When I shared A Literal Shit Show (Part 1) with the folks who subscribe to my weekly Love Notes, I received MANY responses. Some told me their puppy stories (and shared photos of their sweet pups), some told me their mother stories, some laughed and laughed (some so hard they cried), some said they could relate, and one response indicated concern that I had mistreated Scout and that it was petty to get upset about diarrhea.
I was in a vulnerable place, for sure. As I said, I wasn’t using the tools I’d learned. And here’s the thing: on the surface, yes, I was upset about diarrhea, but deep down inside? In a place I hadn’t quite accessed? I was deep in it with my old friend shame. So much so that I couldn’t even think about it or talk about it without crying.
Since then I have used my tools and want to share the process because it’s a process that will help you.
First I wrote down all the thoughts I had about the situation and shared them with a mentor.
She’s sweet and adorable and well trained. And she has intestinal issues that I have lots of thoughts about. But on top of that I have thoughts like: I had no idea it would be like this. I can’t do this. There’s a reason I chose not to have children. I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to be responsible for her. I am horrible person. if my husband says it’s okay to send her back, I will feel guilty for the rest of my life. I am a spoiled brat. This proves just how bad I really am.
Then I broke it down into a simple Awareness Model (this is the Model I learned while training as a coach at The Life Coach School):
Thought: I am a horrible person and a spoiled brat
Actions: cry, fret, and complain to friends; try to suck it up unsuccessfully; try to make myself think “positive” even though I know that’s not the answer
Results: I keep finding evidence for my horribleness
In response, my mentor wrote:
“…what if we forget about the dog for the moment and focus instead on the shame and self judgment? You likely can’t change your thoughts about the dog because you don’t even want to allow yourself to have them. You think they mean so much about you. But what if you just allowed them to be there and practiced thinking they’re all okay? What would open up for you if you were able to see even these thoughts as just sentences in your mind?”
I immediately felt relief when I considered this option. I felt myself soften and open.
Next, I created a new Awareness Model based on how I want to feel and show up:
Thought: I have thoughts about her and myself and it’s okay for me to have those thoughts
Actions: approach her issues with compassion for her and for myself, rely on my husband, trust that we can do this and that we’ll all be better for it
Results: I have thoughts…and they’re just thoughts…humans have all kinds of thoughts
I revealed the pattern (again…it’s an ancient one, for sure) and I healed another layer of shame.
Does this mean I will never think negative thoughts and feel negative feelings again? No. And when I do, I use my tools so I can feel better. And here’s what’s amazing about that: nothing outside of me had to change in order for me to feel better. Scout’s intestinal issues took a while to resolve. I had to make a lot of chicken and rice. I chose to stay awake one night to monitor her so my husband could sleep.
And instead of shame wrapped up in desperation and anger (and fatigue), I feel compassion.
Always do your best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
My best changes from moment to moment, as does yours. It changes when we are tired. It changes when we are scared. It changes when we feel shame. It changes when we feel compassion.
Much, much love,
Reveal patterns. Heal shame. Transform legacies.