Who do I want to be today?
Most of us are not even aware we have a choice in this matter; we see life as something that happens to us rather than as a result of us.
Everyone is of course entitled to their own view of how this happens, but isn't it so much more empowering to know that you have control over who you want to be, how you want to feel, and what kind of person you are?
I'm not gonna lie, it's also a bit terrifying!
To know that you are responsible for the emotions you have, and the way that you react to situations around you, puts all of the responsibility on you. You can no longer be a passenger in life. You understand that you are the ultimate driver and things go a certain way because you asked them to, or allowed them to.
Maybe you have heard of this sort of thing and maybe you haven't. For those who haven't- I have been there completely and still find myself occasionally slipping back into a more victim state mentality-
that state of mind where we say "can you believe that just happened to me?!" We become angry and reflexive. We blame the world and forget to look at what happened before that occurrence and ask ourselves why a situation arose. Or maybe how we brought that situation to us. Or maybe it's a total random occurrence, but we still get to choose how we react, and this reaction can change the way our future goes.
This is where animals come in. The mirrors of our souls. They will honestly and without judgement tell you who you are being at any given moment. Are you being reactionary or pro-active? Are you being compassionate with yourself for making a mistake? Or are you sabotaging, judging, or beating yourself up about it?
We are often our own worst critics!
But how do we get out of this cycle of victim-hood and take our power back? Take control and responsibility for our life- that is so very personal, close and known to us.
For me ( maybe not surprisingly) my dog was the best way to gain
insight into this very question.
How did I react to him when he barked uncontrollably over what appeared to be nothing? What did I do before that situation that encouraged him to behave this way? Why was he barking over nothing?
As I started taking responsibility for his behavior I realized my behavior and part in all of it. Mainly that I was not taking a part-
I just went through life and never paid my thoughts, or emotions any mind (pun intended!)- they just happened as they happened. I never realized I could change these patterns of thinking and therefore the way I felt. I didn't even know how I felt! I was so disconnected that I had no base level of normalcy. My internal barometer for balance and imbalance was buried so far below, that my state of imbalance became normal for me. Which brought more imbalance. Which was reflected in my pup's behavior who was acting out in response to my anxiety.
I didn't know I had anxiety, I just was as I was, excitable. I didn't know my dog had anxiety I just thought he was high energy and excitable to!
I can't say it felt all that great to feel responsible for everything.
Yet, it it did make me feel like I could do something about it!
This gave me power over something I thought I couldn't control, and it helped me see to the root of his behavior. The root of my behavior.
He gave me the ultimate prize- inner peace.
When you can finally see how you are responsible for you, and your life, you can start to see what pieces fit, and what pieces you need to let go of.
You get to decide what you hold onto that helps you, and what emotions and behaviors you need to let go of. Maybe they do not serve you, or maybe they even hurt you.
You also get to decide how critical of yourself you want to be. You can decide when you take responsibility for yourself if you are going to beat yourself up about it, or love yourself for who you are, accept who you were, let it go, and move on. Sometimes our own inner critic can be the harshest judge when we are trying to transform ourselves.
Just remember that there are no failures in life, only opportunities of growth. So be easy on yourself. There is always another moment for you to shine.
Would your dog judge themselves for barking? No- they just are who they are, they accept it and move on. Not only do they not judge themselves for their behavior, but they do not label themselves.Your "bad" dog doesn't think of himself as bad. He's just himself! Barking uncontrollably isn't "bad" until we label it as bad.
That's the human in us. We label, judge, categorize, analyze and assume. All of that is ok in certain situations, but remember you have control over when it is necessary and when it is not. Also remember that your dog doesn't know what you want unless you tell them! We are constantly shaping our dog's ideas to be our ideas so that they can get along with us in our human worlds.
So in the words of your dog- don't judge so much, don't label so much, and accept who you are and keep going. Focus on what you want and it will be yours.
Please share any "mirroring" experiences you have had with the animals in your life!
Peace, love, and animals!