Those of you who have read my blog for a while probably remember my little dog Indy.
Here he is seated on his favorite chair, which he's destroyed by digging in the back cushion. It has a slipcover on it and in order to dig he had to rip, and what a good job he's made of it! Fortunately, the cover was a little oversized to begin with so we can tuck the damage out of sight. I suppose we should count ourselves lucky that this is the only thing, (besides some stray socks and a few of my son's toys), that he's destroyed.
The amazing thing is that if my son had done the same amount of damage he would have been in big trouble, but since it was Indy, well, we kind of let it go with a big "Bad Dog". Of course, if it had been a new leather sofa I might have thought differently, (and Indy might be cooling his heels in an outside dog house)!
The reason I bring this up is that I've realized something about the pets I've had in my life, I've rarely ever gotten really angry at them. They've done some annoying things, (including Indy deciding that the bed in the guest room was a toilet...fortunately, there was an old blanket folded on top so the mattress wasn't destroyed), but even if I get angry I can't stay that way for long. An animal is what they are, and in my experience I've never had one do something on purpose to upset me.
It's the same way I felt about my son when he was very little. He didn't know what he was doing was wrong until I told him, so how could I get angry at him? It wasn't like he understood that throwing the phone and the TV remote into a sink full of dishes was not a good idea. He probably just liked the sound they made as they hit the water, or maybe he thought he was helping me when he saw me put other things in the dishwater. Who knows? The one thing I do know for sure is that he didn't know he was doing anything wrong.
Now I have a new problem, my 12 year old coming home from school with new words. They aren't all nasty words but some of them he's using inappropriately, and others are just not the way we want him to talk. So, as mothers do with 12 year olds, when he whips one of those words out in conversation I have a tendency to jump all over him. He looks shocked, because he had no idea that that particular word, (which seemed harmless to him), would set me off. So, now I try to be calmer about it and ask him where he heard it and what he thinks it means, before I explain to him what it really means and that I'd better not hear it again coming from his lips.
What I'm getting at is that sometimes we need to give other people a pass with things that they say and do. I suspect that 80% of the time when someone does or says something that upsets us it was probably not their intention to do so. I know I've innocently hurt people's feelings when I hadn't intended to. Unless I know for sure that someone is out to get me I try not to take things personally. I don't always succeed but more times than not something comes out about what happened to make it clear that the slight wasn't intentional, and wouldn't I have felt foolish if I'd made a big deal out of it?
The fact is that if we showed the same amount of patience towards the people in our lives as we do towards our pets, we'd be a lot happier and a lot less stressed out. That doesn't mean that we have to take abuse, it just means that it's to our benefit to give people the benefit of a doubt until it's proven otherwise.
Of course, we all know people who are just downright mean and when they say a mean thing they mean it. If it's at all possible we should cut those people out of our lives. Who needs to expose themselves to that kind of vicious nonsense? I know I don't. When I encounter a meanie I run like the wind. I don't need that kind of negativity in my life, I produce enough of my own!
What inspired this post is Indy, who is sitting next to me while I'm typing. I put his little bed there, thinking he'd tuck into it. However, he's half out of the bed with his head under the laptop desk and his body under my arm, (so I have to type with my hand up...it's going to be so sore later!). I keep moving him over and he keeps insinuating himself back into his spot, which is as close as he can get to me. I was getting a little irritated at him but when I moved him he looked up at me with those big brown eyes....so, he's back right next to me again. I just can't win, those eyes are so cute, and when he looks sad he looks like he did in his animal shelter photo and then I start thinking about him being in that place and......well, what can I say, I'm a soft touch!
Now I just need to work on applying my "pet patience" to the rest of the people in my life, including myself!