Thursday, April 25, 2013

If Only...

Sometimes I look over at my dog and wonder what she's thinking. Does she even think at all? Does she have a thought process? Is she plotting against the squirrel out on the lawn? When it rains, she looks melancholy -  as if she's wishing her sunny days back, lying in some random sunbeam. Occasionally, she'll run up and jump on me, indicating she wants something. I have to walk and follow her in order to know what she needs. If she heads to the kitchen, she wants a treat. If she heads near the door, she needs to go out. Sometimes, it could be that she just wants to cuddle on the couch, so she'll pull my pant leg and steer me over to the sofa. Our communication isn't the best, we mess up and well, I have to clean up the occasional 'mess', but overall, it's pretty damn good. But this isn't about my dog, oddly enough. Have you ever wondered what someone in your life was thinking? It amazes me we have this precise language that we can tell others exactly what we want or need, and yet we never use it to its fullest potential. We make the other person guess or try to figure it all out on their own - like my communication with my dog. We speak in roundabout ways or give someone the cold shoulder to let them know you're not pleased with them for whatever reason.  And while indifference can speak volumes, some people aren't the brightest bulbs in the pack. They just don't get it. We need it in black and white sometimes. There are times when I can only dream that the person I'm trying to communicate would pull my pant leg and guide me to where they need to be. Wishful thinking.

There are two things that can keep someone from communicating effectively: pain and fear. The pain can be from someone hurting you, either physically or emotionally. My dog cowers if you try to pet her head. You have to leave your hand out, let her sniff you and she'll let you pet her. Her fear from the pain she had in the past as a rescue dog which makes her behave this way. Ok ok ok, enough with my doggy analogies. But it's working, isn't it?  Pain from someone hurting you can make you fear getting close with them again. The trust is broken. And even though you have all the forgiveness you can possibly dish out for anyone who has hurt you in the past, it is extremely hard to forget for some people. I do believe time can build up trust again - you have to earn it, as I'm trying to do with my dog, but sometimes, it's just too much, the memories, the thought of getting treated poorly once again...too much.  I can only do my best and be patient, understanding and try to be a safe place for my best friend...or for the person I once hurt. They say the truth emerges when you're in a fit of anger, and yet when people are apologizing for their reckless behavior, they always seem to say, "I didn't mean what I said." It can be very confusing when some truth is mixed in with a sprinkle of exaggeration...or is it exaggeration? Maybe they thought like this all along and now, the truth comes out. I've done both in a fit of anger: I've said things I truly didn't mean, and I have also spilled the beans about what I truly thought. There's this proverb that says, "It's harder to make amends with an offended friend than to capture a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with iron bars." And while that may ring true, I do believe that love and communication can break those bars and set those two people free from anger or any resentment held in their hearts. If only...

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