I expect our 8 month old puppy to act like a human.
I expect he knows better than to have accidents on the floor, walk on tables and take food from others.
That’s fair, right?
Every time I hear his little feet walking from a distance I think to myself “great, I wonder what he’s gotten into now…”
It makes sense to me to treat him like a human.
He does, after all, know how to wave his paw over the sensor to get our garbage can to open, he prefers people food, he sleeps in our bed, snores loudly all through the night, pulls all his toys out of his basket and leaves them everywhere, the list goes on.
I have a Manual for him.
A booklet in my mind that says exactly how he should behave- rules he needs to follow, manners he needs to have and use, and a long list of the things I don’t want him to do.
No, he hasn’t seen the manual.
But I hold on to it tight and and feel I have the right to be upset when he’s not following my rules.
Did I mention he’s 8 months?
Did I mention he’s a puppy?
Not a human?
Also, he can’t read (even if I were to print the manual out for him).
Yet I treat him like he’s a human, like he can read, like he should know his manners.
Seems unfair, doesn’t it?
For both of us.
Every day I choose to bring myself pain and not fully love our puppy for the wild soul that he is.
I’m stuck in a negative Model with a thought about a dog that ultimately creates a negative result over and over again.
And pain, anger, frustration, overwhelm.
So many of us do this to ourselves.
Do you have a partner, friend, family member, or co-worker that you have a Manual for in your mind?
Do you get upset when that person (or animal) doesn’t show up how you wish/expect they would?
Are you causing yourself pain on a regular basis by trying to change someone, so you can feel better?
I never told you about all of the joy our puppy brings us.
He’s my son’s best friend.
He’s my daughter’s comfort friend for her anxiety which went from 10/10 in intensity to a 2/10 since we got him.
He’s the first animal our other son has ever warmed up to.
He has so many wrinkles on his face, it makes it impossible to be mad at him- well, almost.
He is hilarious, sassy, snuggly, and did I mention the wrinkles?
Most times it feels almost impossible to bring up the good things about the person we have a manual for.
We’re so focused on what they don’t do, or how they’re great at upsetting you.
What if I told you that they were the perfect version of themselves?
What if I told you that there’s nothing that needs to change about them?
What if I told you that it is easier to put your manual away, than it is to try and change someone?
We don’t get to change people.
We get to love people for who they are.
We get to learn a life lesson- everyone is different and that’s what makes our world amazing.
If everyone was the same, the value would be gone.
I challenge you the next time you’re thinking of that someone (or something) that you wish would behave differently, ask yourself what their positives are?
Ask yourself if there’s a way to not choose pain?
Ask yourself if you could put your manual away?
Relief is on the other side.
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