When is it a good time to reflect on things? Your past decisions, your current job, the life you have made with your kids and spouse, down to the history you and your dog have together. I don’t reflect a lot. I find that my friends and family do enough of that for me and honestly I’m too busy. For me reflection happens in two ways…an unhealthy way and a healthy way.
I try to reflect occasionally. I need quiet, and I need it to have been quiet for a while with nothing on my plate I have to do that day. This is almost never, which is why I don't get to it often enough. However I was recently in the mountains. My husband kept doing the girl thing of ‘what are you thinking’ because he said I was unusually quiet for the trip. This was hilarious to me and he was right. I told him I was turning into an adult and needed quiet, LOL, but the truth is I was doing a lot of reflecting. I tend to have the mindset of wanting to do a lot of things, big things, and because of that a lot of little things don’t always get done. I’m not the best house keeper and I’m not always the best person to have an easy chat with because I’d rather speak about something truly meaningful to me. Already sounds annoying, doesn’t it. Well, it’s exhausting too for me and those around me I imagine. I’m starting to realize how important it is to take more ‘time’ to reflect because I have learned a lot, cleared my mind, and have the same goals, but a clearer path to get there right now. BUT, if I wait 8-10 months of 12 hour days before I take another few days to reflect and relax, those paths will become muddy again.
Some people can run on empty for quite some time, can even be fueled by it, and though I admire that I don’t think that is most of us. I’m learning that when I do drag myself kicking and screaming into some quiet, I work much better and have a clearer head after. Being able to take enough time to not only reflect, but LEARN from it is incredibly valuable. It also seems to be an integral part of bettering yourself in life. The more you better yourself, the better your family and/or business will be and the more successful you will be (whatever success means to you). Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for loving yourself and learning who you are…but what if who you are sucks! LOL But no, really, there are parts of ourselves we SHOULD work on. Could be temper, procrastination, laziness, perfectionists, bad communicator, the flaws are endless! There is nothing wrong with flaws that we all have, but lets get real. If we don’t reflect and work on those flaws, we are limited in life and love.
The other is the unhealthy way. It usually happens through stress of some sort. Could be a build up of several fast paced weeks and then a bad day. It could just be a phone call with someone or a reminder of something that is upsetting. This starts as reflection briefly and ends up quickly turning to regret. I’ll admit, in my early to mid 20’s I let this get to me a lot. Everything seemed out of reach therefor sometimes why try. That turns into a big pity party which doesn’t help anyone. Kids, spouses and dogs feel it in the home. The more stress there is the more problems there are with everyone. Stress is only useful if dealt with and worked out, but I have found that most of us bottle it, store it, and it comes out in waves with no resolve. The amount of pressure this puts on families that I have worked with is tremendous. That is why even a badly behaved dog can be ripping families apart. Now some of you may laugh at that, but I’ve seen it. It comes from an unwillingness to accept certain things and call them out and work on them in order to move on. That is such a difficult thing to do sometimes, but that is the difference between happiness through reflection and regret through reflection. It’s the MESSY middle. We have that in dog training too. Sometimes it’s not pretty. You force a dog to deal with emotions they have been bottling up or exploding over for years. That’s not something that just goes away. It takes daily habits and change to make a lasting difference to create more freedom from stress.
I have been very fortunate in the last decade to REALLY work on this about myself and I rarely fall into that trap of regret. If I do I tend to move past it quickly without it affecting my work. We are all human of course and deal with it in different ways…but there is nothing wrong in looking at yourself and saying that the way you are 'dealing' with regret or reflection is toxic to you and those around you. My answers came in the same way I became the dog trainer I am today…through tons of regular research, putting myself out there, watching and reading tons of information and then putting myself into it. Getting to know people also trying to do the same thing and succeeding most of the time because of there dedication to not only making a lasting change in character, but making that effort daily. Making it a choice to be HAPPY is no joke and is a daily effort for many…are you putting in the effort? Like a healthy eating regiment and workout schedule are you putting in the daily time it takes, making the HARD choices to get what you deserve?
Not trying to ruffle any feathers…just asking ;-)