Calm Assertive

>> Wednesday, January 24, 2007

My newest obsession is watching "The Dog Whisperer". Obsessed with a capital "O". When I first started watching it I heard the dog psychologist, Cesar, talk a lot about "energy". It rubbed me the wrong way because it sounded almost "new age" to me. But the more I watched...and I've watched a lot by now...the more I understood his principles. When you are tense and frustrated your dog will sense your frustration and become frustrated himself. A lot of bad dog behaviors stem from this bad energy. In the dog world, dog's don't use verbal communication, they use instinct. They sense each other's energy and draw from it. When their pack leader is fearful or frustraed the whole pack is unstable. But when the pack leader is calm and assertive the pack becomes balanced.

Ok, so call me crazy...and maybe I've been watching The Dog Whisperer too much...but it seems to me this principle can be applied to all areas of life. At work today an issue came up that someone became very passionate about. This person became so passionate in fact and outspoken about it that it started rubbing some other people the wrong way and turned them off to her ideas. Her very same point could have been made a lot more effectively if she had remained calm and assertive instead of frustrated with heightened energy.

It seems this could also be true in parenting as well. I've noticed that when I approach my kids with a calm, assertive energy I get a better response from them. They feel more respected and understood, more balanced. But when I approach them with anger, frustration or confusion, I generate more frustration and anger.

I am a very passionate person myself. Very high energy. I think I'd like to make it my mission to channel my energy differently. There's nothing wrong with being passionate. But when passion reaches an elevated level to the point that it diminishes the effectiveness of the communication then it ceases to be passion.

Calm Assertive...that's my new mantre.
And by the way, Cesar's philosophy is working wonders on our new dog, Owen, too.


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