Our dog, Maddy, is adorable and in truth, pampered and quite probably spoilt.
How many other dogs have a bed in nearly every room in the house? Ok, yes, this makes our life easier as we don’t have to carry dog beds around from room to room, dropping mud and hair along the way. It also means she can have a cheap and cheerful bed in the kitchen where she can dry out after a long muddy walk and we’re not too precious about whether it gets wet or dirty as she has her other beds in other rooms in the house.
Once, we found a beautiful, soft, fluffy bed at a local market, perfect for her to stretch out in comfort in front of the fire and soft and fluffy enough for her to feel pampered and cosseted. She adored this bed. You could almost hear her sigh as she snuggled down into it and I’m sure several times I almost heard her purr!
It was a real hit with her and in the evenings, she couldn’t wait for us to go and sit on the sofa as that meant it was her time to relax and chill on her soft fluffy bed. One morning, however, she was noticeably absent. Usually she sat beside me as I was doing my paperwork but that particular morning, I’d taken a few phone calls and was a bit distracted. From experience, I’ve learnt that when Maddy goes 'missing', there’s usually trouble. I called her and from the lounge appeared this nose covered in white fluff. I walked into the lounge to discover devastation. Her beautiful soft bed was destroyed. There was fluff and stuffing all over the floor and the cover was ripped to pieces. The bed as we knew it, was no more. That evening she came into the lounge as usual, but then looked very downcast as she realised, she no longer had a soft, fluffy bed to lie on but had to make do with the floor.
This reminded me of behaviours we often follow. We sometimes feel compelled to do things that are not in our long-term interests. To follow destructive patterns of behaviour that we know aren’t good for us.
Smoking that cigarette gives us short-term pleasure but comes at the expense of long-term health.
Avoiding social situations because they make us anxious, leaves us feeling isolated and lonely.
They are just a couple of examples.
Behind every behaviour there is a feeling and behind every feeling there is a need. When we focus on healthy ways to meet that need, we start dealing with the causes rather than the symptoms.
Maddy was probably feeling a bit neglected and bored. Had she have come up to me for a cuddle or got one of her toys to play with, she would have met her need for attention and still had a comfy bed for the evenings.
You can take action to deal with these behaviour patterns, working out what is driving that behaviour and meeting that need in a much better way. Or you can carry on following them and wondering why nothing changes, why things stay the same. If that seems to challenging to do alone, get some help, from a therapist or good friend.
Don’t be like Maddy.
If you can relate to any of this, get in touch today. You deserve better.