Tracey Alley on The Scorpion and the Frog
I’m certain that practically everyone has heard the parable of the Scorpion and the Frog so bear with me while I repeat it for the few who don’t know it. “The land is flooding and the only way out is to cross the river. A scorpion says to a frog “take me over the river on your back please” and the frog replies “I can’t. You’re a scorpion and you’ll sting me”. But the scorpion pleads his case by saying “I wouldn’t do that because then we would both drown. Trust me and take me over the river on your back.” The frog can see the logic in the scorpions argument and agrees to take the scorpion across the river on his back.
Half way across the river the scorpion stings the frog and they both start to drown. The frog cries out “Why have you done this? Now we’ll both die?” and the scorpion replied “Sorry, it’s my nature.”
It sounds silly but it really represents a very valuable, important lesson that all of us must learn at some time in our lives. The simple fact is that human beings can pretty much be divided into two groups – scorpions and frogs. Life can be very, very hard for frogs – it’s their nature to be helpful, kind and giving. This means they often get hurt and sometimes, a lot of times, they get hurt very badly simply because there are scorpions amongst us.The scorpion is a ‘what’s in it for me?’ type of person, while the frog is a ‘what can I do for you?’ type of person. Thus you can see how easily a scorpion can take advantage of a frog. They are also, by nature, very credible chameleons who do not show their true colours immediately and can easily pass for a fellow frog – to push that metaphor to the limit 🙂 – thus they can use and abuse other people until finally the real frog realises he’s been stung. And that hurts.
These people will act like your best friend [or lover, room-mate, neighbour etc] and they will, initially, seem incredibly believable. Depending on how good these people are at disguising their true nature they can fool you for a very long time – slowly but surely bleeding you dry emotionally, financially or otherwise. And when you finally feel the sting and realise how you’ve been used the pain and hurt is quite devastating.
We all instinctively want to believe the best in people. If we’re a frog – it’s in our nature. Unfortunately not everyone is worthy of trust or respect or love. By no means is it a bad thing to have a generous and giving nature. To want to help people, to want to have relationships – these are good, wholesome desires. What we do have to learn, eventually, though is to be a little more discerning about other people. I don’t mean we should become cynical – that only means that the scorpions amongst us have won.
Instead just watch people’s behaviour and really listen to what they say. All people, no matter what our nature, ultimately give ourselves away. Our realattitudes, thoughts and desires will be shown in the things we say and the way we behave. Having a little protective shell around your heart will go a long way towards helping you to not only recognize the scorpions but to avoid being hurt by them. And always remember – you can never change another human being, you can only change yourself and the way you choose to respond.
So to all my frog friends out there – be careful who you give your heart to and keep an eye out for scorpions both for yourself and for the other frogs you love 🙂