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Monica Pickard spent twenty years of her adult life as a child care provider. During that time, with the help of her husband, she raised her son who has been diagnosed with Autism and Developmental Delay. She learned to navigate a world that was new to her – the world of Special Needs. She now shares these experiences and the wisdom they taught her, with love and heartfelt compassion for the human condition.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Lions v. Dogs, Strength v. Weakness

Have you ever witnessed two people throwing insults back and forth to each other? I have and, I’m sorry to admit, I have done it myself with someone. It is really quite silly. It is not productive in any way. It is totally egotistical. Both parties are weak while engaged in such behavior. Now, have you ever witnessed one person insulting someone while the person being insulted just listens, with no reaction what so ever? Who is the weak one in that case? The person doing the insulting, right? You can visually, intellectually, and emotionally see it. The person not reacting is like the lion in this photo and the person throwing shade is the small dog barking.

Lions are always in a position of strength due to their size and physical power, while small dogs are all bark with very little physical strength. Their size makes them weak. That is why they bark so much. I read in Temple Grandin’s book, Animals in Translation, that the smaller an animal’s bones are, the more fear they have. Small dog = small bones = a lot of fear and a lot of barking. Small dogs are trying to appear strong and capable. Against a small dog – or any dog, for that matter – a lion can just sit there and let it bark. No reaction is necessary because there is no threat.

Humans are different, though. We come in all shapes and sizes and our physical abilities vary greatly. When I compare the non-reactive person to the lion, I am not talking about physical ability and strength. I am talking about intellectual and emotional strength. Those strengths come from integrity and awareness. The person throwing the insults is not self-aware. If they were self-aware, they would know how they appear when they throw insults and they would not do it for that very reason! The person not reacting to the insults has a higher level of self-awareness. They know how it makes them look when people throw insults, they know it is futile, and they may also know that they are on the right side of the dispute, making it unnecessary to engage with the other person. It is possible that they simply cannot think of a good comeback or they are afraid to return insults, but they at least give the outward appearance of power and strength. Right? They will win more support from others simply by appearing to be strong, rational, and unemotional.

Fear makes us act without integrity. If you are afraid to lose something, whether it be losing face or losing something of value, you may find yourself acting without integrity. You may lie, cheat, steal, manipulate, and basically do all the things a person without integrity would do to get your way. This rarely works. Sometimes it does work in the short run, but you will always end up paying a price. This is a universal law. What goes around comes around. It is karma. It is the law of cause and effect – for every action, there is an equal and opposite karmic reaction. When you harm someone to get what you want – through lies, cheating, deception, etc. – the harm will come back to you in equal measure.

Integrity is knowing what is right, moral, legal, proper, loving, compassionate… and doing those things and acting in that way. There are strength and power in integrity. When you are acting from a place of integrity, there is no fear in you. You are right and you know it. You know it because you have done, said, and acted with love and kindness. You have taken proper steps. You have not told lies to get what you want or need. You have not harmed anyone to get your way. You don’t need to insult someone to get what you want because you know – without a shadow of a doubt – that you will prevail. It may take time, but you know that as long as you keep acting with integrity, you will prevail.

Let the small dogs bark all they want. They have no integrity. They are weak and they know it. They feel it deep down in their tiny little bones.

Stay strong, Lion Family and Friends!

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