Saturday, March 10, 2007

If Animals Could Talk

CAPTION: I took this photo at the San Francisco Zoo. This giraffe appeared to be looking for something. With a long neck they have the ability to see things others may not be able to see.

What Kind of Communicator Are You?

We all communicate in different ways in conflict situations. Some of us communicate in healthy ways and others in unhealthy ways. Below are some different types of communication personified by animals. Which do you most identify with? Which do you want to most identify with?

The Turtle - This person is hesitant to share his feelings and needs with others if it is not safe. He is scared to be honest and vulnerable with others. He may hide in his shell for some time before facing the situation. He may hide in his room or give others the silent treatment. He tends to be a passive communicator. He will pop his head out from time to time to see if it is safe to talk and slowly musters the courage to begin to share what is in his heart. He may need some prodding and reassurance from others that it is safe and okay to do so.

The Jackal - This person makes judgments of others and criticizes and blames others when there is a conflict. Like a jackal who is by nature aggressive, this person is quick to share his opinion of others and is very good at making critical evaluations of others. The Jackal many times with his way of communicating puts up a wall between himself and others with his words. He is more of an aggressive type of communicator. The Jackal, as an animal tends to be territorial and aggressive.

The Skunk - This person lets everyone in a room know that he is upset. Like a skunk, when frightened has his hair stand on end and raises his back to shoot his awful spray, so does this person spray everyone with his words and behavior. Everyone knows this person is upset. He may throw a tantrum, break things, throw things, yell, insult, threaten others, etc.

The Mosquito - This person, like a mosquito, attacks others when they least expect it. Mosquitos bite when people are asleep or unaware. This person is passive aggressive. He may say that he is okay and later unleash his attack when least expected. He has a hard time expressing his feelings and needs and usually holds on to things until he explodes (or bites).

The Giraffe - This person is a peacemaker, transparent and assertive in his communication. He is all heart and focuses on expressing exactly what is in his heart (his feelings and needs) to others without mixing in judgment, blame and criticism. Giraffes have the largest heart of all the land mammals. It is approximately 3 feet long and 3 inches thick all around.

Because a giraffe has a long neck he can scan the territory from above and as a result has a better view of things. Likewise, this person can see beyond someone's unhealthy behavior and see what is behind it by identifying their feelings and needs. He helps others (turtles, skunks, jackals, mosquitos) express what is in their heart (their feelings and needs) when they are having trouble doing so. To learn more on how to speak giraffe click here.


Holly Jean said...

I am generally a turtle... :(

Eddie Zacapa said...

I am a recoverying turtle myself. The key is once you know where you are at (as a communicator), to try to become the Giraffe. With practice and a desire to change we can all do that. :)