the help that they need. Tell them that you’ll stick with them. Volunteer to drive them there if needed. That kind of help goes a long way and you’ll be surprised how good it makes you feel later.
So go rap on a few cocoons that you may know of and yell, “Are you OK in there? Can I help?” There’s a butterfly in there somewhere that may need just a little help to get out and take flight. You may not be Dr. Happy, but you can sure be a “good friend.”