His Bite is Worse Than His Bark
A man was bitten by a rabid dog and ended up in bed seriously ill. He mustered up enough strength to request a pen and a pad of paper. Then, he began to write furiously -- page after page. "Honey, are you writing your last will and testament?" his wife asked. "No," he replied, "I'm making a list of people I'm going to bite!"
"His bark is worse than his bite" has been said both of dogs and grumps. Unfortunately, there are some people who can pack a pretty vicious bite.
Perhaps, you have been "bitten" by someone. Maybe you felt the sting of gossip or the barbs of unjust criticism. Such encounters leave us wounded and in need of emotional first aid.
How do you handle "attack dog people" -- the ones who snarl and snap at you, and will take a hunk out of your behind if you turn your back?
1. Remember, hurting people hurt people. When they lash out, it reveals their deep inner pain. It is almost as if they are announcing their pain to the world. "I'm hurting right now, and so you need to hurt right along with me!"
2. Receive the kernel of truth. Most criticisms contain at least a sliver of truth. Think of criticisms as walnuts. You don't need to swallow the hole nut. Just find the helpful kernel.
3. Refuse to quarrel. Nobody wins an argument, and if somebody jumps in the mud, you can't clean them up by jumping in the mud with them. In situations like that it is best to hold your tongue. You won't regret the angry words you didn't say.
4. Refuel your emotional tank. An encounter with a negative, critical person can poke a hole in your tank, leaving you spent and exhausted. Be sure to take the time to replenish the depleted supply. Whatever it is that fills your tank -- do it! I have found prayer to be the greatest tank filler available for the human heart.
5. Remain positive. Keep doing the right thing, even if someone is taking pot shots at you. As Teddy Roosevelt said, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena."
6. Reach out. Our wounds come through relationship, and they are healed through relationship. Those who strive for peace and understanding generally find them,.