Thursday, April 18, 2013

Are you a snake charmer?

I've always had a fear of snakes. I remember participating in a university research study where I was hooked up to electrodes, facing a snake in an aquarium; it was moved closer to me on a track as I sat contemplating whether I should touch or simply observe the snake. I chose not to touch the snake and later learned that had I done so, this action would have ended my participation because the researchers were measuring fear response. Never had I thought that my fear and healthy respect for snakes would come to be a metaphor for some of my adult relationships.

Snakes are insidious. They strike out with their venomous bites when you least expect it. Snakes are false prophets. While they may seem confident, rather, they are self-protective. They bite when provoked or not. If you poke a snake and it bites, it is your fault because you touched it. Even if you were trodding through the grass unaware and happened to step on the snake, it is still your doing. You needed to know the snake was there and instead, charm it, finding a way to co-exist with the snake.

I call this walking on eggshells around someone who always has the potential to strike out. And this is a very tentative unbalanced way to live in a relationship. There is a sense that the control lies with the snake, that you are never in control. In fact, you are powerless...over the snake, over its bite and over your relationship with the snake. You cannot be your authentic self with the snake, so you cannot BE with the snake.

As long as you expect a snake to be like a warm furry mammal and try to hug it, its forked tongue will always seek out your cheek to plant a venomous kiss. Leave the snake charming to the experts. It may be safer to hug a lion!

Are you trying to hug a snake? What would it look like if you instead, kept a safe distance?


Empowerment coaching can help you deal with false prophets who may feed self-limiting beliefs. For a free discovery session, call: 514.996.2414

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