This is something I’ve been meaning to write about for a while. This year has become incredibly busy so I’ve not been writing as much as I’d hoped, but here’s our next edition of “Jackie’s Interesting Point of View”.
If you’ve been following me at all, you’ll probably have heard me mention something called Access Consciousness or The Bars. These came into my life a couple of years ago and have really changed the way I interact with the world. The things I would have to say most attract me to the Access teachings and tools is their simplicity and clarity. What I’m going to share with you here is my interpretation of one of those teachings and I hope it helps you the way it’s helped me.
What are ELF’s and Rattlesnakes? ELF stands for Evil Little F**k (I’ve been known to drop a bomb from time to time, but I swear, this is as defined by Gary Douglas, founder of Access Consciousness) and Rattlesnake really is self-explanatory. The idea is that there are people in this world who take great pleasure in causing difficulty and suffering for others. We’ve all had it happen where we’ve run across someone who seems to be on a mission against us for no apparent reason. The co-worker who tries to discredit us at every possible opportunity, the gossip who starts rumours behind our backs, the people who seem to plot and plan all the time to cause problems and push the buttons of anyone who allows it. Why do they do that? For the rest of us, it can be difficult to understand why anyone would want to live that way.
There’s a story I’ve heard told a few different ways. Same idea but sometimes different characters. My favourite version is one of the scorpion who wants to cross a river so he asks a frog to transport him across on his back. The frog refuses, saying that he knows the scorpion will sting him and kill him. The scorpion argues and convinces the frog that it will not sting him because by doing so they would both drown and eventually the frog relents. As the frog carries the scorpion across the river, all of a sudden, he feels it’s sting. As they both begin to sink he asks the scorpion why it stung despite promising not to because now they will both die. The scorpion’s answer is simply that he stung the frog because he’s a scorpion and that’s what scorpions do. It’s their nature, it’s who they are.
The moral of the story is simple. You cannot expect someone or something to go against their nature, regardless of what they may say. But how many times do we dumb ourselves down and buy the story we’re told? Have you ever done that? I know I have and we hear about it all the time. Someone says they will never drink/cheat/lie/hit/steal… again and because we want them in our lives for whatever reason, we buy their story and allow them another opportunity. And most of the time (and usually before much time has passed) they drink/cheat/lie/hit/steal… again.
So what do we do with these ELF’s and Rattlesnakes? What you choose to do with them is up to you but what I can say with confidence is that these people rarely, if ever, truly change. I can also say that they are often unavoidable. The trick is in recognizing them quickly and not giving them the opportunity to put you in their crosshairs. When you see something or someone for who and what they truly are, it becomes much harder for them to pull the wool over your eyes or manipulate you. It also usually isn’t as much fun when you don’t engage. You may not be able to stop them from messing with you, but if you remove your energy from the situation it usually takes away their pleasure and they’ll move on to someone else who will be more fun to “play” with. Other times, it’s necessary to not back down and to fully engage.
I do my best to avoid these people because I’d really rather surround myself with people who are fun to be around and who are supportive of one another. Causing intentional harm to another is almost never part of my agenda. I’ll admit I’ve considered it at times – usually when someone I care about has been hurt in some deep way – but as I sit here writing this, I’m struggling to remember a single time when I actually followed through. I also am fully aware that I would do whatever was necessary to protect myself and others if the need arose, but to do this for sheer pleasure is really just not in my makeup.
Up until probably about 10 or 12 years ago, I fell victim to several of these types of situations, some of them causing some pretty catastrophic consequences in my life. Maybe that’s how we learn. At any rate, I now seem to have developed a pretty good radar as a result and I can usually smell these people very quickly. It’s often very subtle – things don’t quite make sense or don’t quite add up or when I’m near them I just feel like something isn’t quite right. When that happens and whenever possible, I remove that person from my environment. If they’re family or someone I must deal with for some reason, I’ve learned to really keep my eyes and ears open. That’s usually all I need to do. Somehow, they seem to know that I see them and that’s often enough.
The founder of Access Consciousness, Gary Douglas tells us to recognize people for what they are and not let them convince us otherwise. If you get into bed with a rattlesnake, you’re likely to get bitten. If our friend the frog had followed his instincts and refused to carry the scorpion across the river, he would not have drowned halfway across. Your awareness is like a muscle. If you haven’t been using it, at first it will likely take some practice. But as you flex and stretch that muscle it will become stronger and easier to use.
My most recent run-in with an ELF was at a local trade show a few months ago. It was quite a large event with lots of vendors and thousands of people attended. The first day, a lady approached me at my booth and tried to convince me to join her business as a representative. I politely listened to what she had to say, thanked her for considering me, and told her I wasn’t interested. The following day, she came back to my booth with a VERY pushy man who would not stop talking and when I asked him to move on and leave my booth, he became quite irate, yelling nasty comments over his shoulder. He subsequently returned to talk to people at my neighbouring booths, for some reason trying to discredit me. This continued until I finally reported him to the organizers because he was being disruptive and causing a scene – not good for any of our businesses. He then began to send other people over to my booth and my neighbours and continued in his efforts to discredit me.
But here’s what happened. His attempts completely backfired. My neighbours had watched me interacting with people all weekend and had spoken with me over that time themselves. They not only refused to listen to his lies, they actually came to our defense multiple times. When a friend was manning my booth alone for a few minutes, one of our neighbours slipped in behind the table because she saw him approach and did not want her to have to handle him by herself. He quickly left. And whenever he sent someone over to bother us our neighbours would stand and appear ready to help should it be needed. It reminded me very much of the saying “Circling the wagons” and it was a wonderful experience to see how my fellow business women rallied to support one of their own.
I am obviously qualified both in training and experience to teach what I know and share what I’ve learned. This individual was clearly just an ELF and I gave him no power so eventually he had no choice but to leave me alone. His determination was surprising and I have no idea to this day what caused him to fixate on me. I believe that the other ladies were so determined in their support because I handled myself with complete transparency. And maybe just a little because we girls need to stick together when we have a rattlesnake in our midst.
So when you find yourself in a situation where you are having a reaction that tells you the situation is just not quite right, what would it take for you to trust that without having to know why and regardless of someone else’s thoughts or judgment or what someone else may think of you? What would it take for you to stand up when necessary or simply acknowledge that you see things for what they are? And how will you know the difference? By stretching and flexing that awareness muscle. Are you willing to leave behind the illusion of comfort and begin to require that things change in your life or would you rather just go along? The choice, as always, is yours.
Until next time…