One fish in particular caught my eye. I noticed it because it stayed in this one spot right by my vantage point. At first, I thought it was hovering over some food source because every time any other fish would come close, it would immediately swim right over to it aggressively, nose first, and shoo it away. It was pretty amusing, because this little guy or girl was relentless. And it was busy. It never got the chance to sit there for more than a few seconds before one or more other fish would swim close to it, and it would immediately shoo them away again. It didn't even make any difference if an approaching fish was bigger or more intimidating; it showed no fear and went right at it. And the other fish got the message and took off right away. I realized that it was probably guarding a nest, because it wasn’t eating. I watched this little fish for quite awhile, admiring its tenacity, and when I left, I couldn’t help but smile to myself.
We large people could learn a great lesson from this little fish. The determination it exuded in the way it protected its nest and future descendants was a fine example of the way we need to protect ourselves against interlopers, people who try to sneak their way into our minds with their nasty comments, negative feedback, and snarky attitudes. We need to regard these people as threats or enemies to our self-esteem, and we need to be as vigilant as that little fish in chasing them away and letting them know that they are not going to steal anything precious to us.
A lot of the time, we’re kept as busy as that little fish, constantly having to stand up for ourselves and fight for our rights … and I know it can be tiring. It is so tempting sometimes to just say to yourself, “You know what? I’m just tired of this. Let them say whatever they want about me, I don’t care. I’ll just keep quiet and pretend to go along with them and then I can have some peace.”
But the fish just keep on coming … it doesn’t matter how quiet and passive you are. Believe me, they don’t care. They just want what they want, and even if you’re nice to them about it and don’t fight them, it won’t change their attitude toward you. So you might as well fight.
Once you get used to it, it really does become second nature … just like that little fish’s natural instinct to protect its young. Protect yourself. Be vigilant. Don’t let even one of those little bastards slip by, because it could very well steal something so dear to you that's impossible to replace.