How dull would life be without dogs? I can’t imagine a world without dogs, and I’m sure you can’t either! Our dogs are more than just pets. They are our friends, our family, and our brilliant partners.
Even without words, it can often seem like our dogs understand us better than most people. They’re with us for life’s ups and downs, always ready to lend a helping paw and provide support when we need it most.
When faced with difficult times, it can be hard to pull ourselves back. Sometimes, it can feel like we’re drowning in hard times. Thankfully, there are things we can do to get through the hard days and emerge out on the other side, ready to live our best life with our dogs.
So, here’s how you can get through difficult times and how your dog helps you every step of the way, even though you might not realize it.
Dogs illuminate the path forward
Some days are harder than others. Unfortunately, life isn’t always bright and sunny and filled with positivity. Some days are dark, and we can feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. No matter how enlightened we are, it’s easy to succumb to the hard days and stay in the dark for longer than we’d like.
But I want to try and enlighten your thinking around hard days. Yes, they are hard, and sometimes there’s not much you can do about that. But what I find myself thinking about, especially on my hard days, is how our dogs can show us the path forward.
Whenever I face a difficult time in my life, my dogs are always there for me. They ignite the path forward. It’s almost like they illuminate the way for me, showing me how to break free from the darkness and step into an enlightened place where my dog and I can get back to being brilliant partners.
I hope you understand what I mean by this, and if not, you will! Dogs have hard days, too, but unlike us, they don’t loop thoughts in their heads over and over again. They can snap out of it and get back to enjoying life. In many ways, they are our teachers because they show us how to let go of stress, pain, suffering, and frustration and enjoy the little things.
Here are some ways that will help you get through the hard days:
Take baby steps
When standing at the bottom of a mountain and looking towards the top, the journey can seem almost impossible. But, if you take it one step at a time and celebrate the small wins along the way, you’ll find that the journey becomes much more manageable.
We often get stuck in our thoughts, and we let those thoughts continue on a loop. By celebrating small wins in our lives and with our dogs, we can learn to appreciate and enjoy life in the present moment.
Whenever we train our dogs, we take it slow. We don’t expect them to get it right on their first attempt. Instead, we reward them for getting it almost right, and we’re proud of how far they’ve come. Yet, we don’t apply the same rules to ourselves.
Recognizing and celebrating small wins as brilliant partners with our dogs is important. The real power of living a partnership lifestyle with our dogs lies in baby steps. No matter how small it may be, celebrating each step will help you and your dog continue on the path forward to be brilliant partners.
Being able to focus forward is so helpful when you’re stuck in a rut. Imagine that you have an inner lighthouse and the light always points forward. It doesn’t shine on the past or on the hard times. Instead, the light guides you out of the darkness towards better and happier times with your dog.
All you have to do is follow that light and let it guide you towards your vision. Your vision is the life you want to live with your dog, and the road might seem rough from where you stand right now, but you can see it clearly, and you know you’ll reach your destination.
Maybe your vision is to walk your dog on a nature trail, and they aren’t pulling you towards other dogs. Your vision can be filled with things you want to do, something you want to have, and how you want to be. Maybe you want to have more confidence to attend social events with your dog. Or, perhaps you want to be a loving leader for your dog. Whatever your vision is, focus on it.
Breathing and taking time to breathe slowly and deeply is so helpful during hard times. It helps you to gather your thoughts and think clearly. Breathing also allows you to get back to your vision and core values.
When you’re having a bad day and negative thoughts start looping, breathing can help you readjust and re-focus on your vision before your emotions affect your actions and everything snowballs in the opposite direction.
When you notice that your thoughts are consuming you, breathing helps to calm things down. It also helps to think about what you don’t want. You probably don’t want to feel stressed, overwhelmed, or angry at your dog. So, think about the opposite of those things and channel your thoughts and emotions towards your ultimate vision.
Think about who you want to be today. This moment is the only moment you have to create tomorrow. By living in the moment and not letting thoughts drag you down, you will be free to enjoy your life with your dog.
Love your dog and yourself
I always remind the Brilliant Partners Academy members to feel gratitude and love for themselves and their dogs. Now, I’m saying the same thing to you. Reminding yourself that you love your dog no matter what, and no matter how hard the day has been, helps put everything in focus.
Your dog loves you, and they show it every chance they get. They don’t hold grudges for things you did yesterday. They forgive and forget, and most importantly, they continue to love.
Of course, some days are just plain hard, and it’s okay to have a meltdown and process what happened. Let those emotions flow out, and don’t hold onto them forever. Permit yourself to feel sad when you’re sad and mad when you’re mad. But, don’t let those negative emotions consume you and your life with your dog.
Always seek support when you need it. Your dog is always there for you, whether you need someone to talk to who won’t judge, or you need a hug and a good cuddle. Dogs are incredible beings, and you shouldn’t forget that they’re your friend and want to help you, even if that means convincing you to play with a drool-covered tennis ball.
When seeking support from other people, try to choose someone who isn’t going to join you in your misery. That’s the last thing you need. Find someone who you can trust and who will help lift you up, not bring you down.
Your dog shows you the path forward every day. You just need to be willing to see it.
Click here to watch a trailer of the episode:
If you are looking for support from other dog moms, please consider joining the Brilliant Partners Academy. You’ll learn how to create a partnership lifestyle for you and your dog. You can request an invitation to join us in the Brilliant Partners Academy when the doors open for the next enrolment!
You can listen to everything I talked about in this blog post over on my podcast – Enlightened By Dogs. It’s episode 129, which you can listen to here.