08 Jan

I want you to imagine that you are out walking on a trail. It's a beautiful sunny day. You are enjoying nature and the quiet and just minding your own business. All of a sudden, you hear rustling in the woods. Something is coming at you. Fear surges throughout your body. You quickly try to detect what it is and realize, it's a bear. 

Now that I've got your attention, how do you think you would react? I'm going to tell you right now that everything in your human body is going to go into survival mode. You are going to lose your ability to really reason out the best alternatives in that moment. You don't have time to process this and quietly respond. You need to react. So, you either freeze or play dead. You fight, because you have a weapon, or you run like your life literally depends on it. We all usually have a go to actually. What's yours?

It can of course depend on the situation, but you will find that most of the time, when in a non-threatening environment, you have a go to survival mechanism. Me, I run. I find safety, away from people and away from the source of pain. Maybe I have to just go to my room. Maybe I have to leave the house. Wherever I go, I need the quiet time to sort thru and process what just happened. If I don't, I'll fight. I'll use bad, negative language and it won't be pretty. People, including myself, will get hurt.

Let's get back to the bear, so you can see where I'm going with this. If it were me and that bear were charging at me, I know I would run. Now, I would probably lose, as I think bears are pretty fast. So let's say that's the case. I fall down. The bear catches me and he attacks, but fortunately he gets bored and only takes a few swipes before I play dead and he leaves. Now, I'm lying there bleeding, assessing the damage and trying to figure out my next steps.

Now tell me if at that moment I care about the bear? What if I got up and tried to reason with the bear. "Mr. Bear. I was just walking along this trail, minding my own business and along you come and take a few swipes at me. Now, I'm lying here bloody and hurt and you don't care. You just run off. Can you make me understand why you did that? Did I do something wrong? How can I fix this? Can we talk about this?" 

 Ridiculous, right? Absolutely. The most important thing to do after you've been attacked is to take care of yourself. Get help, if you need to. Rest. Recover. It's not time to reason with the bear, or even go seek revenge. It's a bear. Let it go be a bear and you go home and heal.

So, why is it then that the minute an angry human comes at you, attacking you with words, we instead do our best to reason with them? Let me elaborate. Recently, someone I love very much came at me, out of left field, on attack. They weren't happy with a boundary I had established, so they made me the bad guy and said some hurtful things as a result. Now, there was some truth in their words. If there wasn't I wouldn't have reacted. They managed to find an old wound of guilt and scratched it open. 

So, here we have a human, reacting from a place of hurt, hurting another human as a result. Basically, that human is your bear. Now, we don't know why that bear attacked and honestly, we really shouldn't care. That sounds cold, I know, but in the moment of attack, and after, we can obsessively be worrying about "fixing it" with them, versus tending to our own wounds. That's like chasing down the bear to make sure he's okay after he mauled your leg. Not a good idea.

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