Everything you do is the real you - the day I screamed at my puppy & learned a big lesson

Everything you do is the real you – the day I screamed at my puppy & learned a big lesson

by Lindsay on January 16, 2013

in Attitude, Inspiration, Personal Growth

soloMy 10-month-old puppy Solo is pure pup: energetic, impish, always looking to chew something he’s not meant to. He has a heaping basket full of toys that are all his, just waiting for him to romp around with, chew & chase. But he’s far more interested in eating toilet paper, gnawing on my new kitchen chairs and claiming baby toys as his own. Several weeks ago, much to my horror, he barfed up an entire pair of my underwear he must’ve eaten while I was showering. His taste buds are far from discriminating – I have to watch him like I would a toddler, because he’s eaten everything from a guest’s headbands to the brick on the fireplace.

Solo – even in all of his naughtiness – is a remarkable being. He rests his head atop my big belly, his head bobbing up and down when my daughter does her aquatic gymnastics within, and looks up at me with love in his eyes. He drapes his body across my belly, sighing softly with inner peace when he feels her moving. He follows me everywhere – my 4 legged shadow. He kisses my tears away, gets my lazy butt off the couch for twice-daily walks and makes me giggle every day. Watching him discover snow for the first time a few weeks ago was one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen.

Pets are just like anyone else we have a relationship with – they teach us lessons, have soul agreements with us, and bring out the best (and sometimes worst) in us. When I welcomed Solo in to my life shortly after my dog Chester died, I knew my commitment to him was ’til death do us part. That’s a fact. A couple of weeks ago though, I thought that death was going to come prematurely for one of us, and I wasn’t sure which one of us it was. Told you – I have a flair for drama. 

The Ugly Me

Moments after Solo had made me laugh a genuine belly laugh while watching his puppy antics in the newly laid snow, I decided that 15 minutes in the freezing cold at 5:30 in the morning was enough. I called for him to come back into the house with me. Defiantly, he ignored me. I called him once more. Again, my calling fell upon deaf ears. I did my usual “trick” to see if Solo could hear me and I dropped the big one: “Solo, come get your treat! His ears went back in recognition, but not even a treat was alluring enough to bring him in from the fun fluffy white stuff. I began to walk toward Solo to get him…and that’s when he took off. For the first time ever, my 4-legged shadow ran away from me. solosnow

It ain’t over ’til the fat lady runs

I quickened my pace to catch up with him. I wasn’t worried about him getting hit by a car at that hour in the morning, but I was freezing at this point. Not even my extra layer of pregnancy fat could keep me warm. He ran further, finding a parked car to hide under. He hunkered down there, playing in the snow while ignoring me. It took me damn near 5 minutes to coax him out, at which point I hastily picked him up, brought him into the house and bellowed, “GO LAY DOWN!” loud enough to wake the neighbors. I’m not a yeller. Ever. A newly terrified Solo ran to his bed to lay down while I ran to my computer to send a venting email to my best friend as steam escaped my ears – the only other person in my world who I knew was awake at that ungodly hour.

Revenge of the Puppy

Whilst I was typing my email, Solo was getting his revenge for me bringing him in from his Winter Wonderland – he was pooping on the rug in the bedroom in 3 separate piles. When I entered that room to discover his “gift” to me, I began to sob. It was just too much for this hormonal, exhausted pregnant woman to handle at 5:30 in the morning. I hollered at him some more, my face was probably almost purple from rage. That scared him enough to make him go lay in his crate.

I had to go to work 3 hours later and spent the rest of the day feeling horribly guilty for losing my temper on a puppy. I kept thinking:

“That just wasn’t me this morning.”

“I never do that.”

“It’s his fault he brought out the ugly in me.”

Why confess? 

The purpose of my “confession” isn’t to seek outside forgiveness. It isn’t to hear a choir of others say, “I lose my temper on my dog sometimes, too!” Although that certainly wouldn’t hurt.  It’s something more pressing – the lesson behind the event.

It’s about my own darkness. No matter how much I want to, I can’t pretend I don’t have not-so-nice qualities in me.  Let’s face it: there is no positive without a negative. No beginning without an end. No yin without a yang. You can be good and ‘bad’. In fact, you are. We all are.

The Real Me

Although I’d love to believe that wasn’t “the real me” who lost it on Solo, it was. I love animals, children and (a lot of, but surely not all) people. I like to see myself as a good person, just as most of us do.

The truth is, everything we do is the real us.  When someone shows a side of themselves you haven’t seen, it’s not that it wasn’t the REAL them.  It’s just that we haven’t seen this side of them yet. Maybe they haven’t either. Believe it.  Don’t fool yourself. Don’t try to fool others – everything you do is the “real” you. 

Life Is In Shades Of Gray

Tibetan monks say,  “Embrace your demons.”

In other words, you really need to sit with who you are – all of you – including the parts that you’d rather not look at. In order to be soulful and live a mindful life, you need to own up to all of you, even the ‘ugly’ parts.

Have you ever met someone who seemed totally fake because she was “on” and smiling all the time? It’s hard to trust someone who pretends to have it all and not have a single thing wrong with them, isn’t it? We know better, deep down inside. So why would you lie to yourself and say you don’t have a shadow side, too?

Us vs. Them

Ever had the ‘us’ vs ‘them’ mentality? It’s easy to have:

I would never do that. 

They’re so stupid/mean/cruel/unbelievable.

It’s me against the world. Everyone else is awful and the world has lost its damn mind and I’m the only sane one left. 


Embracing the demons

Maybe if we begin to acknowledge all parts of us, we can practice compassion for the others – the “them” – more often. The more honest we are with ourselves about who we are in totality, the richer our lives will become. When we see that all of us can lose it sometimes, that all of us can do something ‘bad’, then we begin to have compassion for those who make mistakes. Forgiveness becomes as easy as having an extra scoop of ice cream. Sometimes. 

Maybe with this acknowledgment of embracing our whole selves, we can choose compassion over and over again.  We don’t heal and grow in a vacuüm, we grow, learn and heal in relationship and community. And to do that growing and learning, we need to accept all parts of everyone: ourselves and the ‘others’, too.

Me and Solo

Even though Solo has seen the ugly in me, he still loves me. Just as a true friend would. And don’t you love your true friends for all parts of them, not just the good parts? Love always wins. Find the courage and forgiveness in your heart to accept people for who they are – all parts. Be honest with yourself and others about who you are – even the things you deem ‘ugly’. Give it a try and see how much richer your life becomes, how strengthened your relationships become. I dare you.

Your Experience?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you think there is strength in vulnerability? Are you honest with yourself and others about all parts of you? How does that enrich your life?

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Patti Foy | Lightspirited Being January 16, 2013 at 10:16 pm

Aw, Lindsay! I’ve been away far too long and wouldn’t you know I return on a dog post. A puppy no less. Honestly, I tried to read the last half but was STUCK in my own head about what you said in the first half.

Something I learned from my dogs is that the reason they’re so easy to love is they have an innocence. A purity. And something else I learned along the way (at least I think it’s true) is that I wouldn’t know that unless I recognized it. Because it’s in me, too! So that thing you love about that little guy? You have it too. And maybe you do other “bad” things than eat your underwear (ohhh, let’s hope so) and poop on your rug (I swear, I was LOL by that point in the story), but you are just as freakin’ loveable as that little Solo. We just sometimes don’t know any better!

And on that note, and as a nod to the rest of your post (which admittedly I couldn’t concentrate on), I’m not sure I do believe we have gray and black.

Maybe you’re just pure puppy! (Oops, we won’t even discuss what a grown-up female puppy is called! Yikes!)

Thank you!!! xoxox and kisses for Solo, too. 🙂

Lindsay January 17, 2013 at 6:30 am

LOL Patti! I’m sure I’ve been called the word for female dog before, too!

And why am I not surprised that the day you return to the blog is the day I publish an article about my dog? You and I have a pretty neat connection and it barely surprises me anymore. I have to wonder if Chester orchestrates these little synchronicities!

I really like that we can’t ‘see’ things in others (pets included) unless we have them in us ourselves. It makes me think about the things I see in others that I like and don’t like: do I have those qualities too? Why yes…I think I do! You gave me some food for thought. 🙂

I’ll try the running away thing next time…because I’m sure there will be a next time! Thanks for stopping by. I’ve missed you! xoxoxoxo

Patti Foy | Lightspirited Being January 16, 2013 at 10:22 pm

P.S. Something else I learned along the way. If you find yourself chasing a dog, stop! Get their attention and let them see you running away from them, and they’ll chase you! Worked every time I’ve ever done it, I swear! Helps eliminate those 5:30a meltdowns. ♥

Julie Barrett January 17, 2013 at 6:30 am

There’s nothing like pregnancy hormones to bring out the purest emotions you’ve ever had, including blind rage. Last year though I had the most raw, sheer anger pop up seemingly out of nowhere, so raw that I shocked myself. I got very quiet instantly, and it was gone as fast as it came, but I really had think on where did that come from? I didn’t realize I was capable of it.

Lisa | Practically Intuitive January 17, 2013 at 10:02 am


Going from a 15 year old doggie to a puppy just about gave me whiplash! It also brought out sides of me that I was horrified to see existed. But you’re right – they are all parts of me, whether I want to acknowledge them or not.

“Everything you do is the real you” – I think I need to remind myself of that.

(Also too: you haz mad writing skillz – I haz a jellus!)

Shared with the PI FB crowd. So so good!

Heather Fox January 17, 2013 at 10:13 am

One of the best articles you’ve written to date Lindsay. Just simple, and real. I’m glad humans don’t punish each other by pooping in the bedroom! lol

I think when we know we have unresolved ‘ugly’ within its easy to avoid it for so long we can almost forget its there. Until that unguarded moment comes along and it slips out the cracks greeted by none other than our own consciousness.

Many of the best lessons I’ve learned in life have been through living with dogs and especially the bitches. And especially the bitches who are pregnant, birthing and mothering. There ain’t no shame in being a bitch. Dog’s live in the moment and there is a great lesson to that. You can own that moment for what it was, but it doesn’t define you unless you accept that.

And remember, there’s a reason we’ve talked about the ‘raging hormones of pregnancy’ since forever.

Heather January 17, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Beautifully written.

I do think there is strength in vulnerability, but I also think it takes strength and courage to be vulnerable (for me, anyway).

I try to be honest with myself and others about all parts of me. When I am honest I end up with a deeper appreciation and understanding of myself and the world around me. When I’m not honest, that’s when the lessons keep coming. It’s like I can either learn it the easy way by seeing it for what it really is and loving & accepting it…or I can learn the painful way, by hiding it, pretending it’s not there or being disgusted by it and then it will just keep showing up over and over again. And this is true for those things I see in others and myself, because we are all one.

It is empowering to take responsibility for all parts of me and for my choices. It gives me the power.

Choose compassion over and over again. I like that. It’s a good mantra.

Thank you for this Lindsay, it touched me deeply today. It goes along with my lesson in surrender. You are a beautiful soul who I am happy to call my friend.

kerry January 17, 2013 at 1:13 pm

I have had cats for years..with all their different personalities..and uniqueness.
I have had my many moments with each of them being totally human and they being totally..catuman..part human and part cat. They can be so childish and free and childish and troublish too..just like kids..but they always love me back more than not..with their ..gestures..noises..using their paws for touch and eye looks..the real genuine connection I don’t have with a lot of..humans.

Susan S. January 17, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Your experience with your puppy is like a little snap shot of how it’s been with my son and me. I still remember yelling at the top of my lungs at my son when he was 2 or 3, because of my own frustrations and inability to deal with them. Having my son has taught me so many lessons that it’s crazy good. I have changed a ton in his short 10 years. And I have apologized to him many times. He knows that mom is not perfect, but as I learn the lesson, I teach him; so hopefully, he’ll be ahead of the game when he grows up.

As for people who feel they need to maintain a perfect facade, I feel sorry for them and their insecurities. I have warts and in general, am not afraid to show them. Sometimes, I use them as teaching moments. And I have done a bunch of personal work, so that some of these warts have permanently shifted. It’s all about growth and change.

Victoria January 17, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Thank You for this article… It was worth the view, in many ways.. See, one of my furry friends just ‘left’ this week. Not sure where or why; she just vanished. The first night, I cried till I feel asleep. The next morning, I went looking for her again. Several days later now and I still expect to see her…
One thing I know for sure though is.. I did not yell at her that last morning, and that feels good.
I am one of those that knows her darker side quite well.
I know it is a part of me and I do not appreciate it one bit.
The pupps have seen it way too many times…
But, over time, I have learned, pupps accept apologies too.
They may not forget, any more than humans do, yet, they appreciate when they are held and re-assured that we love them and hope to not lose it again.
We humans are so many parts of so many things and somehow, somehow.. Pupps understand us.
I am grateful.

Teri January 17, 2013 at 2:33 pm

I love how real you are with us. Just wait and see how awful you feel when you hiss a not-so-sweet “go the heck to sleep!” at your little 5-Mo-old in the middle of the night when she’s up for the 5th time that night and every other night that week. Of course when the sun is shining and you’re more in your right mind, you feel absolutely terrible and pray over and over that she’ll have no recollection of the awful event! Yep, been there with BOTH girls! I’ve learned that I’m human and it reminds me to make sure my girls always know I love them!

Jennifer Flint ~ The Aura Reader January 17, 2013 at 3:38 pm

Well, of course we all have our little meltdown moments. Although I dearly love animals as a general concept, when I live alone I don’t tend to have pets of my own, because I’m sensitive to things like noise and messes, and they are not. But my boyfriend has several of them, so I’ve learned to work through those issues, and it has been an excellent way to learn more empathy and compassion.

What I’ve noticed on my off days, though, is that anytime I tend to lose my temper, it’s generally for physical reasons. By this I mean that if I’m tired, hormonal, my blood sugar is off, etc., I’m far more likely to get upset about something that if I’m well rested and have been meditating.

In fact, I often notice the physical problem BECAUSE of some reaction I have that does not really seem to be “me.” Then I just say “whoops, guess I need some protein,” and leave it at that.

This makes me wonder how much of our less-than-ideal behavior comes from the soul level, and how much from the highly fallible shells we clothe it in. I’m not even sure how much of our own personalities remain the same once we drop these temporary spacesuits we put on so that we can breathe the Earth’s atmosphere, in fact.

How much of it is due to physical brain wiring, or the condition of our bodies – and how much to the intrinsic nature of our souls? I’m really not sure. I guess we won’t find out until later!

But it’s something to think about, and a reason to be gentle with ourselves when we are not perfect for whatever reason. Realizing this, my strategy has become to keep myself in the best possible physical condition, knowing that it will be easier for me to treat others the way my soul really wants to.

And with that in mind, I think I’ll go meditate now! 🙂

Karly January 17, 2013 at 6:09 pm

I’m also up at the ungodly hour of 5:30 am… I work midnights, LOL. I’ll send you some coffee telepathically 😀

Seriously though, a few weeks ago, one of those “ugly” parts of me showed itself. It hasn’t in years, because I’m usually the calm, level-headed person in the situation… but man, did I blow up horribly. I kept saying to my significant other, “this isn’t me, you know that”. But now, I realize that it actually IS me- I’ve just learned how to control my temper over the years! It definitely scared me, and I’m pretty sure it scared the hell out him too. A few days later, I came to terms with it and we both brushed it off- however, it’s something I won’t forget. I just have to accept that I am who I am, including my bad qualities. After all, there is not a perfect soul on this earth. As you said, some may try and pull the “everything is always great” mentality off, but I’ve found it’s always because they don’t want to come to terms with the things they’re dealing with, or they’re just trying to save face. It would make it easier on these people if they’d just embrace these things- I’ve learned the faster you accept something, the faster you can begin to heal, begin to change it, etc.

P.S. I used to work with dogs, for almost four years… what Patti said is right. Once a dog sees you’re “not paying attention” to them anymore, it makes them totally wonder… hey, what’s going on!? Every dog wants near constant attention… that’s why I have a cat 😉

Christina January 17, 2013 at 7:29 pm

Hi Lindsay,

I too have had moments where I’ve yelled at my dog and moments later feel absolutely terrible and guilty for having chosen her as the brunt of my anger. Especially when after the anger display, she’s still wagging her tail at me and her gorgeous amber eyes are looking at me as if I haven’t done anything wrong. That unconditional love – melts my heart every time.

I too have wrestled with the shadow side of myself and I agree that to be human means having both a light and dark side. What I’ve come to understand now is that emotions are actually a support for us, a signal from our soul, and the type of emotion we are experiencing, especially the ones we normally tend to view as negative such as anger or sadness is an indicator for what is going on within us and what issues need to be paid attention to.

Having awareness of the emotion we are experiencing in the moment is vital. Understand where it is coming from, which may then open the way for healing to occur. Ignoring it and pushing it to one side, feeling guilty without understanding the message our emotion is giving us is a guarantee that you will probably have a future and more spectacular display of emotion, and even worse, you may end up directing it towards people who may not be as understanding as your pets.

I realise now that the anger I directed towards my dog was not because of her naughty antics. It was about me and about whatever was simmering below the surface. My dog’s antics simply blew the lid off.

Thank you so much for your message and I think pets rule!

Annette January 18, 2013 at 6:11 am

Hi Lindsay,
I have known these feeling so well for many years – the rage inside at times, the guilt after giving voice to it and all this. What I learned is: It happens so we learn to LOVE OURSELVES. We’re all learning this, consiously or unconsciously. And have lots of help along the way – from pets, from people… It’s meant to happen so we can accept and love ourselves more when it happens, not less. And make some useful changes along the way, make decisions and the like. Not because we judge ourselves, but because we love ourselves. Just a little bit more every time we woul normally judge ourselves will go a long way.
We’re all in this. Some admit it and some don’t:)

Anne McCarroll January 18, 2013 at 9:00 am

It is a wonderful thing when you write articles like this that not only help you and the reader but uncover facets of your soul that, while many would shove under the rug, you’ve highlighted and shown that every part of us reveals truth which then points to a beautiful soul, evolving. Funny how we learn so much from those who ‘say’ nothing. 😉

Ayla January 18, 2013 at 11:32 am

I loved today’s post. I have to say though that I’ve really not had a problem like this with my pets–they are the best behaved children I have. It is my children who can take credit for bringing out the worst in me. There are things I’ve said and done that I didn’t know I was capable of–both good and bad, and they were things I couldn’t begin to fathom before I became a mother. Is it empowering to embrace your demons? I would have to say YES, because it’s exhausting, frankly, to try and put on an “everything is perfect” show all the time. (I would suspect many parents out there also can relate to this type of exhaustion!) Besides, I think it’s too confusing for both the children and the pets of going from that “evil entity possessed” state to June Cleaver. If you are able to embrace that you are Yin and Yang: that you have weaknesses and strengths, virtues and faults, and can just be real about it, then your life will feel more consistent. Consistently chaotic, maybe, but by venting now and then, you’re letting the pressure off incrementally, rather than letting it increase to the point of explosion or something. Your kids and whomever you cohabitate and deal with see that it’s not only normal to be somewhat multi-faceted this way, but also healthy, and in turn they learn to be their authentic selves, too. As to what society thinks about this (you know how others often like to hypocritically pass judgement)–well, it’s really not important, and in truth many might be secretly envious that you had the courage to let the world see who you are, “warts and all”. We are all princes/princesses and frogs, and it’s quite all right.
Solo might well sense that another little one is on the way, and is dealing with that in his own way. I wish you all the best with your family. Blessings!

Amanda K February 6, 2013 at 3:13 pm

I follow you on Tumblr, and somehow came upon this blog today. I just wanted to tell you that I absolutely needed to read this today. Beautiful.
I am generally not a “yeller”, and not an angry person by nature, but I do have it in me, and I feel very guilty every time it shows.
A couple of weeks ago, I yelled at my almost-3 year old…and for something totally silly…something I would normally laugh at. Why? I’m still asking myself that. I still have feelings of guilt.
Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that your post has helped me work through some of the emotions. To realize this dark side is still a part of me, albeit a part I need to control.
Oh, and I totally feel for you, being outside in the cold, at 5:30am, chasing a puppy, while pregnant. I’m originally from Canada, but living in a warm climate now…BUT my puppy does this to me all. the. time. I usually just walk (or run) away from him and he comes after me (he’s also my shadow puppy), but I frequently am terrified he’ll be hit by a car (he’s the stupidest dog I’ve ever met when it comes to realizing the danger of cars….my big dog moves out of the way…my chihuahua stands there waiting for the car to get out of HIS way). Oh, and we are looking for a new rental house with a fenced yard to avoid this frequent scare (we normally take him out for potty breaks on leash, but he sometimes sneaks out when visitors come in).
Sorry to get off topic. And once again, Thank You.

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