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Biting Back

29 Apr

Recently there was a news story about a zebra in Africa who while crossing a river was attacked by an alligator.  The alligator bit him and another was circling to take him down but the zebra refused to simply surrender and viciously bit back.  Stunned, the alligator was disoriented for a moment which gave the zebra time to climb out of the river to safety.  This was newsworthy because evidently animals don’t usually bite back at alligators when they are being attacked and generally just try to escape.  But in this instance the zebra was having none of that and fought back to save its life.  In our lives we may never be attacked by alligators but we probably will find ourselves in situations where we feel we’re being attacked by others.  When that happens, just like that zebra, we have a choice to make.  We can simply try to escape the attack or we can fight back.  That doesn’t mean we have to bite anyone, but we can certainly stand up for ourselves and defend our positions.

There are all kinds of people in the world and throughout the course of our lives we will come into contact with a wide spectrum of personalities.  Some people are nice, some not so nice, some polite, some rude – the varieties and expressions are endless.  When we encounter someone who doesn’t like us or something we’ve done we may find ourselves in a situation where we feel we’re being attacked.  If that happens, how we handle it will affect whatever comes after the issue has passed.  If we run from the situation and try to ignore it we may not find a satisfactory resolution.  If we react by maliciously fighting back we may impact the chance for a positive relationship.  We don’t have to take any criticisms lying down.  We can defend ourselves and our positions and we can do it in ways that enable us to go forward with confidence.

If we quietly listen when we are faced with a confrontation and allow the other person to completely state their feelings and concerns, even if they are wrong, it will open the door to communication.  After the complaint has been clearly stated we may respond to the problem and explain whatever is needed to clear the air.  Perhaps we’ve made a mistake and if so, we can recognize that.  If the allegations are false and the attack unwarranted, we can explain our position.  If we are patient and remain calm during the attack our “bite back” will be more effective in clearing the way to resolution.  In all our dealings, resolving conflict will make the road forward easier than if we engage in an all-out battle of wills.  Like the zebra, we don’t have to take any attack without responding.  But if we respond with patience, and quietly explain our position, and if we maintain our personal control, we will move forward more effectively.

Today if you feel you’ve been attacked unfairly, take the time to listen to the issues carefully and respond patiently and calmly.  Ask questions if you are unsure of the problem and explain your position.  You are capable of managing any conflict that comes your way and resolving it.  Choose the best road forward.  Being the best you can be will pave the way for you.

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