Welcome friends to Consider Yourself Hugged episode 25! Today’s Hug: When small failures elicit gargantuan emotions. (Click here to listen)
I’m Dr. Tami West, here every week to bring you tips on living a life that brings you mental and emotional wellbeing.
(Transcript, so forgive weird grammar!)
My 17 m.o. golden retriever Charlie took his therapy dog evaluation this past Saturday. Since you’ve probably already read the title of this episode, you already know the result. And, as always (although I don’t think I’ve said it before) me psychotherapy es su psychotherapy (apologies to my Spanish-speaking friends for trying a variation on the me casa thing 😅)
You may not know the history of Charlie so let me start with that. (Click here to follow him on Instagram) I brought him into my world on April 29, 2018 after we moved back to TN from CA, and he has brought so much love & joy into my world and into my family & friends’ worlds.
Even before I got him, I wanted him to be a therapy dog because of my mom. When she was living I would bring Roxie my Shih Tzu to visit and she and everyone there would want to hug on her. If you know Roxie, she’s not that kind of dog. She’s always been a little grumpy 😄 So, Charlie would be that dog for them!
Our journey began the day he came to me. Training started immediately. I worked with him every day. I hired a trainer, Kelsie Drake (Contact her here if you’re local.) He stayed with her a few days here and there when I was traveling and he did a 2 week bootcamp with her. She taught him SO much.
I had to take it from there. I had trained him every single day for one year when, in April of this year, we had a setback: he seemed to have food allergies and I had to put him on a strict food trial – no treats unless it was his dry food. He’s never been super food driven, but NO treats?! He doesn’t really care about his food as a treat and often spits it out. So I continued to train some, but our visits to stores, nursing homes, Lowes, etc became fewer.
He is SUCH a wonderful dog. He sits, stays, comes, does this thing called feet where he’ll put his feet onto your chair for you to pet him. He loves. He cuddles. He hugs. He really is the BEST dog! (I should say here for those of you who knew Lily or have heard me talk about her, she was my golden from 1999 – 2012 and she was the best dog too!! (Here's a link to the PowerPoint about her.)
Today we’re still struggling with the food thing.
I decided to go ahead and register for the test because it was at a location 10 minutes from my house and that only happens a few times a year. Honestly, I didn’t think he would pass. I’m not being negative, but He still gets way excited when he sees other dogs, and that’s part of the test. He’s still a little wiggly and excitable.
So I said to myself (and out loud to others) before the test
It doesn’t matter one way or the other I said.
He probably won’t pass, but it’s only $20 I said.
If he doesn’t pass, we’ll just take it again I said.
We got to the test site, and I should’ve just turned around and gone home when I couldn’t even get him to be still to register! There had already been 6 or 7 dogs there and the smells were too much for him and he was diving under the table to sniff the registrars legs! But we stayed.
The 1st activity – walk around a taped area with loose leash. Eh. Loose was a stretch, but they passed him and we moved on.
Next, may I pet your dog. Eh. He fell over once and wiggled around to be petted but. Passed. we moved on.
Several more tests, I think they were being kind, but we moved on.
Then…. The neutral dog: brought in to see if Charlie would walk with me and not try to pull to go toward the dog as it walked past us.
They were SO nice and I could tell they felt awful failing us. Yes us. I mean Charlie is gorgeous and so sweet: everyone loves him.
But the fact of the matter was, he wasn’t ready. No – I wasn’t ready.
So we leave with our “not ready” status. I was thinking I was fine with it, but then weird feelings surfaced.
First I noticed I felt different about Charlie – my sweet best friend who is truly the BEST!
Then I felt kind of consumed by it!
My husband and son were home when I got there. “awe man sorry! Well, who cares what those people think. He’s perfect the way he is!” They were so supportive.
But it didn’t help: my mood got worse and worse!
At church the next day I was SO ill! When our youth pastor was doing the offering I was thinking, “Oh stop talking and just take the $!” (In my head of course!)
So it was time to analyze: what’s really going on here?
I called this episode small failures and I’m not really sure what the criteria are for small vs gargantuan failures, but I’m pretty sure this is not huge. I even went in knowing he wasn’t really ready. So I started looking in to the word. I read the Webster definition:
an act or instance of proving unsuccessful; lack of success:
My test was a failure.
Then I read some quotes. I’m not a big quote person, but this one by JK Rowling interested me:
“Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success. I've met people who don't want to try for fear of failing.” - J.K. Rowling
Almost all of the quotes mentioned trying again. Bouncing back. Using it to move forward. Not giving up. Honestly that made it a tad worse. OK time for the psychotherapy and I’ll come back to this quote thing, and how I processed this. If small failures lead to gargantuan emotions for you, ask yourself these questions (Click here to download the PDF). My processing is in the podcast.
1. First, What is REALLY going on here?
2. What are the details? (Click here for The Four Agreements on Amazon)
3. Was there a hidden goal in the task?
4. Did I do everything I could to be successful? (Click here to follow me on Facebook)
5. What now?
6. Finally, how will I move past this, mentally? (Click here for A Stroke of Insight on Amazon).
First, ask yourself what’s really going on.
Second, fill in the details
Third, considering it was a small failure, dig to see if there was another goal there
Fourth, did you do everything to be successful
Fifth, what will you do now
And finally, how do you move on mentally.
So practice you emotional people out there, including me 😅!
And that’s our time for today. I hope your learned something today about fear and that you’ll jump in and take some steps to move forward! Please pass the show link along to a friend or two. The monthly giveaway will come from leaving a comment here so be sure to do that. I think I’ll change the giveaway to a CYH mug (there’s a pic here - more professional one coming soon!).
And thank you for listening – it means a lot to me!
Finally, remembering our mental & emotional wellbeing goal, I hope that you will renew your thoughts daily, adopt empowering language that prevents verbal harm to yourself and others, and make positive mental and emotional choices on a daily basis.
And until next time, Consider Yourself Hugged 😘🤗