While most of our dogs are happily living the good life, that doesn’t mean that they don’t face challenges or feel negative emotions. We all know that our dogs our sensitive creatures and yet, when confronted with a problem or difficult situation, they do their best to be strong, acting courageously and gracefully in order to get to the other side. They persevere.
As one of our best teachers, dogs give us hints at how to live better every moment that they’re with us.
Ever Have One of “Those” Days?
Even on our best days, challenges arise, opportunities for us to choose how we can and should react. And, on our worst days, the number or weight of challenges can make it feel tough to control how we’re feeling. And how we treat others.
But, remember, while you can’t control what happens to you, you always have a choice about what you can DO about it.
From traffic jams to disgruntled coworkers, to major life changes and broken hearts, we’ve been conditioned to react negatively to each of these challenges. And, when we do, we quickly get sent into a downward spiral, feeling worse and worse as the day and weeks go on.
Put Up or Shut Up!
It’s natural to want to protect yourself when you find yourself up against a challenge. And we all have different ways of doing this. For some of us, we put up walls and withdraw, not wanting to others know how we’re feeling or what we’re going through. We shut down. For others, we react quickly, getting angry and upset, lashing out against the people and the things we love most in order to justify our challenges or, at the very least, find an outlet for our emotions.
What if there was another way to handle challenges? And, what if our dogs were showing us how all along?
Finding your Hachi Way
When our pups face a challenge, they look for help and comfort – whether in the form of their owner or their pack. They are instinctual animals and don’t hesitate to let us know what they want or need. Only when they have been abused, and let down time and time again, do they become vicious or withdrawn. And, even then, all of that changes when someone reaches out and offers a dose of kindness.
The key to overcoming challenges is community, finding ways to engage with supportive others in order to generate needed energy and strength. Seeking out the company of upbeat and encouraging friends does wonders. The energy of people spreads through space. Ever notice how certain friends seem to make you feel worse? There’s a heaviness when you’re near them. And the weight seems to persist long after they’re gone.
On the other hand, when you gravitate towards those whose energy radiates with comfort and joy, you’ll soon find you’re feeling better too. Besides, you can pick up better advice from those who know just how to be happy.
Embrace the Spirit of Hachi!
First and foremost, ground yourself by getting in the present. Take deep breaths and remember that the emotions you’re feeling about a specific challenge will ebb and flow. YOU are not your emotions, no matter how strong they might be. You assign meaning to an event or situation.
Next, remember WHO you are by thinking about how your dog sees you. Your dog is loyal and loving to you for a reason.
BE that person that your dog knows you are and live up to your full potential.
Another thing dogs are great at is seeing the best in others – and that’s important when you are facing challenges. You may not know what’s in another person’s life. They may be dealing with heavy challenges themselves. I remember one saleswoman was very dismissive, almost rude. It was so out-of-place, that I asked her what had happened that day. She looked at me in surprise, then revealed that her mother had just received a terrible health diagnosis. Be kind. The other person may just have a bigger issue.
Rather than seeing someone else as the enemy, take a moment to envision yourself in the other’s place. EVERYONE has inner strengths that deserve appreciation. The saleswoman is on her feet all day cheerfully serving customers that may be rude. The polite valet attendant has two full-time jobs back-to-back to support his family. I discovered this myself recently. I asked how he was. We certainly can use compassion even when we demonstrate our worst moments.
Once you’ve done these things, you’re ready to step out into the world and find the help you need to face your challenges. And it doesn’t have to be a huge action. Sometimes just doing a good deed for someone else is all you need to reframe the current challenge you are facing. Studies show that the best way to feel better about oneself is by helping others. A win-win for all.
We need to bring dignity back into our lives. Start by respecting yourself through honoring your higher self. No matter your past.
What if there was another way to handle challenges? And, what if our dogs were showing us how all along? When faced with challenges, Hachi took action, never losing sight of his goodness and the goodness in the world. He kept his faith.
Bring the Hachi spirit into your world! Touch lives. Make change. Create a ripple in the world around you.
Start living the Hachi Life today! Get your free 6-part eCourse “Be Hachi. Be Happy.” Life Lessons with Vicki & Hachi.