Here’s an important lesson! Patience and flexibility are two of the most important gifts you can give your pets (and yourself, and your family!)
It took me a long time to learn this one. And that caused me and my beloved (poets and people) no end of troubles along the way! I invite you to learn from my mistakes. It’ll make a beautiful difference for your pets (and for you). Patience and flexibility help you help your pets in so many ways. I’ll explore how in-depth as we move through this blog article together. It’s simple and practical, but sometimes not so easy, at least at first.
Before we talk about the how, I want to dig into the meaning of these concepts. Definitions help us understand, and help us shape our thinking and feeling in relation to what we are discussing.
Patience: The ability to wait for a long time without losing focus or becoming restless. The ability to endure healthy discomfort as is needed. And the deeper meaning: Quiet or calmness in waiting for something to happen.
So you can see that patience means that you can stay connected with yourself while things are not happening in the way that you think they should. With your pets, this might look like allowing them the time they need to learn how to behave in certain ways- good recall, impulse control, things like this. It’s even more important with puppies and kittens, because they are easily distractible. I also see it as staying calm when your pets do something undesirable, like chewing up your best shoes. It’s the opposite of reactivity and anger.
Flexibility: Willingness to change or compromise. And the deeper meaning: That may be bent, pliant, flexible, yielding.
The more you can yield, change, grow, compromise, and bend (in a healthy way that does not compromise your integrity, of course), the happier your life will be, and the happier your pets will be. If you are rigid, you’ll put pressure on your pets that you may not even be aware of, and this can be a real problem for them- leading to stress and anxiety.
For me, patience and flexibility go hand in hand. If I need to change, adapt, and yield to my pets in a healthy way for both of us, I have to be willing to allow it to take as much time as is needed. And then I need to be willing to keep trying different ways, different things, until I find what it is that works best for us all as a family.
How to put patience and flexibility into practice
A good thing to start thinking about is when and how often you say ‘no’ to your pets (or to your kids, or to your partner, or to yourself). Is it necessary? Or are you being rigid and controlling, which is the opposite of patience and flexibility? What might happen if you stop with all necessary ‘no’ to your pets? How might they feel?
I think one of the more important things you can do to help yourself grow into a greater capacity and expression of patience and flexibility for yourself is to be aware of how you are feeling. Bringing attention into your body is the best way I’ve found to do this. And then I notice but don’t act or react to what I’m feeling. I am patient with it, I let it be.
I practice flexibility by trying new things, and by always wondering if there is a better way that I can communicate and interact with my pets. What if I gave them more freedom? How can I be kinder, and yet still have strong and healthy boundaries, and show up as a stronger and stronger benevolent leader for my pets? Thinking about these kinds of things creates more possibilities, and exploring those possibilities increases flexibility.
In time, you’ll give everything more time, which helps everyone be more relaxed and happy. And you’ll test and try more options when it comes to everything you do for and with your pets, which will improve their life out of sight. What I’m talking about is more abstract, but the benefits of increased patience and flexibility are very real for your pets, for you, and for all who you are connected with. So go on, have some fun, play with it!
If you’d like to read more blog articles like this, you can click through to our #1 + #2 + #3 + #4 + #5 + #6 + #7 + #8 + #9 + #10 + #11 + #12 editions of How To Help Your Pets with Dr. Ed, The Healing Vet
If you want an online or in-person consultation with me, go to www.thehealingvet.com and book a free discovery call with me!
Pic of our wet storm-splashed pussy cat!