Things a Jackal and a Giraffe Would Say

Jackal and Giraffe are symbols of two mindsets with which we navigate the world. The key differences between the two are:

Jackal is quick to make assumptions. Giraffe understands that most of misunderstandings and miscommunication comes down to assumptions we make and therefore asks: खासमा के भएको हो? (what really happened?).

Jackal takes things personally and therefore, is quick to either blame or self-blame. Giraffe understands that underneath judgments we have about ourselves, about others or judgments others have about us, are difficult feelings and unmet needs. Identifying, labeling and understanding these feelings and needs is the key to solving problems.

Jackal is reluctant to communicate what’s truly important. It has a deep fear about the judgments others will have if it communicates what it is needing. It also has a deep fear of rejection and therefore feels safer to not communicate rather than risking asking for something and not getting it. Giraffe understands that anything we say/do comes down to needs that are important to us in that moment (and this can't be automatically understood by others). Therefore it makes the effort to transform vague expectations like ‘I wish they supported me’ to a specific request that would meet the need like ‘Can you write this section of this report for me by Sunday?’ to forming a clear agreement ‘Okay, so we have agreed that you’ll write half of the section by Tuesday’.

A few examples of these principles played out in everyday interactions:
Jackal: My teammates are so irritating! (notice the lack of accountability for its feelings)
Giraffe: When the meeting starts 10 minutes than scheduled and that too without prior agenda being communicated, I feel irritated because I would have liked: a) to make the best use of my time b) focus on the other project where my inputs have a direct impact on the outcome. I’d like to request my manager if we can start communicating agendas prior to the meeting (notice how it takes full accountability for its feelings and needs and looks for an action that would help).

Jackal: I had to come to this party because of them! (notice the lack of accountability for its choice)
Giraffe: Although initially I was reluctant to come to the party because I was wanting time to myself, I still chose to come because coming here would be a way for me to show my support to the newly wed. I’d like to leave earlier than my friends because I still want some time to myself after this (notice how it takes accountability for its choice).

Listening with Jackal and Giraffe Ears

When the other person says: “You’ve changed so much! You don’t like hanging out with us these days!”
Jackal: This person is insulting me in front of everyone! Of course I wouldn’t hang out with such insensitive people. No wonder I’ve outgrown them!
Giraffe: I’m upset that this person would question my intention. I’d appreciate if he was curious about me first. But it also seems like he’s wanting to connect and socialize with me but since I haven’t hung out with this group for over six months, he seems annoyed at my lack of participation.

When the other person says: “You’re an amazing team player!”
Jackal: I’m not good at accepting compliments. I’ll just laugh it off by saying it is not a big deal.
Giraffe: I feel so joyful to know that I’ve been able to contribute as a team member. Can you tell me what exactly I said/did that helped you? Knowing this would help me better understand what is it that I could continue doing.

To catch yourself operating like a Jackal, use the following lens:
Jackals are quick to diagnose (blame, judge, criticize).
Jackals deny responsibility for their choice (I had to do it).
Jackals speak in terms of who deserves what rather than trying to truly connect with others (they will know how I felt when they go through something similar!)
Jackals make constant demands of others ( by inducing fear, shame or guilt).


Sagar Satyal

Sagar Satyal is co-founder at My Emotions Matter and can be reached at [email protected].