porcupine in the forest


Once upon a time, there lived a family of porcupines.

They were used to coping with chilly winters, but one year, the coldest ever season kicked off and this made the porcupines worry about their life.

They gathered to discuss which strategy they could take in order to survive through the severe winter.

In doing so, they realized that their bodies close together had created a warmer environment, warm enough to protect them and make them survive.

Yet, they also realized that in order to feel the warmth and survive they had to cope with the discomfort that came from being covered by thousands of quills.

Gathering together meant that each of their quills was poking and hurting someone else in the group. 

One porcupine soon surrendered to the discomfort: “I can no longer tolerate the pain” it said, and left the family.

Sooner than later, he found himself facing a much bigger challenge, i.e. the freezing winter.

It was now standing at its destiny’s crossroads.

He had to make a choice, either rejoining the others, which meant feeling uncomfortable and painful together, but surviving in the warmth of love, or being alone and miserably die. 

Fortunately, common sense prevailed and the porcupine went back to its family.

He understood that in order to experience the warmth of love and survive he had also to accept the discomfort and pain that came from the poking quills. 


You see, in our daily life we are also faced with poking quills, e.g. bickering with colleagues, criticism from our parents and friends, arguments with siblings, etc.

Too often we are hurt by the words and behaviors of people close to us and we end up thinking that moving away is the best possible choice and we don’t realize that being alone takes a much bigger toll.

In order to build relationships with one another, we must be ready to accept and tolerate something that is not aligned with what we think is right.

After all, everyone has their unique vision of reality and it means that what is right for us might not be for someone else.

Everyone has their unique story and past circumstances, so in order to experience the love that comes from relationships, being compassionate and empathetic are necessary prerequisites.

We should be open-minded and accept other people’s vision of reality in order to build strong and lasting relationships.

Live with an open mind and an open heart. Always choose love over fear and kindness over cruelty.” - Laurence Overmire

Only by tolerating the poking quills as the porcupines did in the story can we experience the warmth of love that comes from relationships.

The people we care about the most, our family and friends, may bother and hurt us from time to time, but they are the ones that eventually will have our back when we need their support.

At any time we have to make a choice, either experience the warmth of love and put up with the poking quills, something that is not aligned with our system of beliefs, or comfortably stay alone but miss out on the beauty of sharing memorable moments with other human beings. 

Which choice are you going to make?

Next time you are injured by the poking quills of a porcupine close to you, take a step back and think instead of reacting impulsively and running away.

Being alone can seem comfortable at the beginning, but in the long term can result in loneliness in the winter of your life.

As the old saying goes, you have to take the rough with the smooth.

More resources for YOU:

Christian Caliendo
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