Your life is beautiful and precious, and your presence has a unique and graceful purpose. Everybody is programmed for greatness and being outstanding. The realization of your personal beauty and worth at times is learned the hard way. Sometimes, it is absolutely necessary to reach the bottom in order to celebrate the victory on the top. Important thing to remember along the life journey is that we all come from the star stuff, no matter what happens. A diamond in the mud is still a diamond.
I love the story, written by Hans Christian Andersen, about an ugly duckling that turned into a beautiful swan. A powerful metaphor about transformation and self-discovery is presented in a thought-provoking fairy tale. The story has a happy ending but very “ugly” beginning.
There was a duckling who hatched the last from a duck’s nest and looked unusually big and ugly. Right after his birth he was exposed to a great deal of suffering. He was bitten and pushed and made fun of. The other ducks pecked him; chickens beat him, the girl who fed the poultry kicked him with her feet. All the birds in the farmyard despised and humiliated the poor duckling. Even his mother did not feel much sympathy for her child. He was different, but everybody saw him as ugly.
Being alone and miserable, the ugly duckling ran away, frightening the birds in the hedge. The journey full of trials and ordeals began. The poor duckling escaped to a large moor, inhibited by wild ducks, looking for a shelter. They didn’t accept him, only reminded him how ugly he was… Then he met geese who mocked him as well. Then he reached the cottage, where an old woman, a hen and a cat lived. The ducking was different from their lifestyle too. The poor ugly bird didn’t fit in with any community. He was the outcast, alone in his misery but high in spirit. The duckling was in search of himself, and his purpose, and therefor was hopeful.
It brings me to people who feel weird or out of place, when they don’t belong to a certain circle they are in; or they don’t click with other people despite their outside intention; or they are simply confused. It can be referred to situations like hating your job, but being afraid to leave the comfort zone, or staying in toxic relationship being wrapped up with false illusion of love, or not getting any sense of reward or satisfaction from your tedious daily routine. These moments of uneasiness, which lead to fear, anger, or resentment, are moments of truth, which urge you to discover who you really are. Maybe, you are just walking not your path or hanging out with the wrong “birds”.
Here comes the “aha” moment
One evening, just as the sun set amid radiant clouds, there came a large flock of beautiful birds. The ugly duckling didn’t know who they were, but they seemed majestic to him. They were swans, graceful and shiny with dazzling whiteness. They uttered a singular cry, spread their glorious wings and flew away. The duckling felt a weird sensation. During his moments of despair and loneliness, the duckling looked up in the sky and found his inspiration. He was mesmerized by the beauty, and grace, and glory of the soaring magnificent birds. He got a new perspective, a new vision, and a new dream.
The moments of desperation are truly fascinating moments. They are gifts, as they lead to inspiration. During the moments of despair people get the insight, a better understanding, a new way. They learn to listen to whispers, and they open their eyes to new horizons. The process of evolution isn’t always pretty, but it is always rewarding.
Storms and winter passed. The ugly duckling was challenged to approach the royal birds. He flew to the graceful swans to meet his death (being sure that he was ugly). He came up to them and said, “Kill me!” He bent his head down to the surface of the water and awaited death… The catharsis occurred… In the water, he saw the reflection of his image – not the ugly and disagreeable duckling but a graceful and beautiful swan. Through suffering and sorrow, being at the very bottom he managed to rise and shine in all the glory and majesty.
The powerful metaphor provides one of the aspects of the meaning of life. You need the thorny road of self-discovery with all the trials, errors, and troubles to completely realize who you really are in order to enjoy the glory of intoxicating sensation of your incredible personality.
To a certain extent, we are all challenged to take the journey of an ugly duckling who eventually becomes a beautiful swan.
What do you think about this approach?
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© Anna Trishch 2014