As I looked over my life, appreciating the person I am and the gifts that I have, something occurred to me.  I don’t give full credit where credit is due. Yes, I give thanks for the pleasurable, comforting and rewarding experiences of my life.  But I forget that I owe much of my thanks to something totally different life’s struggles. Within moments, I asked and answered one of my biggest life questions, “Why do we suffer?” I am the person who I am today, not because I had a perfect childhood or the most supportive friends, but because that wasn’t always so. In fact, believed it or not I had been a scavenger once and ate some food threw in the garbage.  I am the person who I am today, not because I’ve always trusted the right people and made the right decisions, but because I sometimes screwed up.

        Life’s struggles teach life lessons. Most of what I’ve come to appreciate about myself did not develop because life has always been good to me.  It’s quite the opposite. Because of my own life’s struggles, I learned to be optimistic in life. For me, as for everyone, life has been a complex mix of experiences.  Some days have been like a walk in the park, while other days felt like an uphill run on a rocky road.  But every bit of this has helped to define the person I am.

        If you’ve ever wondered why we must endure life’s struggles, consider this:  Our struggles, and the way we deal with them, are among the many gifts that shape our lives.  If we can find it in our hearts to replace resentment, frustration, and anger with appreciation for life’s struggles, we can heal emotional scars and reach the epitome of self improvement success.

        Life’s struggles build character. As Henri Frederic said, “You desire to know the art of living, my friend? It is contained in one phrase: make use of suffering.” My brothers and sisters, I would like to end this article by sharing with you a story of the cocoon which will explain much enough why life’s struggles are sometimes important.

        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. On the day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the moth for several hours as the moth struggled to force the body through that little hole.

 

        The moth seemed to be stuck and appeared to have stopped making progress. It seemed as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther. The man, in his kindness, 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 its body was swollen and small, its wings wrinkled and shriveled. The man continued to watch the moth because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to and 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 small, swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

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

        Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If we were to go through our life without any obstacles, we would be crippled. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. Give every opportunity a chance, leave no room for regrets, and don’t forget the power in the struggle.