You may be familiar with the fable of the scorpion and the frog:
A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a river and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion says, “Because if I do, I will die too.”
The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog starts to sink, knowing they both will drown, but has just enough time to gasp “Why?”
Replies the scorpion: “Its my nature…”
Usually this fable serves as a cautionary tale not to engage with “scorpions” who are going to cause us harm. But I think we can actually learn a lot from this scorpion!
Let’s face it – all of us have engaged in self-sabotaging behavior at one time or another. What we say we want and the choices we make simply don’t align. We want to lose ten pounds, but keep skipping the gym. We want to make more money, but we stay in our dead-end job. We want to create a business, but we keep getting distracted by reality TV.
When we catch ourselves engaging in self-sabotage, we can be hard on ourselves. Why can’t we be more disciplined, more motivated, more inspired, more educated? And so we try harder, we work more … and often end up repeating the pattern of self-sabotage. Sometimes our choices may even negatively affect other people. Sometimes our self-sabotage can feel like we are causing ourselves to drown.
Is there something wrong with us? Are we lacking something?
What if there’s nothing wrong at all?
What if either WHAT we are trying to create, or HOW we are trying to create it is simply not aligned to our nature?
There’s nothing wrong with the sting of the scorpion – after all, Mother Nature created this creature perfectly. Scorpions sting. It’s actually their Divine gift! Stinging is how they paralyze their prey and keep themselves fed and alive.
But what the heck was that scorpion thinking by climbing on top of that frog? What was so great about the other side of the river?
Here’s the lesson I see in this fable:
Our work is not to become something or someone other than who we are. But it IS up to us to know ourselves well enough not to climb on top of frogs. Our nature is not suited to that path – we must find one that aligns to who we are. Perhaps there’s a different way across the river. Perhaps that frog would have made a great meal before we started swimming. Perhaps we are on the perfect side of the river already.
Perhaps in every self-sabotaging behavior is a Divine gift that is inappropriately expressed.
We just have to stay out of the river. Then we can sting joyfully, in alignment with our nature.
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