Feeling bad stinks.
Being injured or sick, whether physically or emotionally, is no fun at all. There’s only one thing that’s worse. And that’s when you feel bad about feeling bad.
Talking To Yourself When You’re Feeling Bad
How do you talk to yourself when you’re feeling bad?
I hope you have nurturing voices inside your head. Voices that tell you to relax and take it easy. Let other people take care of you. Take time off.
Or maybe you’re more like me. And the voices that shout at you when you’re feeling bad just make you feel worse.
- What do you have to feel so bad about? You’re darn lucky.
- You know, there are people out there whose treatments are making them feel worse than your illness makes you feel.
- Why would you even think of staying home? If you’re conscious, you should be working.
- I don’t know what you’re complaining about. You know you’ve felt much worse than you do now.
I sometimes wish my dog spoke English. But if it results in her hearing voices in her head when she feels bad, I wouldn’t wish it on her.
When Dogs Feel Bad
I feel very lucky. My dog Honey is a very healthy girl.
But she did have a health crisis when she was seven months old.
At three months old, Honey swallowed a plastic squeaker from a cheap toy. We did what worried people do when their pups swallow something indigestible—we examined every little brown package that came out of her for weeks. No squeaker.
Since Honey showed no signs of ill-health, we assumed she must have passed the squeaker when we weren’t watching. But four months later she started getting sick. Yep, the squeaker had been traveling through her system and was finally giving her problems.
It was hard to diagnose because Honey would be healthy and then sick. For a few days, she’d be happy and playful. Then she’d start vomiting and look listless. An x-ray found the problem and sent Honey in for emergency surgery.
In the days before her diagnosis, Honey made the most of how she felt. When she had a good day, she frolicked and played. When she felt bad, she sat quietly or napped.
A dog is incapable of feeling bad about feeling bad. And even though our minds are wired for thinking about our feelings, maybe we need dogs as an example of a better way to feel bad.
Learning From Tri-Pawd Dogs
Hearing your vet diagnose your dog with bone cancer is a scary thing. But you only have to look at any dog amputee to realize that when your vet tells you that removing a cancerous leg will give your dog a chance at a happy and healthy life, she’s telling you the truth.
Tri-pawd dogs feel bad like anyone else who has major surgery. They need time to recover. They have to build up strength gradually.
But they seem to heal quickly. They feel bad when they feel bad. But they don’t feel bad about feeling bad. They just get moving when they’re body tells them it’s time.
It’s Okay to Feel Bad
Feeling bad just happens. Everyone gets sick. Everyone gets hurt. Everyone feels emotional pain.
And it’s ok. It’s just part of life.
The only time you can count on not feeling bad is when you’re dead. And even that may not be true depending on your theology.
I hope I can learn from dogs to stop feeling bad about feeling bad. It doesn’t make anything better. It just adds a heap of regret and shame on top of already feeling bad.
And who knows? Maybe if I can stifle the voices trying to make me feel bad about feeling bad, I can make room for a nurturing voice or two.
Honey never feels bad about feeling bad. She just deals with what life gives her at the moment. And if that’s good for her, maybe it’s good for me too.
Yesterday, Honey took on The Hammock. Who was victorious?
Check back tomorrow for the results of the fight of the century. And for your chance to win a great prize.
Your Turn: Do you feel bad about feeling bad? Or are you good at channeling a dog’s ability to just feel bad or good?