There’s an episode of Dog Whisperer where Cesar Milan, a self-taught dog trainer, encountered a Chihuahua named “Nunu” who attacked any and everyone who wasn’t his owner. Nunu was a rescue, who clearly had a difficult life; and after finding an owner who finally showed love and affection, he became dominant to the point of violence, so as to protect himself and his owner from harm or danger. That was his defense mechanism: be defensive and unapproachable to avoid getting hurt.
Confession: I am Nunu. Nunu is me. And it’s not ok.
Nunu and his bitch-I’ll-cut-you tendencies came up in a conversation I had with a friend the other day. We were discussing my dating life, or lack thereof, and how I approach the prospect of dating and making new acquaintances by being standoffish and fearful. Just like Nunu. When I am approached by a guy I’m not attracted to or interested in speaking with I go right into defense-mode: sizing him up, paying little attention to what he says, and even being impertinent at times. On the rare occasion I actually approach or am approached by someone I’m attracted to or want to get to know, I recoil and get mousey, exuding more fear than confidence, because I don’t want to be rejected. People can smell arrogance and insensitivity, and they can also smell fear and insecurity; none of which fosters the type of dialogue that leads to friendship, a date, or a relationship.
My problem is that I’ve been in this space of being aloof and fearful for so long that it’s now a habit. I know that that is not who I am…I’m actually the complete opposite by nature. So, how do I fix it and turn it all around?
“Be the Love!” is the advice I was given.
My friend got a little Oprah on me and reminded me that every single person on this planet is a spiritual being having a human experience. Looking at it from that perspective, the Spirit, our souls, respond to one thing and one thing only: energy. And the most positive energy that exists is LOVE. We are all out in the world looking to connect with other people, both platonically and romantically. The thing to remember is that everyone we encounter will respond moreso to the energy of the interaction than what actually takes place during the interaction.
The way I see it…well, now…is that I can mitigate the awkwardness or fear of approaching or being approached by other people by acknowledging that everyone I interact with is just another human being; most likely going through the same ups and downs of life that I am. That alone is something we have in common, an ice breaker of sorts. Saying, “Hey, how’s it going?” has new meaning now. It’s not necessarily a pick-up line or intrusive prying; it’s my Spirit attempting to connect with someone else’s (or vice versa), based not on who my mind tells me they are at first glance, but on who we all are, for the most part, at the core: goodness, light, and love. Yes, not everyone is going to respond to love-energy with love—some people will side-eye the hell out of me and shoo me away with the quickness, or see me as someone to be taken advantage of. But it is far less likely that someone will enter my life with negative intention that I should ward off by any means necessary, than it is for someone to enter my life (or me enter theirs) simply wanting to expand our human connection.
We have to learn to meet people where they are and acknowledge our own essential greatness if we want to bring strong and fruitful friendships or relationships into our lives. We can’t just get all Nunu on everyone—fearfully pushing people away or not approaching them at all to keep ourselves protected. It should be our goal to enter as many conversations, interactions, and experiences with as much love-minded energy as we can, and share that love with others. Be the Love; don't be the Chihuahua! If we bring love-energy to every experience—being open and welcoming to the human beings we come in contact with—then, nine times out of ten, we will receive the same energy back. We’ll also be regarded as people worth talking to, getting to know, and being around. That’s beneficial on both personal and professional levels.
So let’s be more open. Let’s be the love! You never know what it will bring into your life.