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Ruff Love

“He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skills. Our antagonist is our helper.” Edmund Burke

I used to be really ‘nice’. I think by many standards I still am. I never had a bone in me to harm another soul. This actually used to be a problem for some relatives who definitely had an inclination to hurt or harm others and perhaps were seeking justification by criticising my more reasoned tendencies.

In fact, my ‘reasonableness’ fulfilled a couple things, in that I like good results and that discussion thing seemed a useful means… And, also, it led to more satisfying exchanges and good relationships, so why not? The alternatives were not as great from my observation.

Somewhere on the way I found myself becoming the ‘nice one’, relative to say the ‘nasty one’… some strange kind of role assignments had emerged and I ended up in that one. To say the least, that proved really painful when it came down to the gritty stuff. It turned out when people are backed in a corner they will generally throw all their loyalties behind the other person, who apparently they respect more… Another interesting lesson about humanity.

In any case I can’t say I ever felt really great about being Ms. Soft and Sweet; indeed it would get to me sometimes. But if I’d dump that role, then who or what would I become?

Enter my spiritual drive. My spirit was calling me to just be honest; be honest with yourself, with your friends, with your loved ones. Take the risk and see how things go. Then this became an obsession almost; I couldn’t stop myself. I was petrified but I felt it was just something I had to do! I remember telling some Canadian bosses [way back before my awareness] that I didn’t really like their working conditions and please don’t think they are doing me a favour by giving me a ‘job’. That turned out great [in fact, I think they were concerned I would instigate the other staff so they paid me out quite handsomely].

I also remember telling a couple important friends that I didn’t appreciate their behaviour in a particular setting, imposing on my personal space. They didn’t like the critique, but eventually they told me they appreciated our friendship sufficiently to accept what I said. Ultimately our relationship improved quite a bit from that time on; more grounded and far more honest with less ‘game playing’.

In recent times I have been contemplating just why when I throw some rough truths at people, they generally come around some time later, and they tell me it was good for them… indeed, it was very good! I observed my two little dogs – they are the closest things to ‘natural beings’ in my space. So they make quite good subjects when one needs a point of reference for instinctual living.

Although there is no ‘need’, these two fellows get down to some rough stuff between themselves. The girl literally pounces on the man and provokes and he does the same thing back sometimes. [She’s more provocative… not sure why [smile] ] And they play-fight like crazy between themselves. Then they take a break and go right back to duty. I might add they also take time to share affection periodically including with me, although they are not obsessive with and for that, and they spontaneously have some fun… They’re so great!

So someone mentioned that animals do this Rough love action to naturally toughen themselves for the coming challenges, whatever they are. This helps to build muscle, sharpen teeth, develop their swiftness in a fight, that kind of thing. And I put the pieces together. Being ‘soft’ with people all the time, thinking it is for the best, isn’t necessarily natural. Indeed if it’s not managed, it can lead to dysfunction in people: ‘spoiling’ them. The consequence is that they don’t properly learn how to really fend for themselves in Real Life and might just depend on you indefinitely to take care of things for them. The other thing is, they don’t respect you, and will often be really cruel to you without a second thought.

On the other hand, being that Reality check just might be the ‘nicest’ thing you could do for that person you care about… and actually for yourself too. This doesn’t mean abuse; not at all. With solid intention anyone can communicate the sincere message and serve the greater good. In the process you earn the respect of your circle, which is often something many regret on reflection on their and the other’s lives in later years.

Something to think about…

Ruff love and care to you.


P.S. My good friend Samme coined the phrase ‘Ruff Love’ rather than ‘Rough Love’ because he knew the dogs helped me out. I am so blessed with it.

sweet shot


July 30, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Mon Sherri,

    Lovely piece. It is fortunate that you have had such positive responses from being honest in relationships in that they have earned you more respect and been catalysts for you to have healthier relations. I imagine that your delivery was effective by you being kind and assertive.
    My problem in being direct was that I used to tend to blast the truth and it was too much for some people. Thus, I alienated myself from the closeness I was seeking so I consciously learned about “radical honesty with compassion” which was so much more effective that brutal honesty. (A guy even wrote a book about it)

    May your effective communication practice and modeling ever evolve and spread!

    In love and gratitude,


    Comment by mary river | December 18, 2009 | Reply

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