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Monday, February 4, 2013

Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick

'Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not.' Samuel Johnson

Difficult People Make Us Feel Unsafe

You know who they are--those people who drive you crazy, stirring up trouble--and making you feel unsafe. In my family we call them '*hit Disturbers'.

These creators of chaos and drama stir up a whirlwind of trouble that sucks you in and wreaks havoc on your emotions, perhaps leaving you feeling anxious and uncertain about your relationships, or future with the company.

So how should you deal with these disturbers of your peace?  Try kindness first.

How's that, you say? How does one just put on a happy face and handle these twits with kindness when the truth is you really don't like them and what you'd really like to do is 'get' them and make their lives miserable? 

Why on earth would you choose to deal with them with kindness when a good kick in the behind would serve them well?--Because it's best for you.

Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick

Before you  dismiss this as Pollyanna drivel for how to deal with these purveyors of distress, consider Teddy Roosevelt's use of 'speak softly and carry a big stick', an African proverb he picked up while traveling in West Africa in 1900.

While Governor of New York, Roosevelt fought with party bosses, particularly one that threatened to ruin him. Despite the threats, Teddy conveyed his stance in a speech with the adage 'speak softly and carry a big stick'. Roosevelt stayed steady and eventually the bosses gave in to the direction he wanted to go--and he certainly was not ruined.

The adage 'speak softly and carry a big stick' evokes an image of a person who is clearly in control of his or her emotions and actions. This is a person who is slow to anger and slow to react. And while you may start out softly in your words and deeds, you always know you can pull out the stick if you need to--and they do too.

Don't let your life be led by the *hit disturbers. Choose to be in charge of your own life and create a life based on your own values.

How to Speak Softly when You Really Want to Blast Them

  • Suspend judgment
  • Hold your tongue
  • Count to ten--no wait--make that one hundred
  • Engage in self-calming activities
  • Wait
  • Put time between when you want to blast them and when you respond to their trying behavior
  • Remember who YOU are
  • Remember what you want to build in your life

'You can accomplish by kindness what you cannot by force.' Publilius Syrus
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For more than 25 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.
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Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Sue, I know from personal experience how very well this works! Many's the time I've used it and achieved remarkable results. With emails, it means simmering down before hitting the "send" button.

Susan J Meyerott, M.S. said...

Jean--the queen of kindness and dignity--I am very sure you only pull out the stick when absolutely necessary. The gracious hostess would be more your style.