You are not a Salmon

This segment of Help Yourself is the brainchild of Dr. Steve Shiendling who believes that oftentimes people remain stuck in negative emotional states or unhealthy relationships because of fear, or a belief that change is too difficult or impossible. Thankfully though, we are not salmon! Salmon have no choice but to wind up in an aluminum can, on a plate in a restaurant, or in the jaws of a grizzly bear. People however, are not destined to suffer. We can create change in our lives. Help yourself to Dr. Shiendling's  insights from his soon to be published book: You are not a Salmon: Stop Swimming Upstream and Start Living an Easier and Happier Life. You can learn more about the ideas behind You are not a Salmon on Dr. Shiendling's website—

Don't Play with Alligators

Some time ago while watching one of the national early morning shows, I was struck and a bit dumbfounded by one of the stories presented. The host was interviewing a man who performed shows with alligators. The subject of the interview described a recent incident in which he was bitten on the arm, and required medical intervention including many staples and stitches. Luckily for the man, he still had two arms.

I contemplated why this story was newsworthy, but never figured out its significance. Would there be media coverage of a school bus arriving without incident at an elementary School?  I doubt a national correspondent would corner someone for an interview as he or she began their work day at the beauty salon. The point being, school buses transport students to school,  people go to work, and alligators bite whomever and whatever is within their proximity.  These primitive reptiles spend their time in the pursuit of satisfying their own needs. Nature has provided them with a lethal mechanism to kill. They don’t have compassion, empathy, or consideration. They don’t care how you feel, and they cannot be your friend. As such, if you play with alligators, you should expect to be bitten.

Some people are like alligators. They prey upon the kindness, naivety, and vulnerability of others. In relationships they are not partners, but users. They manipulate those in their life for their own gain. Sometimes these “two legged” alligators are called sociopaths. Even without a formal diagnosis or label, we can recognize that some people are largely self-centered, untrustworthy, scheming, hurtful, and/or callous. Surprisingly, many people choose to “play” with those sorts of individuals. In the end, having a relationship with this kind of person will lead to emotional pain and disappointment.
Hopefully you’ve avoided encounters with "alligators." If not, your past can be a valuable learning tool. You do have power in the present, and by heightening your awareness, you can diminish the likelihood of developing a relationship with an alligator. Further, if you believe your partner may be an alligator in disguise, you can develop a plan to get out.

Click the link to take the Alligator Test