Paying attention to your pets can provide a lot of inspiration for getting through your divorce.
I have four pets, two cats and two dogs. They each have very distinct personalities. Jewel is the youngest cat at about 12. Her short fur is all black except for a patch of white at the base of her neck. She's all about food, cuddling and sunbathing. Her figure reflects her hedonistic life style and on the rare occasions when she runs, her furry belly wobbles so much that I’m amazed it doesn't get totally out of control!
Meow is an elderly cat who is a mix of just about everything: Siamese, Persian and Tabby. She is very regal and knows exactly what she wants and when she wants it. I love her determination.
Marti is a four-year-old black lab mix. His greatest joys in life are kids, food and playing, especially outside. Wait a minute. Make that playing outside with kids. Oh, oh, make that playing outside with kids who have food they're willing to share. That's Marti. He seems to always come up with ways to make whatever he's doing even more fun.
Tonic is a twelve-year-old Australian shepherd mix. She's big into cuddling and kissing, but in general she sets the rules for Marti and Jewel. (Meow is so regal that Tonic just lets her do what she wants.) Usually, Tonic is a rule-follower and does what's expected of her. However, she's been loosening up recently and I've caught her several times just chilling out lying on her back and letting everything relax. It's so unexpected to see her so completely relaxed that I smile every time I catch her doing it. (Yes, that's a picture of Tonic relaxing.)
I find inspiration for living a more fulfilling and happy life by paying attention to my four-footed family members today just like I did when I paid attention to the sweet pets I had when I was going through my divorce. Today, the lessons Jewel, Meow, Marti and Tonic teach me are just as important as the ones I learned years ago from other pets. Jewel reminds me that good things are good and that there can be repercussions from too much of some good things. Meow reminds me of the importance of boundaries and the importance of living my life in a way that works for me. Marti reminds me to have fun. Heck, Marti reminds everyone he meets of the importance of having fun. And Tonic reminds me of the importance of just letting it all hang out and relax sometimes. The lessons they teach me are (usually) joyful and I look forward to learning each and every one of them. My hope is that if you have pets you’re taking advantage of their great lessons too!
Your Functional Divorce Assignment:
Which of my pets inspires you? Maybe Jewel inspires you to exert a little more self-control or Meow helps you to recognize that boundaries might be just what you need. Maybe Marti's lesson of just having fun or Tonic's example of relaxing are more important for you right now.
When you think of a favorite pet, what do they inspire you to do, be or try? Lots of people who have dogs recognize the incredible amount of unconditional love they receive and want to emulate that. Many people who have cats are inspired by how calm cats can be when they camp out in the middle of your lap (or on the middle of your notes like Jewel is doing for me right now) and start purring.
How might you put one of the lessons from a four-footed companion to work right now? We can all learn a lot by paying attention to our pets. But, there's a difference between learning and doing. If one of your pets (or one of mine) teaches you something, go ahead and make the effort to put the lesson into practice. I suspect that it will make your life better and your adjustment to your divorce easier if you do.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce coach and advisor helping people just like you who are dealing with the stress and pain of divorce. You can join my newsletter list for free weekly advice. If you’re ready to take the first step toward working with me as your personal coach, you can schedule an introductory private coaching session.