A friend has been sharing the daily words of encouragement she has received from her Chaplain at work. Sadly the Chaplain has been reassigned and she and I will not be receiving his wonderful words of wisdom. He has been picking some of his personal favorites and re-running the Best of the Words of the Day. I just had to share this one it is only a few words but so wonderful and true. I have included the Chaplain’s name at the end to give credit where it is due.
Turtles and Skunks and Owls, oh my!
Conflict brings out our natural defense mechanisms. Like a turtle tucking
its head into the safety of its shell at the first sign of trouble, some of
us tend to avoid or hide from conflict. At the other extreme, some of us are
like the skunk whose response is to spew out a horrendous odor notifying
everyone around us what kind of mood we’re in. It’s better to be like the
wise owl, whose eyes and ears are open wide to its surroundings… only
reacting when we’re sure of what’s going on around us.
Shrink, Stink or Think… how do you tend to deal with conflict?
By: Paul D. Tolbert
CH (CPT) USAR
First of all, how wonderful to receive words of encouragement everyday at work. When my friend started sharing these with me I was inspired to be more encouraging toward others at work. Second, this analogy of dealing with conflict is so right on I could not resist sharing. How true shrink, stink or think, I think we have all witnessed, if not ourselves, others being turtles, skunks or owls during times of stress or conflict.
I can, in all honesty, say I have handled conflict as all three at one time or another. I am working very hard to be more like the wise owl. I still get triggered and feel the inner skunk or turtle trying to come out but through awareness I have been more able to channel my inner owl. I think the key to being an effective owl is as the Chaplain said – reacting when you know what is going on around you. And the key to this practice is patience. Patience is an amazing thing, and if you think about it, what could be more organic and natural than patience. Patience with yourself and patience with others. If you run across a skunk who is impatient with you, have compassion for them, for they have chosen a difficult road. If you are the skunk I would encourage you to try this practice, when you find yourself getting odoriferous with others, stop and ask yourself this simple question, what am I up to here? Be honest, if your intent is to humiliate or belittle then move forward knowing that is what you will accomplish. If your intent is not clear because you are experiencing impatience wait until you are clear and can convey that intent.
I learned to be a better daughter, a better friend, a better wife, a better mother and a better boss through patience. Am I perfect in all of these roles, no absolutely not, but I can say with patience I find myself blessed with deeper and more meaningful connections, mainly because I am able to accept others as I would hope they accept me, follies and all and I am willing to give the greatest gift we can give one another – time. I have often said I want to leave this world a better place than when I entered and tread as lightly as possible on mother earth. I think I can more effectively accomplish this as an owl.
So to all my wise friends out there, continue to channel your inner owl. If you sow seeds of patience, encouragement and wisdom so shall you reap the same. Hooty hoot hoot.
“One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life.” ~Chinese Proverb