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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