Human Behavior Flows From 3 Main Sources - Emotion, Desire, and Knowledge.
Pre P.S. - Artem had some personal stuff going on this week he needed to attend to so I was on my own for this weeks show. We have a great topic planned (muzzles) for our next live show but this week, as Artem suggested, I freestyled.
Emotions vs Rational Thinking
Our mind is extremely powerful and skillful in directing our behavior, both for things that are good for us and and things that aren’t. Thanks to our mind, we perform various rational thought processes as well as feel extraordinarily powerful forces called emotions.
What are emotions?
How do emotions affect our daily relationships with our dogs?
Emotion is defined as - “movements or impulses.” Emotions are responses to significant internal and external events. Emotions create action.
Without proper balance, emotions can lead to a distorted perception of reality. But emotions are not prancing, runaway horses that we should “take the reins of.” Emotions make us who we are as human beings. They help give meaning to our world. They do not have to be “eradicated,” denied, or undervalued.
Quite the contrary: being able to feel is a great part of being human. Only on the basis of emotions can love, sacrifice, big dreams and great deeds be built. However, this does not mean that we can or should leave those emotions in a “raw” state. We should never settle for experiencing them without reflecting upon them.
We achieve balance when we are able to be attentive of what we feel, not in order to defend it, but for the purpose of channeling those same emotions so that they will be beneficial and useful. That means that if you want to touch your dog, for example, the best option is to recognize it and try to understand why. Does it have any long term side effects? We should explore these emotional moments and turn them into a force that will play in our favor. Artem and I went deep on this specific topic in a previous episode (here’s the link in case you missed it.)
Emotions influence us more than reason because they are found within a more primitive and deeper part of our brain. They are at the basis of everything we are. Reason is like a chisel with which you can polish your emotions in order to pacify them in order to allow them to help us lead a better life.
In the last year, I’ve had the honor to visit first hand dozens of different animal welfare organizations. I have talked with 100s of owners and dog professionals, sat down with shelter staff and volunteers, and witnessed firsthand a lot of humans using emotion to justify decisions in the best interest of animals.
“What is powerful about emotions is they cause action.” — Psychology Today
We can’t deny that emotions prompt action. When we see a dog that needs our help, a cat that needs a short term foster, and feel that emotional pull at our heart strings it creates action. But rational thinking helps us make a knowledgeable decision to that impulse to help. It’s the chisel.
So is action without knowledge a good thing?
I don’t think so. Many animals become homeless, stay homeless, and suffer because people are unaware how their human emotions are effecting their choices. Rationalizing action without the ability to go on that inward journey to explore our emotional stability can do more damage than good to help the animals in our care.
I have found over years of experience, dogs are a truthful internal barometer to human’s emotional stability kinda like a living breathing thinking Rorschach test. They always help me determine what is story and what is reality. I made a t-shirt that echos that truth.
It’s important to separate our feelings from reality. As my friend Ally says, feelings are not facts. People who struggle emotionally have to realize they are having a conversation with their animals in their own head and filling in the answers themselves regardless of what their dog’s truth would be.
While visiting with people over the past 12 years, it is with high frequency, I find, that the lack of awareness to their own emotional needs is causing a humans own frustrations and stress. I will often here people say “I know this is bad” yet continue to do what THEY need in the moment for what could cause pain to them later. It never surprises me what people rationalize, ignore, or refuse to accept as the cause of their problems.
So what changes can we make?
What I believe could help dogs everywhere.
The results of acting emotionally vs acting consciously?
That’s what this week’s talk is all about. Experiences from over a decade of rehabbing humans and dogs along with stories and lessons from all my travels across the US.
I’d love to hear your takeaways after watching the video.
Here is the link to this weeks live show.
Head Rubs and belly scratches.