The (false) myth of the butterfly metamorphosis

You are currently viewing The (false) myth of the butterfly metamorphosis

“You don’t just wake up and become a butterfly.

Growth is a process.”

Rupi kaur

Why is it so dangerous to think of ourselves as caterpillars?

Metamorphosis, transformation, evolution, change… all concepts on paper that, all of which, as you know, I’m very fond of and that I find precious and vital, to say the least. 

Over the course of time, I have not missed a chance to throw myself heart and soul into new adventures and new projects and to change areas, points of view, goals and a lot of other things 😉 at the same time, however, I have continued to question the meaning of doing and how learning to listen to oneself is one (if not the only) way to happiness and satisfaction.

And that’s where the (admittedly, somewhat provocative) title of this article makes sense!

Words that become ” charms ” and over time take on the power of Aladdin’s Lamps that can fulfill all our desires are, in my experience, really very dangerous and this for two main reasons:

  • they make us live “passively”
  • they overload us with expectations of ourselves and towards the world

And it is with this in mind that I find it a false myth that the caterpillar becomes a butterfly, but let’s look at things a little more closely. 

A caterpillar that does not take action to become a butterfly BUT waits….

Think about it, if you were the famous caterpillar from the much cited metamorphosis how would you spend your days?

Waiting to become a butterfly!

It is in this trap that too often our mind gets stuck, making us think that our metamorphosis, our change, our rebirth, our ability to fly is not something that depends on ourselves, but that all we have to do is wait for our wings to sprout!

One of the things I’ve learned over time as I’ve listened to myself and tried to listen and delve into everything related to personal and professional well-being is that a chicken is no sadder or less accomplished than a butterfly, and that a caterpillar can fly if it works toward its goal and builds tailored wings.

A caterpillar who believes that all its problems will be solved when it becomes a butterfly

So here we are at the second focal point: expectation and frustration are, in fact, another (not secondary) collateral damage of the metamorphosis myth.

When we focus our attention and hopes on one big, decisive change, one of the things we’re doing (without even realizing it!) is sabotaging our own happiness.

It may seem ruthless but, never as in recent years, I have understood the profound and central importance of giving oneself achievable goals. I am not saying not to dream big or not to throw one’s heart over the obstacle, if you ask me, I often throw not only my heart but my whole self over the obstacle! The point I am trying to make is:

dream and turn your dreams into goals, and stay alert and listen to yourself so as not to fall into the trap of turning your dreams into miracles to be waited for while watching the world from behind a glass.

Caterpillars, butterflies, chickens and platypuses

I chose to talk to you about this topic because the new year has just begun and too often as the days go by, along with the enthusiasm and the lists of good resolutions, frustration, the feeling of defeat, disappointment… also come to keep us company.

A good antidote to all of this is to first find the understanding within ourselves that the world is a wonderful zoo!

There are caterpillars that are working to decorate their garden and caterpillars that are preparing a bundle with the desire to fly far away, there are butterflies that fly from flower to flower and others constantly looking for a good sip of beer (they really exist, don’t believe us, google them!), there are hens that have no desire to fly and hens that fly, and how can we forget my beloved platypus? Who are not waiting for a miraculous metamorphosis but live every day exploring one of the many aspects that make them so strange but also wonderfully unique!

So what animal do you feel you are in this crazy zoo?

For more details

This discussion has a lot to do with one of the projects I completed last year that I care so much about, Chi se ne frega, faccio!, if you are curios and want to know more you can find everything HERE!

Other interesting reads:

Do you feel connected to butterfly? Here’s what they symbolize