#30daysofcaninescience *Thoughts on the process*

One of my goals with this course was to make it without performance anxiety. As you might have noticed I already ”failed”. As a ”light-bipolar” (type II) I have to change the way I’m thinking most of the time and this should be no different.

I take a step back, and realise that’s it’s all a process. Exactly like the mental process I have learnt to go through when I feel down or up in general. I have noticed this can be applied to both mental and physical behaviour.

There are a few steps to this that I use every day.

  • Identification

    First step is to identify the feeling or behaviour in your self that's leading up to your frustration or sadness. So in this case I have to use it in two stages.

  • Step 1

    Ask yourself if you really want to change the way you're thinking. Does it mean anything to you or is it just for others? Sometimes this process is tough (depending on your thoughts) so there has to be a will to it.

  • Step 2

    Go outside yourself. Pretend you're someone else looking at you like you're looking at others. In the case of dog training it's good to film since we might want to identify physical behaviour. Do not judge, just observe.

  • Step 3

    Write down or make a mental note of what you're doing to thinking in the situation you want to change.

    Make sure not to judge, you have to see yourself objectively. I find that easiest to pretend that I am one of my friends. How would I look at my friend if I wanted to observe behaviour?

  • Acceptance

    When you have found out what I'm doing or thinking you have to accept your behaviour or thoughts..

    Would you judge what your friend is doing or thinking? Would you say to him or her "You suck for thinking like that!". I don't think so. There is nothing right or wrong with what you're thinking, it's ok. It just is.

    There is no right and wrong in this world really, it's just something we fabricate.
    Everything we look at has a good and a bad side. You just have to accept it. It is important to not get angry at yourself for doing and thinking the way you do. There is probably a reason for it, or maybe it's just a habit. To start getting angry at yourself is just starting and evil circle of self hatred.

  • Find alternatives

    Is there any other way you could think? What are the alternatives to your behaviour or thoughts. Think that there is always other sides to the box. Write down what you could do instead.

    An example: I was only focusing on the results of the behaviour. Is there an alternative?
    I could see it as a process. Identify what I'm doing in my training and then decide if I want to change it or just accept it.

  • Choose

    There is ALWAYS a choice. No matter if it's how you're thinking or what you're doing. By this step you managed to identify and accept what you're doing right now. Now you have to choose what you want to do about it. Do you have the energy it takes to change?

  • Do it!

    If you've gotten through the other steps you have to actually do it. You have to force yourself to take the path you have chosen. When the feeling is really strong this takes a lot of energy, but you have to trust that it can be done.

  • Don't judge

    If you don't manage you cannot judge yourself. You have to see it as a process, not a failure.

    When you're going through this process you have probably had trouble with this for a long time. You can see it as a motorway. Your brain is taking the easiest way, which is the road you've always taken. The one you recognise and is comfortable with. You know where it leads and you believe it's the way to take. Safe.

    But then you have to take the exit of the motorway. The road might be tougher to drive and you're not sure if you will get lost on the way. The destination is the same (in this case completing the course), but the road there is so much nicer. There are trees, beautiful views that you would have missed by taking the motorway.

    The destination is the same, so you can't judge if you miss the exit. There are others, and maybe you have more force to slow down next time, no matter how long it takes.

In my case I rushed to the goal. I got stressed and frustrated. But then I noticed that I was just rushing on the motorway. I noticed that there is an exit, and I managed to take it. 

My journey will not be about the goal, but the process. I will identify what I’m doing in my training, look at it from an objective view. I will then try to find alternatives and ask myself if they could be better. What would be the consequences of choosing a particular alternative? 

That’s where I am now. I’m filming how I’m training at the moment and deciding if I want to continue doing it, or if there are better consequences if I change it.

I accept that I will only be able to take the first step in this course, but maybe by the end of it I will get a step further and manage to actually change. I can go back at any time and reflect and practice.

All of a sudden this challenge got more fun and I’m enjoying it. I can see myself as a friend and not judge. I will take it little by little.

I’m going through this thought process every day. When I’m feeling down I might have to go through these steps with every thought I have. It takes energy, but it gets easier and easier because I’m building my toolbox of alternatives, and it’s becoming a habit to choose a better one. 

Some days are worse than others, and then I don’t have the energy it takes. Then I accept and rest. 

The hardest thing is to make other people understand why I have to get more rest and can’t do as many things as everyone else. I often hear ”But you just have to do it”. But no, I have to go through lots of steps and use my energy to choose and do. It’s not easy! And I accept it, no matter what people from the outside are thinking. They have no idea what’s going on in my brain, and I can’t expect them to. Most people are not aware, and then it’s hard to understand. 

How can you identify yourself with something you have never experienced? You can think you do, but you can’t really understand in depth the feeling this situation is giving you. It’s personal. 

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