Will and kindness work hand in hand to help you give your pets the best life possible
You might be wondering what Will and kindness have to do with you and your pets, or how this can help you give your pets a better life. I often dig into more subtle realms and ideas that nonetheless have a profound impact on your pets, your furkids. And on you as a pet parent. These principles and concepts are deeper, not so obvious, and very, very important.
Will can be defined as ‘to cause something to happen by using the power of your consciousness’, or ‘firm desire and determination’, or ‘the faculty of conscious and deliberate choice of action’. Will is like a muscle – the more you use it in a healthy way, the stronger it becomes. And like exercising muscles, it takes time, consistency, and a degree of ongoing healthy discomfort to get the results that make your life (and your pet’s life) better.
Will needs to be applied intelligently. Many of us humans have been taught how to push ourselves in very unhealthy and harmful ways. A lot of how our society functions is passed on using power and force in ways that are not at all for the greatest good of all. So we can easily learn habits of will that lead to harm for ourselves and others. This is where kindness is paramount. Once we learn to apply, grow, and strengthen our will in a way that is kind to ourselves, to our pets, and to other humans, then we can unlock the true power of a strong will.
One of the best ways to increase your will is to do something that is a) healthy and b) at least somewhat uncomfortable consistently (at least 5 days a week). Exercise, fasting, cold showers, meditation, and a range of other things fit into this way of building your will. Every time you do something that involves healthy discomfort, you both exercise and increase your will.
However, you need to always do this in a way that causes you no harm. Overdoing anything can be counterproductive. The more you do all of the things that are challenging, uncomfortable, or that you don’t like to do – but that is beneficial, the stronger your will becomes, and the more of these things you have the capacity to do. There may be a bit of a lag between actually doing this and gaining the benefits. But they will come within weeks and months.
Pet parents – your furkids need you to show up with more will and kindness than you might realize
There are two ways in which you stepping up to grow your will, and your kindness will benefit your pets. Number one, the more you do this, the healthier and happier you’re going to become – and this has a profoundly beautiful flow-on effect for your pets. You’ll be more present, more aware, and better able to connect deeply and beautifully with your pets.
Secondly, you’ll be able to give your pets what they need, and not fold when they put pressure on you to give them things that they want that might be bad for them – too much food, too much ball play, no healthy boundaries, no training, etc. Pets are very good at being more determined than their humans and manipulating you into giving them what they want.
So as your will grows and gets stronger, you become a better pet parent – and you’ll be able to say no to your dog, your cat, your furkids easily and kindly as required to make sure that they stay lean, healthy, vital, and happy for a long life. If your pet needs a diet, it’ll simply happen, no matter how much they carry on like a pork chop or give you sad puppy dog eyes. If your pet needs clear boundaries around undesirable behaviour, you’ll do what’s needed to get them to understand what they can and can’t do.
Will and kindness. These principles when consistently applied in your life, hold the potential to transform everything for you and your pets, in the most lovely way. The first step, by the way, is to decide to do this. The next step is to follow through and do it. And the final, ongoing steps are to keep on doing it all, no matter how you feel!