Wag more--bark less

circle of animalsThose were words that I read on the back of a bumper sticker while waiting for a red light to change. With nothing else to do but wait patiently, I started to reflect on those words and thought that they would make an interesting article.

How often have you found yourself barking out a command or direction expecting others to follow you, but then found out that no one wanted to go along with you because of your tone of voice or even your body language that seems to be condescending rather than uplifting?

Wag more bark less a great thought with a strong message. Everyone seems to want to be the one who gives the orders and makes the decision yet if even our leaders put their message out with a little lightheartedness, the message might be more easily received and accepted. Wouldn'tit be easier for all to accept if we softened our instructions or directions and chose to influence others with a lighthearted gesture, joke and even a tag along narrative to engage in a dialogue. That certainly would foster better understanding and allow others to feel valued at the same time.

Do you remember the old adage: "You get more with honey than you do with vinegar." Growing up I heard that all the time; there is a lot of truth to those words. Have you ever noticed how people respond to you when you smile and compliment them, and/or when you tend to show consideration and interest in what they are saying they respond in a like manner. Effective thoughtful communication is a skill that we need to learn more about. Whether you are speaking to your child, partner or at a social event, the manner in which you express yourself sends a signal to others that either re-assures them or sends a red flag of concern. I was just at a social event when one of the women not only voiced her opinion but when some one expressed another point of view, she hit hard again making her feelings know in a harsh and unfriendly manner. Several people in the room looked up in surprise to see this woman act out in anger and resentment. They all knew that itwasn'tnecessarily directed at them but nonetheless the message was sent don't mess with me today, I am in a bad mood. Who wants to be near a person who is having a bad day? I know I don't I choose not to participate in their story and I choose not to be at the receiving end of their unfriendly comments.

Another great thought that my mother always reminded me about is: "Think before you speak." That, too, is a very powerful statement and one that I encourage you to pay attention to it just might save you from embarrassment, and/or regret one day. I know that it is a statement that I, too, need to pay greater attention to. Maybe if we all thought first, barked less and maybe not necessarily wag more but showed ourselves in a more pleasant light we just might receive a kind word or gesture in return.

Joan Marie Ambrose

Author, Creative Writer, Motivational Speaker

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Blog Date: 
Friday, December 21, 2012