Take dogs, for example. Yesterday, while my dog was sleeping next to me, I prodded her nose gently, I guess just to be playful. She didn't like it and pulled her face away slightly. I did it again, and she pulled away slightly again. After a few minutes of the same game (one she wasn't enjoying), she eventually got up and moved away. She didnt' growl or bite or bark, she just moved away. We could learn something from that.
Animals preserve their energy. They attack when they need to attack. The average human, however, is more like the abused animal, which attacks much more frequently. Abused animals are still acting on their perception of the need to attack, but more often than not the perception is not a true reflection of reality in that moment.
Is your instinctive reaction to growl? Most people don't realize when they're growling. Growling usually comes in the form of little comments that bite just gently enough that you can get away with it but firmly enough to hurt, and the message to others is loud and clear: Back off.
How often do you "attack" when the situation doesn't really warrant it? How much energy do you waste with big reactions when walking away would suffice? How much energy do you lose "protecting" yourself when you could just turn your head? How often do your hurt others with your growling without even realizing you're doing it?
Growling, barking, attacking - they're all ways to alienate yourself not just from what's around you but from your own inner wisdom as well: We make so much noise that we can't hear our own voice. Today, I'm going to settle in to being a bit more quiet, a bit less growly. I invite you to join me.