In our animal radio show, Pets Teach Us So Much, our Love Genies segment covered the touchy topic of setting boundaries. Here is a summary of the conversation…
Boundaries-Pee on the trees and be happy
What’s that old saying about insanity…”The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.”
Yup. We can all chuckle to ourselves, as we know we have been, by definition, insane at one point or another.
One of the issues that arise around our personal insanities and frustrations many times stems from our lack of boundaries.
How many times have you wished your relatives didn’t pry into your personal life or your neighbor didn’t continually knock on your door to borrow eggs, milk, bread etc.
Or perhaps you wish your pet didn’t always jump up and down at feeding time or meow on your head at 5:00 AM to be fed.
Well, guess what? We have trained negative behavior into all of these people and animals.
Somehow, we are enabling and reinforcing all of these bad behaviors that drive us to the edge of our wits and well-being.
For example, if your Mom says, “Why do you always buy skim milk instead of whole milk? You know I like whole milk better!” Some how, you have programmed in that a response such as this is one, is OK. Well guess what? It’s time to get real, draw boundaries, pee on the trees, scratch in the cat box and stop the insanity.
These boundary skippers need to be stopped and you are the only person who can do it. Stop keeping the peace and start keeping your sanity and stress down.
If a complainy, comment such as the one above was stated at coffee time, one response might be, “Mom, we love when you come to visit, but there are 5 people that live here and they all drink skim milk. When you stop by unannounced, we can run out to the store. We have powder creamer here if you prefer or call a few days in advance if you would like to stop by.” Pee on the tree and let her know it’s not OK, but start with a positive.
Joe is great at starting with a positive before redirecting behaviors. Compliment the person or pet first, then suggest alternative behavior with people. I know this is weird, but we have found it works with our pets too.
When correcting Philomena’s jumping, we always make sure we connect with her before redirecting her behavior. For example, “Philomena is a good girl. Get in your bed and lay down. Stay like a good girl.” It works better when you are in a positive frame of mind and not freaking out.
Ultimately, if you pee on the trees, you can set the behavioral expectations and preserve your sanity!
To listen to this discussion, access episode 79.
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