Forgiving and letting go are powerful tools for our mental and physical health. Our emotions, fueled by our thoughts, affect our bodies. And emotions affect our animals. So the more negative emotions we release, the better our bodies — and animals — feel and function.
Notice how different emotions feel
Try this small experiment as a reminder. Imagine your animals intuitively feel what you’re going through when you do this.
First, imagine/relive a good time with someone you love. How does your body react? Maybe your shoulders relax, you smile, you notice a warm feeling in your heart or abdomen.
Now, remember/relive something that upset you – nothing big, just an annoyance. How does your body respond? Maybe your chest tightens and your breathing becomes shallow. Does your heart beat furiously? Or tears came to your eyes.
Great! Now “shake it off” (as I tell my dogs) – don’t hold onto it!
Our emotions affect our animals
Our animals respond to our bodies and our speech. You might imagine their body surrounded by our emotions – it’s in the air. For instance, I notice when tensions get high in our house, my dog Tibor leaves our presence. It’s too much for him.
What energetic climate are you creating for your animals?
Forgiveness frees us and them
Forgiving frees us from negative emotions and thoughts. If we hold onto them, we negatively affect our body in the short run. If these emotions become part of our personality or story, many believe they make us physically ill. Some believe they might make our animals physically ill.
Forgiveness brings us the energetic equivalent of clean, fresh mountain air. We don’t have to:
- Condone the behavior.
- Assume that there will be no consequences for the behavior.
- Deny that a bad thing happened.
But it’s hard to forgive
I don’t naturally let go of disappointment, anger, fear, even embarrassment, over my own or someone else’s behavior. And I can be embarrassed and angry about my animal’s behaviors, too. Or people’s reactions to me and my animals.
Just saying, “I forgive them” doesn’t work for me
Emotions still linger even after saying “I forgive them.”
Instead, I work to let go of my emotions around the memory. Because letting go feels more down to earth, practical. I’m just trying to release the heavy crap so I can live comfortably.
But most of us can’t let go of those emotions by ourselves. I work with gifted people who lead me out of the emotional mess and find peace.
Letting go helps us see life differently
We see what we need and what doesn’t serve us. We have more patience and acceptance of the “personalities, peculiarities and preferences” of ourselves, our animals and our people. Or we make changes that helps everyone live in harmony.
My barky dog Stella makes people feel special
Stella, a small dog, loves people’s company, even more than other dogs. If she never saw another dog park that would be OK with her. She’s just interested in meeting the people, not their dogs.
Stella has a loud small-dog bark!
Honestly, Stella has a loud, high-pitched bark. But if you don’t know her, you’ll think she’s being small-dog ferocious. Protecting me. Nope, that’s not it at all. She just wants to meet you.
“Hi, Lovely Human! I adore you and want to come closer and bask in your glowing presence!”
Her bark embarrassed me
To tell the truth, I was embarrassed by her bark. But I also love her personality and didn’t want to shut her down.
Letting go of embarrassment
So I decided to let go of my embarrassment and came up with a new strategy. Now I unabashedly tell people who don’t know her, “Hi! That’s my Stella saying hello! She really loves people.”
Neighbors feel special
Now, neighbors who know Stella love her excited barking when she sees them. Those people, some who live by themselves, feel “seen”, They tell me, “This dog really loves me!”
And isn’t it great that my dog helps these people feel special? They actually can’t wait to get their share of love. Stella’s a gift.
What’s possible if you understand your animal’s behavior?