Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Beware of Scorpions

I always loved Aesop’s fables, but almost forgot one that has now become my personal favorite: The Scorpion and the Frog. It is a short yet meaty story about a scorpion agreeing not to sting a frog who agrees to take him across the river to safety. Inevitably the journey is ill-fated; they both wind up sinking, because of the scorpion’s nature to attack, even though it leads to his demise. It is not a happy story, but the lesson it teaches resonates with me. I want to avoid being at the mercy of the scorpions around me and to know them when I see them. It is similar to Sun Tzu's “know your enemy" with animal references.

This is hard to do when there are scorpions in our family and friend circles. I have dealt with one in particular since childhood, but my becoming aware of this individual’s destructive nature has helped me gain the proper perspective. I learned how to avoid poisonous behavior to maintain my own peace of mind. It is strange to compare a person to a scorpion, but I just see it as a point of reference in my own psyche. I know I never want to be a frog, when it comes to another person’s nature to attack others and self-destruct in the process.

When it is unavoidable dealing with a scorpion, whether it is a boss, a difficult family member, or friend of a friend, I find that the best ways to handle the situation depend on the nature of the relationship. If contact is limited, maintaining an emotional and physical distance and avoiding any financial, legal, or other kind of arrangement are key strategies. It is more difficult if the scorpion is predominant in our everyday lives. Regardless of the relationships, it is important to protect ourselves and understand the nature of cruelty, so it does not destroy us.

How do you deal with your scorpions?

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