The Fragrant Skunk

A while back I wrote of the misunderstood totem the Snake. There’s another one that is often misaligned and yet has much to teach us. And that’s the Skunk!

Who hasn’t recognized that pungent odor when something has gotten this critter riled up? Did you know that man can recognize the smell of a skunk for up to two miles depending on the wind? This is one strong totem showing up in our lives.

Most of us will go out of way to avoid having any contact with a skunk. The animal doesn’t even have to do anything….we will just give it a wide berth. And this is what skunk has to teach us.

The skunk demands respect by its very nature. It is fearless, patient and pretty much minds its own business. But, overstep the boundaries and it lets you know real quick it’s not happy.

Watching the skunk when its boundaries are challenged gives us a clue as to how to demand respect in our lives by walking our talk and enforcing our own boundaries. And doing so without being aggressive.

A skunk will warn you before it sprays. It will stamp its feet, then turn and raise the tail. If you haven’t moved fast enough by the time it looks back over its shoulder, it’s too late.

By stamping its feet and raising the tail, the skunk is making its boundaries known to you. It is in essence saying you’ve encroached on its territory and you need to back off.

Many people I work with have issues in being treated with respect. I often encourage them to let others know of their feelings and how they expect to be treated. My mother used to say: “we teach others how to treat us”. And she was right.

If we want to be treated with respect then we must respect our boundaries and ourselves. We don’t have to be aggressive about it. We just have to enforce it with consequences.

And that’s the next thing the skunk does. It looks back, aims and sprays. If we have presented our expectations then we must follow through on enforcing the boundaries. This is a part of demanding respect.

If you don’t enforce your boundaries and follow through, you let others know that you have no respect for yourself and will give in. This is like the kid in the checkout
screaming until he gets what he wants. He knows that if he persists, mom or dad will give in.

Skunk has shown up every day in the past week. I didn’t get it at first. Where was I not respecting myself or not enforcing boundaries. Then I realized I had made an agreement with myself regarding payment for my services and had reverted to a previous pattern.

This has been something I have worked on many times in the past. I thought I had overcome it but apparently not enough! Now I must be like skunk. I need to reaffirm my boundaries and then enforce. Gently and politely but still hold to them.

So maybe skunk isn’t quite so bad after all. It could be a lesson for all of us to walk our talk and to treat others as well as ourselves with respect.

If you’re a woman and find yourself not enforcing boundaries, you might want to check out my Empowerment Made Manifest™ Workshop:

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