Not so very long ago, in a forest close by, lived a grumpy bear and a sly fox.
The grumpy bear was known to roar loudly when a gentle growl would have been more appropriate. The grumpy bear was not comfortable at expressing any kind of emotion. When the grumpy bear felt uncertain, he became even grumpier. But underneath that grumpy, growly exterior was a big heart filled with love and good intention.
The sly fox on the other hand, was a smooth communicator. He spoke softly and gently. His words were chosen with care and always reflected exactly what his listener wanted to hear. He never growled or challenged anyone and so many animals in the forest eagerly listened to whatever the sly fox had to say.
The sly fox used the grumpy bear’s gruffness and roughness against him. The sly fox liked nothing better than to poke the fire and fan the flames of dissension. He would say things like “If the grumpy bear cared about you, he would do this. That’s what I would do” or “The grumpy bear doesn’t understand you like I do”. Sometimes the sly fox knew things that would help the grumpy bear, but instead of sharing information or offering to help the grumpy bear, the sly fox would go to others in the forest and say “Why isn’t the grumpy bear doing this?”
Of course, the sly fox never actually did anything to help anyone in the forest. He left the hard work for the grumpy bear. The sly fox whispered, using his smooth, gentle words to turn the other animals against the grumpy bear, making the grumpy bear’s job even harder. Then the sly fox would grin, rub his paws and skulk away … until the next time.
A lot of us have a grumpy bear or a sly fox in our lives. We meet them at work, at play and sometimes at home. The grumpy bear doesn’t realize how words and actions can be misconstrued when others perceptions and emotions are not taken into consideration. Sometimes the grumpy bear speaks poorly from a place of sincerity and positive intention.
The sly fox knows exactly what the other person wants to hear. He or she looks for and feed on insecurities, fears and weaknesses. The sly fox speaks and acts well from a place of deception and negative intention.
With experience comes wisdom and I have learned to look past the exterior to find the intention. Some people grouse and grumble, then buckle down and act. Others sound positive and supportive,but in reality are only looking to stir the pot. They ditch and run as soon as their real objective, dissension, has been achieved.
Give me grumpy and sincere over smooth and sneaky any day.