A friend told me this story a few days ago and I am so enamored with it and its beautiful layers that I asked for his permission to share it with you.
A short while back, my friend - let's call him Paul - was getting his dogs out of the truck when they decided to make a little detour on their way to the house to boogie out down the street at as good a clip as their aging legs would let them.
It wasn't long before the pups were enthusiastically duo-barking at a gentleman taking his morning stroll up the street. Freshly recovered from surgery, the man was instantly terrified and no apology from my friend would help. "I do not want your apology. I want you to control your dogs" were his words.
I get it.
Doggies made it into the house and my friend felt horrible about the whole thing.
Later that afternoon, Paul saw the man walking towards his home and decided to meet him and apologize again.
What happened next makes my heart do funny things.
Hearing Paul's words, the gentleman told him that he had been doing some thinking and that he had come up with an idea he wanted to share with my friend.
He had thought that maybe it could be a good idea since he needed to take walks for his post-surgery therapy and since the dogs seemed a bit wound up, for him to ... get ready for this one ... take one of Paul's dogs on regular walks in the neighborhood.
The dog that had scared the beejeebees out of him hours before.
Paul agreed and ever since that day, the man has taken his new friend on a walk 2-3 times a week.
Can you feel the layers involved in this?
What comes up for you around this?
For me, the biggest thing, the one that sticks out the most is lack of ego. Let me add: lack of male ego.
Both men could have allowed their ego to take over and harden around the incident. When his apologies were thrown back at him, my friend could have puffed up and held an embarrassed grudge (as misguided as it may have been), committing to avoiding eye contact with a neighbor for years to come. The gentleman easily could have decided to avoid the house and to hold bad thoughts about the people who live there.
1) let a little time pass so that their "Lizards" would calm down
2) allow themselves to become vulnerable with each other. My friend by apologizing twice and the man by choosing to step away from the easy comfort of "being offended" and seeing the potential win-win in a challenging situation.
I love, love, love this story.
Today, I invite you (and me) to take some cool down time when things get heated and to consider what might live on the other side of the temptation to be - and remain - offended.
I invite us to, as Dr. Gerald Jampolsky so eloquently teaches us in his life-changing little book, to consider choosing Love instead of Fear.