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How do you Spot a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing?

How do you Spot a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing?

How do you spot a Wolf in Sheeps clothing?

We have all heard the saying “beware of the wolf in sheep's clothing” but where did that saying come from and what does it mean?

Where did it come from?

I don’t know exactly where it came from as there are quite a few places around the world who have communicated this advice over the centuries in one form or another.  

The multicultural, religious & global documentation of this advice indicates that this has been a long-standing problem that is linked directly to human nature.

What does it mean?

The first fable I could find is a story, told by the 12th century Greek rhetorician Nikephoros Basilakis, of a wolf who disguises itself as a sheep to gain the trust of a shepherd so that he could eat his sheep.  

When adapting the concept of a wolf in sheeps clothing to real life, this could refer to a person who is insincerely nice to you, changes their nature and adapts to your life just so they can take something from you or take advantage of you.

Other variation of this saying have been documented as follows:

“Beware of hypocritical evil-doers” - 12th century Greek rhetorician Nikephoros Basilakis.

“People should be judged not by their outward demeanor but by their works, for many in sheep’s clothing do the work of wolves.”  15th Century Italian professor Laurentius Abstemius.

An anonymous poem documented in the Greek Anthology reads “not by my own will but the shepherd’s folly.  The beast reared by me will make me his prey. For gratitude cannot change nature.”

So why is this so? Why do humans want to take advantage of another?  I suspect the answers to this question are varied but fundamentally come back to basic human nature and the inbuilt desire of the majority to have positive connections with other humans therefore opening us up to the vulnerability of being taken advantage of.

We want to be loved, we want friends and we want to feel a part of something, over time trust is developed with individuals who connect with you, it is nice when you find genuine people like this but not so nice when that same trust and vulnerability is used in an attempt to slaughter you, figuratively speaking.  

How do we avoid wolves in sheep's clothing? I don’t know the answer unfortunately, do you? Sometimes you can pick a wolf a mile away, sometimes they work in packs, sometimes they creep up on you and you don’t see them until they are going for your jugular.  

The very nature of a wolf is evasive and sly which makes them harder to detect but still they are not completely undetectable.  How do you spot a wolf in sheeps clothing?

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