a leash, a couch and trust issues.

Imag­ine you have a dog. Your favourite breed of all. A beau­ti­ful, cute, play­ful dog who is well-behaved and lis­tens to you.
It´s spring time and the sun is final­ly com­ing out again. A beau­ti­ful warm day and you decide to go to this huge park your dog loves so much.
You get there, you tell your dog to sit, and you gen­tly take off his leash.
Your dog waits for your com­mand and as soon as you give him a „go“, he runs off into the wide green open space in front you.

Even as a non dog-own­er, I can imag­ine how see­ing your dog run­ning through a field must feel like.
Free, con­tent, and so joy­ful in this moment. Just by watch­ing your dog hav­ing the time of his life, like he´s run­ning for the first time, you feel the same.

How­ev­er, doing so requires a good amount of trust. You wouldn´t take off his leash if you doubt­ed he´ll come back to you again. With­out train­ing him before­hand you wouldn´t be able to let him expe­ri­ence this kind of free­dom and play­time with oth­er dogs. He might take off, won´t stop play­ing (or fight­ing) with oth­er dogs, or even bite a run­ner pass­ing by.

But.. you invest­ed this time in him and in you. To cre­ate a bond that is strong and safe for both of you to expe­ri­ence those bliss­ful moments.
He can have a so much bet­ter life­qual­i­ty – thanks to you.
Thanks to your will­ing­ness to dis­ci­pline your dog, you can let him go and not fear he might dis­ap­pear.

You can count on him and he can count on you. (awwww).

And you?

Can you count on you?

Or in oth­er words:

How well-trained is your dog?

And yes you do have one.

Not the one you just imag­ined.

But the one in your mind that likes to do all kind of stu­pid stuff.
Just like a dog, we have needs and urges we pref­ere­bly don´t wan­na fight against.
We are pulled to sit on the couch, when we know we should work out, we are pulled to eat piz­za, when we know a green plate will make us feel bet­ter and we are pulled to scroll over instra­gram for the hun­dreds time, when we know we should con­tin­ue to work on our project.
Basi­cal­ly we wan­na sleep, eat and have fun, just like dog.
It´s easy and com­fort­able and requires no effort.
But we also know that in the long-term it makes us feel mis­er­able, deplet­ed and depressed.

With a mis­be­haved dog you won´t be able to take off the leash and his muz­zle.
You sim­ply can­not con­trol his behav­iour with­out that restric­tion.
Just like peo­ple. Some need to keep all the choco­late cook­ies out of the house, because they can­not be trust­ed with them.

Our needs and wants can turn into crav­ings that do what­ev­er it takes to sat­is­fy them – so we basi­cal­ly run away from our­selves to go get that „thing“.

How can we pos­si­bly trust our­selves, if call­ing us back rarely works?

And to ask fur­ther…

If I can´t trust myself, how am I ever able to let myself go after any­thing? With­out a cer­tain lev­el of self-trust how am I ever able to DO any­thing?
I wouldn´t be able to get into my car, start the engine and dri­ve 120km/h shar­ing the same road with hun­dreds of oth­er dri­vers.
I wouldn´t even be able to cut my veg­eta­bles in small pieces to make a deli­cious din­ner for myself.

Think about it, you do all the things you do dai­ly because you bring a cer­tain lev­el of self-trust into the per­for­mance. I mean you trust your­self that you won´t cut your fin­gers while cut­ting those you?

On the oth­er hand, you could ask your­self..

What am I NOT doing, because I don´t trust myself?
What am I miss­ing out in life because of my lack of self-trust?
Maybe you don´t start that busi­ness or project because you don´t trust in your own capa­bil­i­ties.
Maybe you don´t ask your boss for a raise, because you can´t trust your lev­el of con­fi­dence to stand up for your­self.
Maybe you don´t enter that rela­tion­ship because you can´t even com­mit to your­self.
Maybe you don´t join that hip hop class, because you don´t trust in your abil­i­ty to con­nect with oth­ers. (It´s most­ly not about the activ­i­ty itself, but rather the social aspect – „will I be accept­ed by the tribe?“).

It is safe to say that in order to expe­ri­ence all of that, we need to build a cer­tain lev­el of trust with­in our­selves.
Often­times, by just doing it and fig­ur­ing it out on the way we learn to trust our­selves more and more.

BUT, as dogs, we learn and build trust through rep­e­ti­tion.
And repi­ti­tion requires a cer­tain lev­el of com­mit­ment and dis­ci­pline.

We need to cre­ate rou­tines and habits so that the new behav­iour becomes sec­ond nature.
We basi­cal­ly need to train our mind to lis­ten to us, to fol­low our com­mand.
Just as we would train our dog to do so.

Who doesn´t have that voice that con­stant­ly tells you to eat health­i­er, to work out, to work on that project, to have this dif­fi­cult con­ver­sa­tion, to read that book, to start that cook­ing class, etc. etc.
But you don´t, or you start and stop. Or you kin­da do it, but not real­ly, just to trick your­self that you are not that big of a los­er..

We wan­na run away from that voice in the back of our mind – just like a dog who keeps run­ning away and doesn´t care if his own­er screams his name for the hun­dreds time. Why?

Because he has no respect for him. He learned that he gets away with it. Noth­ing real bad hap­pened so far, so why not con­tin­ue have fun?

And we trained our­selves the same way. We don´t keep our word. We com­mit­ted our­selves to do smth, but didn´t fol­low through. We´ve told our­selves not to do some­thing, but did it any­way, with­out real­iz­ing that we are pro­gram­ming our­selves with a belief that life goes on with­out any real bad con­se­quences – you know..that ugly „grey zone“, where it´s uncom­fort­able, but not uncom­fort­able aka painful enough to actu­al­ly make that change..

We are lit­er­al­ly rebelling against our own self-inter­est. We are reject­ing what is actu­al­ly sup­port­ing our self-esteem and self-trust.

The result?

We lose self-respect. And that can be hard to admit.
Because we know how shit­ty that feels to not be respect­ed by oth­ers.
But turn­ing our own back against our our­selves? That´s like we make us to our own worst ene­my..

So how do we actu­al­ly start keep­ing those promis­es we tell our­selves…
How do we cre­ate an envi­ron­ment where our dog aka our inner rebel, actu­al­ly can run and have the time of his life, but also lis­tens and obeys as soon as we – the own­er – call him.

Basi­cal­ly it requires two things: hon­esty and discipline/commitment.

We need to get real­ly fuck­ing hon­est with our­selves…
What´s impor­tant to us, what do we want to achieve, how do we wan­na feel and what kind of per­son do we actu­al­ly want to become?

And with that we cre­ate struc­ture and a set of rules and rou­tines in order to achieve that new state or goal.
And since dogs, as we know, just wan­na eat, sleep and play all day, the leash comes in very handy.. espe­cial­ly in the begin­ning.

Because he will try to escape.. the world is too tempt­ing.
So.. KNOW his (your) trig­gers.

Train­ing means you have to take your­self on the leash and pull your­self back from doing things you don´t wan­na do. But it also means tak­ing your­self to places, activ­i­ties and peo­ple you do want to expe­ri­ence. Some­times you just got­ta pull your­self into the right direc­tion with that fuck­ing leash.

However…a dog does pull as well.

In his direc­tion.

And it can be exhaust­ing to con­stant­ly pull against your dogs own will, when he just won´t calm down.
Some­times it´s best to just take off the leash and let him do what­ev­er he so bad­ly wants to do.
No scream­ing, no run­ning after him.
Even­tu­al­ly he will come back stinky and full of dirt, hap­py to be tak­en care of again.

Let­ting go means los­ing con­trol, which can be an extreme­ly scary thing to do. You don´t know if things will work out. It´s learn­ing to trust, when you sim­ply don´t have trust.

When you stop resist­ing that pull (that voice), you give your­self per­mis­sion to trust your­self again.
It´s this, „I trust you when you trust me thing“.

Train­ing is hard work. You got­ta be strict and bru­tal­ly hon­est, but also let go and not for­get to reward yourself,…oh well.

Point is:
Through train­ing we learn to keep our­selves account­able – in oth­er words, we learn to stay true to what we said we would do or not do.
Only then do we start to build self-trust again and actu­al­ly gain back that respect for our­selves.

And the moment we can trust our­selves again, is the moment we can safe­ly take off that leash and run into the wide open space of free­dom and pos­si­bil­i­ties, with­out that noice in the back scream­ing and demand­ing all kinds of things of us.
The dog has proven over and over again that he does what we say. Now we trust him. And in turn, the free­dom we give him is the best thing he could ever ask for.

We can only grasp what´s on the oth­er side of dis­ci­pline and dis­com­fort.
It´s not an easy train­ing to go through.

But would you rather live life for­ev­er on a leash, drag­ging your own­er uncon­trol­lably around try­ing to taste life as much as pos­si­ble, while hav­ing that con­stant scream­ing voice in your ears?


train. and unleash the [read dog back­wards] with­in you.

Or buy one.

Every time you ask him how you look, he´ll say „WAU!“

and some­times that´s all you need to hear.

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