This is a hard one, and I do not pretend to always get it right, but here’s a tricky thing that I often see: Us humans are fabulous and flawed.
We make mistakes and we have our own ‘stuff’, our own insecurities and baggage…
…And then we take a piece of our heart, on a string, to class with other fabulous and flawed humans.
What ensues can be magical, wonderfully uplifting and often brings us not contact with people we will cherish as our dearest friends for life. They ‘get’ how we feel about our dog, they get excited with us as we plan our next puppy, and they grieve with us when we lose that piece of our heart.
They can be the best people, who understand us and allow us to be our wonderfully eccentric selves. In many cases I know that class/competitions are really just the official or approved reason people turn up- the social connections, the relationships formed can be the most wonderful we get the privilege to know in this life.
Fabulous and Flawed
On the flip side of that though, are the rubs that can also happen. If you tuned in expecting me to point a finger and apportion blame, well then my lovely, you don’t know me well enough!
This is one of the tricky things about us humans, we’re complex and sometimes our hurts rub up against someone else’s flaws (or vice versa) and more pain ensues. It may not be ’caused’ by any one person, it often owes more to the space between us and what each of us brings there- whether from our own history, our culture or current stressors (e.g. injury, emotional distress, work pressures etc.)
So whilst we live in a social media world where it is all too easy to come to black-and-white snap judgements, I want to urge us to allow for the grey. Things are RARELY as simple as they seem, and it is easy to do damage by treating a short post as if it were the totality of information, or listening to gossip.
Dealing with Hurts
Somewhere along the lines, you are going to encounter someone who acts/speaks in a way that is hurtful or unhelpful for you, at that time.
We can’t control others, but where appropriate we CAN offer them grace, understanding that anyone can say the wrong thing and it doesn’t necessarily mean they were trying to hurt us or be malicious- next time it could be us needing a bit of leeway when our tongue overtakes our brain.
We can also set boundaries- if there is a way you don’t want to be spoken to, I find even a simple ‘ouch’ can be enough to make people stop and think about how their words came across.
Another piece of this puzzle though is to always keep working on ourselves. We CAN change, significantly, and we can get mentally tougher- the research backs me up on this- it takes intentional effort, but it is possible to heal our hurt places and to become better able to cope with some of the detritus that life throws our way.
Do the work, see a therapist where you need to, work through what you need to, and if a trainer/student (this goes both ways) is having an ongoing negative effect on your confidence or self-esteem, then please consider whether you might ‘release them to other opportunities’. These sports we do with our dogs are supposed to be fun, and they’re certainly not supposed to be detrimental to our mental health!
A final positive note
I want to sign off with a shout out to each and every Mind to Win-er who has come through classes in the past 7+ years. I am so proud of you guys for the significant changes you’ve made- not just in agility terms through your titles, wins, etc., no I’m proud of how you’ve applied it in other areas of your life- and especially proud of those of you who’ve taken ownership of your story and shared how you’ve worked on your mental game. I KNOW that’s still not YET normalised in dog sports, but we’re working on it and it is immensely satisfying to see how your changes are changing the very atmosphere at your shows, making them ever more GENUINELY supportive. I love you guys!
We are ALL flawed, but we are also all precious, loveable and unique. And that includes you, reading this.
If you want to get better at dealing with your own reactions to others and your recovery when people do hurt or offend you, I have a course for exactly that. Whether it’s dealing with your own disappointments or the hurts inflicted by others, Let it Go is a simple to follow and highly effective set of strategies for moving On and Up from what life throws at you.
It’s a self-study course so you can follow it in your own time and fit it in around your personal busy schedule.
Here’s the link to get it and start strengthening your On & Up mental game today: Let it Go- Move On & Up.