WAYS TO SUPPORT YOUR ANIMAL EMOTIONALLY
In the interest of being the best guardian possible for your animal, it is important to identify the ways in which you can support your animal emotionally as they navigate the inevitable challenges in life.
Perhaps your animal is struggling to cope emotionally in some situations, resulting in some unwanted behaviours? Perhaps they are fearful and find it hard to adapt to change?
To help them navigate emotional stress, it is vital that you are able to hold space for your animal as well as having an awareness of how you show up for them emotionally. Understanding the emotional dynamic you share with your animal will hold the key to resolving the emotions for you both.
Ways you can emotionally support your animal!
Your animal is here to teach you. Do not direct your anger or frustration towards them. If you do, they will absorb those emotions and mirror them back at you. Release your emotions in a healthy way.
If your animal’s behaviour is creating emotional reactivity within you, ask yourself why this is the case. Your frustration may be with yourself as you feel unable to resolve the situation, or it feels out of your control. Either way, your reactive emotions just add fuel to the fire. The key to releasing emotions related to frustration and reactivity in a healthy way, is to see the patterns within yourself and bring an awareness to your own perceived limitations.
Once you clear this at a personal level, you create a calm and grounded energy to support your animal to work through their emotional reactivity also.
Reward positive behaviours. Create opportunities for your animal to be successful and reward them accordingly. Whether you choose to do this through positive reinforcement training, or through environment enrichment, creating small problems to solve, followed by reward, builds confidence and resilience. Increasing the capacity for your animal to solve problems creates neural pathways that supports new, more positive and successful behaviour patterns.
You can do the same! As you step outside of your comfort zone and try new things, you begin to see how much you are truly capable of. Over time, the small trials and tribulations of life no longer phase you as your resilience enables you to forge a new path.
Animals can have a fear of failure just as humans do. We can help them, and ourselves, by taking small steps outside of our comfort zone every day. We both soon learn as much from our failures as our successes, and that is where true resilience and emotional growth lies.
Have faith that they can, and will, change. Work on believing this and bringing this energy into every interaction with them.
Nothing is permanent. Emotions can, and will resolve. Fears can be released, and frustrations overcome. By believing that change is always possible, our conscious and unconscious mind will keep looking for solutions and answers.
Be open to all possibilities, as the catalyst for change may come from a source previously unknown to you.
Be compassionate. Not only with your animal, but with yourself too. Behaviour problems are often the result of unresolved trauma and require compassion to support your animal into a new way of being. You may sometimes feel like you are making no progress, but you are! Be compassionate with yourself as you hold space for your animal, even in the most trying of circumstances. Trust that you are doing the best that you can at any given moment.
Animals often share the same unhealed trauma as their humans. The expression of this trauma may be different in terms of behaviour, but look deeper. What fears and limiting beliefs do you share with your animal? By releasing your own fears, you hold space for your animal to do the same. Be compassionate with yourself and your animal as you are both on the same journey.
Pay attention. Reflect on how your animal’s behaviour makes you feel. Analysing your response to your animal’s problem behaviour will help you understand the energy you bring to the situation. We are extremely connected to our animals energetically, and therefore emotionally. Sometimes the emotions we are experiencing are actually those of our animal. You may feel their emotions so strongly that you actually perceive them as your own. Being able to connect with the origin of these emotions shines the flashlight onto the unresolved trauma causing the problem, so pay attention!
When you can’t work out in your head the logical approach to helping your animal with their difficult emotions, ‘feel’ your way forward instead. Make small changes and check in with how this feels for you. If it feels better for you, it will feel better for your animal too.
As we support our animals through difficult emotions, with the aim of resolving problem behaviours, we inadvertently address and resolve emotions with ourselves.
We begin to realise that our emotions are reflected in the world we experience, and that there is no separation between ourselves, and our animals. Animals are the greatest teaches, and sometimes we need to lean into the uncomfortable emotions within ourselves to get the answers we need. Together, we navigate the same storm, emerging at the other end, rawer, more vulnerable, yet the most integrated and aligned versions of ourselves.