I am reading a great book called "The Chimp Paradox" at the moment and one of the stories in it has inspired this blog all about knowing the difference between chicks and goslings and discovering stress. Once you discover stress it is much easier to deal with.
So, here is a little story for you....
A hen was placed in a pen along with her chicks and then a fox was released.
The fox circled the pen to try and grab the chicks. The mother hen knew exactly what to do and so she spread her wings and faced the fox head on. With her wings spread, the chicks ran beneath them to safety. The hen then threatened the fox by lowering her head and warning him with a pointed beak. The fox couldn't get the chicks and the hen stood her ground. All was well and the fox left with nothing.
Later that day some goslings were added to the pen. Being a mother hen, the hen took responsibility for their protection and acted as their mother too. But then the fox returned. This time he circled round the pen, and the goslings also tried to get under the wings of the mother hen, However, there were too many chicks and goslings to get underneath so many ran round in a panic The hen tried to chase after them to save them but of course, she couldn't manage it. At this point, realising the situation was hopeless, she left them all and flew to try and get out of the pen, leaving all of the young birds open to attack by the fox
So what is the lesson that we can learn from this? When it comes to dealing with the problems and responsilities that life throws at us it is really important to make a distinction between problems that are your responsility (chicks) and problems that are others (goslings). If you start taking responsibility for other people's problems then you can expect to become stressed. Not only could you then fail to help others, but you will also fail to sort out your own problems too. Beware of the goslings in your life!
So, of course this doesn't mean that you shouldn't help others, but do be careful not to start owning other people's problems. By all means support people as they help themselves but don't take over a problem you have no control over.
If you would like to take a look at The Chimp Paradox by Dr. Steve Peters you can find it on Amazon here..