As a person, as a society, and as a living being on this earth, that question has been asked or wondered forever. More often than not, it is because of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, when a person or animal needs to blow off steam, get out their aggressions, or sadly, just make another feel as bad as they do. As a mother, I called this the Wagging Tail theory, after needing to find an analogy, that my daughters could understand, and in this very moment of life, it couldn’t be any more valid.
Whenever one of my own was wrongly blamed, singled out, or just felt to be less than they were, I asked them to imagine their sweet dogs, since they had loved those puppies from birth, and treasured them as constant companions and confidants. I explained how each of the three animals were all different in looks, and personality, but they all came into life the same way, needing the same nourishment, warmth, care and love, and when the time came to leave their mama dog, they relied completely on the attention and compassion their owner would give them. However, not all puppies were like ours, finding a perfect home, exactly what they were hoping for, and because of that, damage started.
Some, I would explain, were bought only as gifts, later ignored or tossed away, and others were abused and hurt, never understanding what they had done to deserve the treatment. Then one day, out of nowhere, and for no particular reason, they just couldn’t take it anymore, and when someone reached down to pet their wagging tail, they were bit, barked at, or worse. The rational mind knows this as a watershed moment, but for a child’s logic, it is that time when you are exhausted, and just can’t run anymore. It becomes that well known emotional and physical point when you are just done.
Understanding that they were not the cause, but the reaction from previous pain, my children would try and reconcile the event they had been caught up in, to figure out what had caused a friend to become hurtful, an employer to take another version of a situation, or why a loved one snapped over a simple mistake, or misunderstanding. The realization of a bigger picture usually came slowly, but when it did, they would be sad, taking into account the pain and suffering needing to finally be released. Keeping that in mind, they also looked for the bigger picture, and tried harder to help, not assuming facts not in evidence, as they so often heard on television, truly a wonderful concept.
Regardless, how a beating heart has been wronged, disappointed, embarrassed, let down or physically hurt, the need to be loved and wanted, equal to all others is always the ultimate goal. A child that acts up in class, doesn’t want punishment, only attention and compassion, but has no other way to get it. A dog that has been ignored, or abused is still as loyal and loving as they were in puppy days, however, biting a hand trying to feed it, is their only reaction of self preservation, not wanting more pain. The biggest lesson we can ever learn, is that all any of us want, is understanding, compassion and equality; even if it takes many bites from pain, or fearful screams to overcome our damage.
Looking at the family I raised, I am proud of them all, and the level of humanity they achieved, the values and morals they teach their children, and the understanding and support they give their partners at home, and in the workplace. However, sadly, I also know as long as there are differences in this world, affecting economic situations, physical ability, compassion and financial needs, there will continue to be voices needing to yell, unnecessary revenge waiting to be played out, and love wishing to be felt. I can only assume this is a lesson in humanity all of us are all to learn before we leave life. A very basic credo, that we are all the same, and loving one another is the only answer…a hope and directive, quoted many times, in all religious and spiritual teachings.
So, Talk…don’t Bark the next time that you receive a painful encounter. Then, listen with your heart, regardless of your frustration, and reverse the situation, getting to the source of the emotion. No, you won’t fix everything right then and there, maybe you never will. However, I can almost guarantee that genuine compassion and understanding will be the key to defusing the moment, and changing a life for the better, possibly even your own.