I received the following email:
“Yesterday I read an article about a man who beat a dog to death and buried her with her head sticking out of the ground. I can’t get over this. How can I be expected to love somebody who doesn’t deserve to live? I hate him. I’ve been crying for two days about this. I love my dog, and it tears my heart out that such a thing could happen.”
Listen slowly and carefully to this, my dear, because it's critical to your happiness:
- It is NOT the dog you're upset about. The story of the dog has simply connected you more intimately to all the pain and cruelty in your own life. Trust me on this. I'm certainly not indifferent to cruelty toward an animal, but my greater concern is the pain you feel. THAT is what needs to be addressed, or the dog will just be a distraction to your growth.
- Anyone who would treat a dog this way could only be reacting to their own unbearable pain. I feel just as much compassion for the abuser as for the dog.
I don’t propose that you should change your feelings toward this man. I do suggest, however, that your feelings are killing you. So what can you do? Instead of covering up your lifetime of pain with anger about whatever is happening around you—as you’re doing with the dog, and as you have done with many other things—you need to just feel YOUR pain. The pain of your childhood. The pain of your isolation. The pain of feeling unloved.
Feel it and do something about it. Find people loving and strong enough to really connect with YOU, instead of being distracted by your pain and anger. You distract people a lot with your anger, and then they can’t connect with you.
As you feel more loved, you might consider that the abusive man has experienced pain similar to yours. Then discover whether your feelings toward him change.
Why does this matter? Because if you feel this much pain and anger around the treatment of a dog you’ve never met, it is a certainty that you have similar feelings toward many other people and events. Your pain is a cancer that is eating you alive. Find people who can listen to your pain and hold your hand. See what happens.
There is so much pain everywhere. We can continue to endure it and spread it, or we can see the roots of it and begin to genuinely heal. Let’s begin the healing.
Recover from your negative habits and beliefs!
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