Fear has the ability to derail us like few other emotions. It sneaks in and infiltrates our thinking without our awareness at times. We feel, “passionate” about an issue; convinced of a cause. When we peek behind the curtain, however, we find Fear quietly pulling the marionette strings on our behaviors without our knowledge or consent.
We hear it when we’re arguing with our children and the phrase, “Because I’m your mother (/father,) that’s why!” keeps ringing in our heads. We hear it when we see people screaming their political or religious opinions at the top of their lungs in a way that disrespects those who disagree. Fear is pulling the strings. At our essence, we human folk are easily frightened, and really, quite fragile.
Mind you, I’m not saying in any way that there is anything wrong with asserting one’s authoritative parenting position, or having strong religious or political convictions. However, when we feel we have to scream or communicate in ways that are unloving or disrespectful, we are not speaking from our best, most centered selves. We are not actually being authoritative when we do that.
Consider dogs for a moment: Picture a Chihuahua and a Great Dane… Which one barks more? Little dogs have a tendency to be yappy. They work hard at being heard and making their presence known. Big dogs, on the other hand, tend to be really laid back characters, gentle and unassuming. Why?
The big dog has no need to bark, and little need to assert herself. She knows she’s big. She knows that if she were actually threatened, she could do serious damage. She has nothing to prove. The little dog, however, has to make as much sound as possible to try and intimidate you so that you will not threaten him. He knows that he is vulnerable and so he puts a great deal of energy into making it seem as though he is a threat.
The big dog does not live in a state of fear. When she has something to say, she simply says it. There is a common adage that reads, “If you have to tell someone more than once that you are the boss… you aren’t.” When we find ourselves “yapping” our opinions or directives at others, we are in full Chihuahua mode! While we may feel strong in the moment, (thanks to a rush of adrenaline,) we are actually working against ourselves and showing our fearful vulnerability. If instead we center ourselves, remember who we really are, and tap into our genuine wisdom, belief and understanding, we can actually be effective, instead of just being loud. (For more tips on getting your body and mind back to center, click HERE.)
So listen to yourself! Do you find that you are yelling or verbally bullying someone in order to make your point? Listen deeper to hear the fear that’s driving you. Are you afraid that you won’t be heard? Won’t be valued? Respected? Yelling won’t make that happen. Tap into your inner Great Dane! Trust your strength, and trust your wisdom. Speak what you know to be true with confidence and calmly disallow others to devalue you. Be the Great Dane!
(For more personalized attention on discovering, trusting and tapping into your inner Great Dane, contact me by clicking here. It’s time to move from surviving to thriving!)
“Surviving is important, but thriving is elegant.” – Maya Angelou