Embracing My Inner Dog
Being A Perfectionist
My Dad was a perfectionist, and a worrier, which probably stood him in great stead as he was in the military for 40 years. I’ve always wondered who in the family I take after the most and when my Dad passed away, I began to realise where I get so many of my characteristics from.
His love of precision, straight lines, architecture, photography, music, order in everything, symmetry, neatness (a place for everything and everything in its place) and gadgets, all these things I learned from my Dad.
My step-mum gave me a book that she had bought for my Dad. The book is called “The Wabi-Sabi House“, its about the Japanese art form of seeing the beauty in imperfection. I started reading it when I was first very unwell with ME/CFS. I began to realise that my perfectionism and internal critic, were, more than likely, a major factor in me having this condition and they were going to be the hardest thing to ‘recover’ from.
Finding My Inner Dog
So, what does this have to do with dogs? I hear you ask.
Well, since we have had Barney, it is slowly dawning on me that life is too short to be perfect and, in fact, life isn’t perfect and neither are we.
Dogs aren’t perfect, dogs don’t appear to have an internal critic either, dogs live in the here and now. They don’t worry whether they are good enough for their owners. They just don’t worry. They are happy if you feed and exercise them, and they are with you and loved.
So I’m learning, from Barney, to go with the flow, trying to get everything so perfect uses up so much energy both physically and mentally, which I just don’t have. Now, I join Barney when he sleeps on the sofa and rest with him, the dishes can wait. Muddy paw prints, wet leaves in the hallway, dog hairs on the sofa, will all reappear just as quickly as you wipe them off. Slowly, I’m realising that being perfect is not helping me get better, but learning new ways doesn’t happen overnight and that taking small steps is the way forward.
With Barney I’m beginning to enjoy life again, to find fun and laughter in the small things and to worry less, he accepts me just as I am, his love is unconditional, he is always happy to see me. He loves me and all my imperfectness.
We spend a lot of time teaching our dogs new tricks, when really, there this so much we can learn from them.
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