Did you know that often it has more to do with what’s going on with you than with them?
They do what they can to keep you and your family in balance.
A few years ago someone asked me to use my Animal Communication skills to find out why her dog wouldn’t eat. She’d already had him to the vet (an important initial step) and knew it wasn’t a physical issue.
As I tuned in I got that his hesitancy to eat was somehow related to her (his owner). He was feeling her stress and anxiety which got the ball rolling, and then her stress around his not eating just made the situation worse.
I can’t remember all the details anymore but she was also trying to get him to eat certain things … things that were good for him, but ultimately I got a sense of her being a little obsessive about his food.
As I relayed this information to her, gently suggesting she not be so rigid about his diet because her anxiety about his food and his eating was actually a big part of the issue, she “happened to mention” to me that she was in the throes of an eating disorder. OMG!!!
In this situation, not only was her dog picking up her own issue around food, but also her anxiety around his food plus her anxiety in general. It doesn’t always happen that they act out in the same area of life where we’re having our issues (in this case, food), but this example was just too perfect not to share.
Even when the connection is as obvious as this, we sometimes don’t notice because our issues are not the first thing we think about when our pets have issues. In this example, even with the symptoms being so similar, it didn’t even occur to her that they even might be related until after we’d talked.
Our Pets Act Out Our Anxieties
Any anxiety you’re experiencing will be sensed by your pet and if it’s strong enough, they will begin to act it out.
Anxiety Not Related to Your Pet
In most cases our pets are acting out our stresses that don’t even have anything to do with them.
Maybe you’re worried about financial issues, health issues (your pets often match your symptoms almost exactly), or you’re just out of balance.
These things will definitely affect your pet.
Often they just help us process these things and are no worse for it. In fact that’s a supportive thing we all do for each other in general as part of a social unit. Just like a mobile, we all do our part to keep our family in balance, and our pets are very much a part of that dynamic.
But if it’s intense or prolonged, they’ll begin to show signs in their behavior or their own health.
Anxiety Related to Your Pet
Sometimes they act out anxiety that is related to them.
When it’s because of something they’re doing, it can create kind a mad cycle if what they’re doing is originally related to your anxiety. It just gets worse and worse until you stop the hamster wheel.
But often it’s simply something you’re concerned about because you love them so much and you want them to be happy all the time. (See, I have pets, I know!)
Like you’re going to board them and you don’t want them to be bored (interesting pun, don’t you think?), so you worry.
Or you’ll be traveling and you think they might miss you, so you worry.
Or they’re limping a little bit all of a sudden, so you worry.
Essentially, you have to stop that!
Easier said than done, I know.
What to Do Instead of Worry
First, just reading this and being aware is going to go a long way toward preventing or correcting this situation.
But here are a few ideas for when you see them acting out or even suspect it’s happening.
Better yet, doing these things as a matter of course will prevent your pets from needing to act out your anxiety to begin with.
1. Take care of yourself
If you’ve got deep, ongoing issues of some kind, try to make sure you don’t keep pushing them into the background. Do what you can about them now. What that might be is beyond the scope of this particular blog, but you know what I’m saying.
As in my example with the eating disorder, there can be things like addiction, depression, a bad marriage, a job you hate, etc. that can easily be affecting your pets. Please take care of yourself and they will benefit as well.
This goes for ongoing, serious things and passing issues as well.
2. Take it lightly
As to things related to your pet, be aware that they are very likely to reflect your attitude right back at you.
Are you a parent? Remember when your child took their first few steps, and landed *plop* right on their butt? You find out quickly that if you gasp and panic and run over to soothe them, they quickly pick up that it’s a scary thing and start to cry every time they fall. But if you make a surprised, fun face and say something like “Go boom!” and laugh like it’s fun, they’ll soon be laughing each time and scrambling up to do it again.
It’s the same with our pets, and using this little trick works in all kinds of situations.
3. Be optimistic
Once, during a turbulent flight, my young son and I were both getting nervous. I talked about how planes handle this all the time, and put on an unconcerned attitude. I was surprised to learn that pretending to be brave for his sake not only calmed him, but it had the wonderful side effect of actually allaying my fears too! Soon, I didn’t even have to pretend. And guess what? There was nothing to be nervous about!
Again, just like with our children, this dynamic works with our pets too.
So even if it’s something that might have a difficult outcome, you have a choice. You can make a conscious decision to focus on the positive. New or tentative situations can be an adventure rather than a threat. If and when difficulty actually develops, you can always deal with that then.
In the meantime, keep in your mind that right now all is well.
(If you’re familiar with the Law of Attraction you’ll recognize this as also being a way to help assure a good outcome, and you probably practice this already anyway.)
4. Remember your positive motivation and goals
If you find yourself anxious or concerned about an upcoming activity, remember that you’re doing it for a positive reason.
What is that reason? Keep it in the forefront of your mind.
This is important for personal situations but especially those related to our pets.
For example, your pet needs to go to the vet. We can think about how scared they’ll be when they have to ride in the car (ya right — this is cats, not dogs ;-)), get examined, get a shot, etc.
But better yet, we can think about how lucky we are to have good vet care, their ears (or whatever reason they’re going for) will feel better, the vet is doing this for them not to them, etc. Even if it’s for euthanasia, they will be relieved of their pain and can fly free, etc.
Or if you’re going to board them, instead of worrying that they will miss you or that they’ll be bored, think about how safe and protected they are in a nice warm building with regular meals and that cozy blanket you left with them.
There’s always a positive or you wouldn’t be doing it. So stay focused on that.
All that said, it’s important to also remember that animals are sovereign creatures just as we are. They have their reasons for being here, they are strong and magnificent beings, and they deserve to be able to grow through challenges just like we do. It helps all of us when we honor that. We can’t and perhaps shouldn’t try to protect them from everything.
5. Deliberately communicate positive ideas to them
If you haven’t already, you may want to develop the basic skill outlined in my first article of this series “The Very First Step in Communicating With Your Pet“. It gives a simple way to communicate telepathically with them so you have proof and confidence that your pets really are connected intimately with your inner goings-on.
If you commit to practicing it even a little, it pays off in the long run with greater peace of mind for you and like we’ve discussed here, with your pet’s peace of mind as a result of yours.
There are more things you can do that help you be at peace in relation to your pet, for example, touching in with them when you’re separated. But these things are skills (and articles) in themselves, and we’ll cover them and more in later articles in this Animal Communication series about how to connect more consciously with animals.
For now, the idea that you affect your pet profoundly is an important concept to be aware of and revisit often. The suggestions I’ve given are good skills to practice for the duration of your relationship with your pet.
Do you have any examples of when you were mirrored by your pet, or others by theirs? Were you/they aware of it at the time? If so, what did you/they do about it?