No. 18


Several years ago, I had a neighbor who had a beautiful white dog that stayed in the house most of the time. Unfortunately, when the dog was let outside, he had a habit of visiting other neighbors' yards, bushes and flower beds, if you know what I mean.
One day another neighbor whose yard had been visited by this dog was irate and made a comment about the dog's owner. She said, "I think I will give her a piece of my mind." When the dog's owner heard about it, she responded, "If she gave it all, you still wouldn't have anything!"

While it's just human nature to respond to criticism in this manner, it's much harder to stop and consider whether or not the other person's criticism is justified. No one who lives in the city where houses are close together wants to have to watch where they step in their own yard, especially if they don't own a pet and the problem persists.
The problem here as it relates to good human relations is that it's much easier to put someone else down than it is to raise ourselves up. Unfortunately, because of the attitude of one neighbor and the resulting 'put down', both neighbors were losers and they missed the opportunity to be friends.

It's my belief that a lot of people today are being misled along these lines, and here's an example. Sometime ago I was in a very large city in another state and was listening to the radio. The program I was listening to featured a well known psychologist and she took phone calls from listeners who were having stress and emotional problems. After listening to a caller for a few minutes, she then gave advice on how to cope with his or her problems. As I continued to listen I'm convinced that most of her callers were satisfied with her answers, because it was obvious that she was well qualified and knew what she was talking about.

Because of my extensive interaction with people, I picked up several things in this psychologist's answers that told me where she was coming from. First, her tone of voice was harsh, not soft and gentle, and the feeling of love toward others did not come through. Next, she seemed to be elated when some of her callers (especially female callers), asserted they were going to do something for themselves for a change, because they had been involved in taking care of others too long.

Before you misconstrue what I'm saying, let me be quick to add; there is certainly nothing wrong with wanting to be our own person, to have self-respect, and a certain degree of independence, but there is a real danger in not knowing when or where to stop. In many cases, people like this become overly assertive and they go from driving a motorbike to a Sherman tank, and before long, they develop the attitude that they can "bulldoze" their way over everything and everyone who gets in their way. This type of person has little or no compassion for others.

Regardless of whether by conscious choice or just letting their selfish human nature take over, it's a shallow, short-sighted way to think and live. I believe the people who put stock in the kind of information this psychologist was putting out are being misled. Sooner or later, regardless of what we say or the lifestyle we choose, we all have to come face-to-face with our Maker. We would be much better off if we would strive to always lift people up. In most cases, we can say what needs to be said without putting other people down. -- (EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)