You have to know the predator in order not to become the prey.
Last week I had a rather disturbing encounter with a man who felt it was necessary to condescend to me in order to convince me he was right and should do what he wanted in the future if we were to do business together.
As it was a professional encounter I could not speak my mind as I wanted to, which definitely would have burned a few bridges. Fortunately, at 69, I understand the psychological and emotional nature of the human predator and prey relationship.
In Native America when a person is fortunate enough to discover their animals spirit guides, in my case it took years, if they are predators, you must also look at the behavior of their prey to gain a full understanding of how these guides influence your life.
I have spent a good deal of time studying and contemplating exactly that. All of my guides are predators, though, one, it could be argued can survive without killing animals, just plants. As I sized up this predator behavior, I pictured the deer, I hid behind an understanding smile, and shut off any train of thought that might give away my position.
I focused on how to escape with all I needed to survive. After a while I was no longer hearing his words at all, I was doing as the deer dies, standing still, watching and waiting. I learned my escape route. It was not agreeing to any of his terms it was not countering his argument. It was asking his advice as to how to achieve what he suggested.
He beamed a smile at me, and proceeded to tell me all I needed to know in order to be successful in the future. I smiled throughout, not a fake smile, a smile of knowing I had gotten away.
He finished, we said goodbye, him sure I would take his advice and certain that he had “won”; me certain I would completely ignore everything he suggested, and continue with the path I had chosen, even if it meant losing his business. In other words, I escaped with my reputation, my integrity and my life in tact. That was the goal.
However, as it’s important to note, as Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes points out, “Sometimes the predator is not outside of you.” Sometimes it’s the voice in your head telling you’re not good enough, not smart enough, it’s a good idea but the timings all wrong, etc. etc.
It can be the insecurities and lack of self-confidence that cause you to live in fear. Fear of success or fear of failure. It stalks you until you give up or until, like the people who hunt man-eating lions and tigers and bears, oh my, you turn around and face the fear and put it to rest. This can be a much longer process than facing a person who’s trying to intimidate you, but well worth the effort.
I suggest writing down all the voices in your head that stop you from following your dreams, finding your joy and being at peace with yourself. Then see if through journaling or coaching or maybe even professional therapy, you can identify the predator and begin to turn on it like the hunter, until it’s roar is silenced and you can escape into a world where you are in charge of what you choose to stalk, rather than being the one who is stalked.
I once saw an anonymous quote: “Stalk your dreams like they’re about to take out a restraining order against you!” Funny, but true!
So, just remember, you have to know the predator in order not to become the prey.