How I’m Slowly Transitioning Into a Turtle… Or the Porcupine’s Dilemma

Gabriella H.
3 min readApr 16, 2021
Photo by Karl Ibri on Unsplash

Out of the many dilemmas a porcupine may have, there’s one that we share as humans. Whenever a porcupine wishes to get closer to another porcupine, it has to assume the risk of getting hurt. Those quills are sharp, and the closer you get to them, the higher the risk of getting stabbed.

Our dilemma, although less literal, is no less painful. Whenever we crave human intimacy, we also have to assume the risk of getting hurt. The people closer to us are the ones who usually bear the brunt of our personality. They’re the ones that know us without filters, without our sheathed quills. And they’re the ones we stab more often, and the ones who stab us the most.

This is simply human nature. We all have quills, and we will unavoidably hurt someone at some point.

The Solution

One solution to the porcupine dilemma is to look outside the specie for someone who would be invulnerable to its inherent danger. A turtle can get close to a porcupine without fear of getting stabbed. Porcupine and turtle could have great adventures and live happily forever after.

As humans, we have no choice but to remain inside our species. The good news is that the variety of personalities abound, and there are some that are more resilient than others. Those are the turtles we are looking for — the people who refuse to take everything personally, and who instead choose to see the virtues in others instead of focusing on the many flaws a person may have. Turtles don’t abound. And if you have one in your life, make sure you tell them everyday how much you love and appreciate them.

I have made it my life’s goal to become a turtle. I have lived many years as a porcupine taking offense at bitter expressions while shooting sharp words in revenge. I got many scars, and some wounds are still healing. I am so ready to put a shell on.

Nothing is Ever Personal

Words reveal more about the speaker than the person they’re directed to. If a person is intentionally trying to hurt you with their words, never take them personally. Their words are simply warning signs that alert you to stay away. There’s no need to retaliate or let it hurt you. Put your shell on and move on.

How positively you see others is linked to how happy, kind-hearted and emotionally stable you are, according to new research. In contrast, negative perceptions of others are linked to higher levels of narcissism and antisocial behavior.

On the other hand, if someone inadvertently says something hurtful, there’s also no need to feel stabbed. As a good turtle, you put on the shell that let’s you see that person’s virtues, and recognize that what they said was a mistake. This shell can take years to grow, but with patience and work, it can happen. Not only will you be a better person for those around you, but more importantly, you will be a better person for yourself.

A true turtle walks through life mindful of its own value. It is so sure of it that nothing anyone else says can get under its skin. Turtles are more capable of accepting and giving affection because they’re not constantly looking over their should for potential dangers. They’re more trusting and transparent people.
So get your shell on, and get ready to face life tall and proud!



Gabriella H.

I’m always curious, always looking for something new to learn, using life as a learning canvas.