Monday, January 5, 2015

Give yourself permission to throw out that which no longer works...

Something occurred to me as I was folding one of our horridly tattered kitchen towel this morning. I continually say I will replace that old towel. I say it to myself, and I say it out loud to the Mr. if he's around. We both see the ridiculousness of that once useful cloth, now an ugly and inconvenient excuse for a soaker-upper. We are both annoyed by it's ruggedness, it's multitude of strings, holes, and stains. Good towels are a necessary utility for eco friendly kitchen success! Several of our towels look like this as we enter a season of "married long enough the wedding gifts are expiring." Yeah, that's right... we've been married thirteen years and the microwave is probably the next to go.

But back to my story...

Staring at that towel today I realized that it won't be until I actually THROW. IT. OUT. that I will be forced to replace it. If I don't have a towel at all, I will make it a priority to find a suitable solution to our kitchen needs. I won't be able to keep tucking that towel far in the back of the drawer, only to be forced to pull it out (in front of company!) when there are no other options toward the draw's front. I won't be able to keep telling myself "it's still SORT OF a piece of fabric that KIND OF does the job." Why do we do that?

Ahhh, but it's that delightful old friend called Guilt. Financial guilt. Failure guilt. Self-worth guilt. Embarrassed guilt. Wastefulness guilt. (But that wastefulness one doesn't fit with the correlation I'm trying to make, so just pretend you didn't hear that one.)

Anyway, resolving behavioral issues and finding successful training tools is often like confronting a ratty old towel. If your tools aren't working, are full of "holes," and you're embarrassed at their results, then why continue to live with and accept the "less" that they provide?

Maybe they worked once. Perhaps at one time or with that one dog.

Perhaps they work for someone else and you're thinking, "that should work for my dog too." Sure, my kitchen rag would be great for a car mechanic to soak up oil with. It's perfect for a plumber who wants to plug a whole in a pipe until he returns the next day to finish the sink installation. My kitchen towel would make great stuffing for a plush toy or packing box full of breakables. "Ratty McTowelerson" is not at all useful as a kitchen towel anymore, however, and Oprah wouldn't go near it. Martha Stewart would burn it, and Rachel Ray would just laugh at it before turning it into a tug toy for her beloved dog. I want a shiny new towel, fresh and useful. A TOOL that does the job, doesn't force me to take extra steps or work harder to complete my task. The towel that I DESERVE. You can have that in your dog training life. You can claim that worth and value as YOURS. You can expect a solution that really works and know that it is not at all unreasonable, nor is it allowed to make you feel any guilt at all. Wouldn't that be nice?

I threw my ratty old towel away. I gave myself permission to buy new towels, pretty ones even. Give yourself permission to throw out that old routine that frustrates, embarrasses, annoys, and fails to help you reach your goals. If you finally ditch it, you'll be forced to find something that really WORKS. It's a very freeing feeling, trust me.

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