3 Things I Learned About Toxic Thinking From My Dogs
Toxic thinking can infect every area of your life. It can contribute to physical ailments, emotional distress, and even damaged relationships.
But dumping toxic thinking isn’t as simple as just thinking more positively; otherwise, we’d all do it. I mean, who doesn’t want to think more positively?
You may not yet know this about me, but I love animals (sometimes more than people). My husband and I currently have three dogs and we foster dogs frequently.
And over the years these little bundles of fur have taught us a lot about toxic thinking.
I’ve seen that there’s a lot we can learn from our canine friends.
Love covers all.
Every single one of my dogs, whether our own or fosters. respond to two things: food and love. Where love is being given, you’ll find each one of my dogs gathered around pushing for their share. The same is true for us. Humans are drawn to love. Often times our toxic thougths come from toxic environments that have been deeply rooted in us. But washing out the old with new loving thoughts and memories can bring us new life and hope. You’ll find this love and hope in the presence of God. I pray that you dive into His word and discover the truth.
Trust but verify.
Our former President Ronald Reagan often quoted a Russian proverb: “Trust but verify.” Our foster dog Crayon embraced the same motto. Crayon was a cute little Chihuahua who loved to have his belly rubbed. But when we first brought him into our home, he would try to bite us every time we rubbed his belly. This broke my heart because I knew how much he wanted to enjoy the rub. But Crayon came from an abusive home and he wasn’t sure if he could trust us. Over time he would let us pet him more and more. He wanted to verify that we could be trusted before he exposed himself to us.
The same is true for people. It’s likely that you’ve had your trust broken, but don’t let that be a reason to start biting everyone. Slowly start opening your heart to trust again, but remember not to just hand over all your trust to just anyone. Verify if the person is worthy of your trust first.
Forgiveness gets you treats.
They say that dogs are dumb and they forget—that’s why they’re able to forgive. That’s certainly not true. If you’ve ever met an abused dog, you can see that they don’t forget. But I’ve found that their forgiveness instincts are stronger than ours. For example, I once had a poodle named Daisy. There was several times that I kicked Daisy because I didn’t see her tiny little body in front of my already in motion feet. There was one time that she went flying halfway across the room. Thankfully she was ok, but Daisy didn’t sit in the corner sulking and dwelling on the offense. She gladly accepted my apologies (and the treats that came along with it). We could learn a lot from Daisy in how to forgive others. Good things await you when you forgive. Unforgiveness keeps you stuck.
You don’t have to stay stuck in a negative mindset or be a victim of your past. Many of the dogs I’ve had over the years didn’t have good beginnings but their lives turned around—and so can yours.
What life lessons has your fur baby taught you? I’d love to hear in the comments below.
Do you ever wonder if your negative thinking is holding you back in life? Take this Free Toxic Thoughts Assessment to learn how toxic your thoughts are.