The Reason Your Feelings are Not the Problem

Do you have a dog or know someone who has one?

Have you noticed that dogs will rummage through the trash and make a mess or bark their heads off sometimes?  Or they will go to the bathroom inside or chew something important to you?

I don’t know about you, but I get really frustrated when my dogs do that stuff.

Most of the time after I calm down, I realize there is a reason why they did it.

Usually it is because they are doing something that is part of their nature.

When I say it is part of their nature, I’m talking about two things:

  1.  It is literally part of the job that is programmed into their breed or canine nature such as to hunt or protect.
  2. They are trying to communicate with you through their behavior because they don’t have words.

My dog peed on the couch the other day because she was protecting her bone and didn’t want to leave it to go outside and go to the bathroom.  There is actually a real threat: her sister is like a hawk and will totally take it if she leaves her bone alone.

In any case, it is part of her programming to protect what is important to her.  I’m not going to train that out of her.  So, if she has a bone, I’m going to greet her in the yard, rather than greeting her while she is on the couch with her bone.  In the same way, it is part of our make up as human beings to experience emotion.

All this to say: you have to realize and understand it is part of your nature to have feelings, rather than trying to override that and expect something different out of yourself or other people (or your dog!).

Every human being is going to get angry.

How they express it is different, but it is going to happen.  Same thing with every other emotion on the spectrum.  If your child is angry and they behave badly, the anger is not the problem.  The behavior when your child is angry is the problem.

If we are punishing ourselves or people in our lives for the feelings they have, we are barking up the wrong tree.

The work is in setting ourselves up for success.

The work is in learning to handle ourselves (or helping children learn to handle themselves) when emotion is coming up to deliver a message, not in trying to stop the emotions.

Learning how to deal with emotions takes work, but it is well worth the effort.

When have you made yourself wrong for having a feeling?

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