life, thoughts


Fairness happens voluntarily. It never happens by control. People have to be free to make mistakes and learn from them. Otherwise, the system is not open and growth is not possible.” ~ Paul Ferrini, I am the Door.

I’m trying to get back to a regular schedule of posting with an inspirational quote on Fridays and a philosophical post on or around Tuesday. In some of the upcoming posts, I’ll be discussing quotes from the person I quoted above. I’m a huge fan of his philosophy which combines psychology with spirituality. I used those aspects in my yet-to-be-published fictional story and quoted him on my blog several times.

We welcomed a new pup (Tre) to our home last June. He’s been more of a challenge than my last two dogs, so it’s been a little tough.

Just that simple sentence I’ve written above has received chastisement from some dog-people. Why?

Let me see if I can explain and tie my experience into the quote I cited.

Here is an exact demand I’ve received from dog-people, “Stop comparing him to your other dogs.”

Imagine that comment with a snide attitude.

You see, not only are we being told what to do with our health choices all over the world, but I’m being told how to think about my dogs.

I tried to comply with that message for Tre, thinking it might be beneficial in some way. Then I realized, my only knowledge about training dogs is what worked for me before. I’d be more than willing to try some new tactics if offered, but telling me what not to do isn’t helpful.

To be clear, this post is NOT about my dog or anything pertaining to dogs. It’s an example for a deeper message.

These days, I’m appalled at the hubris of those who tell others what to do as if they know what’s best for someone else. If something worked for them, everyone should do it because we’re all uniform, right? 

You might say they’re just trying to help. However, on the grand scope of things, it’s really about them wanting things to be “fair.” If they do it, then everyone else should have to do it.

Of course, I’m open to new things. But I’m NOT open to demands or orders. I’m even less likely to comply if I’m threatened or bullied about doing something I don’t want to do.

I do much better when I follow my own instincts than when I do what others tell me to do.

Is it possible that most people are born knowing what to do, instinctually? Of course, as children we need guidance to decipher right from wrong. As adults, when we’ve made a mistake, many of us know it was wrong by how it feels in our guts (this is shown in the story of my two characters in “Whit’s End.”

As for me, my wrong decisions occurred when I denied my own instincts. I’d like the right to learn those lessons on my own and not have someone order me what to do. It goes against my very nature.

It goes against human nature.

Many people will take suggestions if they think those suggestions might help. But if it doesn’t help, why in the world would any of us keeping doing it?

Why do some addicts need to hit bottom before they can find sobriety? It takes some people more wakeup calls than others, because we are each uniquely made. As in Paul Ferrini’s quote at the top of this article, if we aren’t free to make mistakes, personal growth is not possible.

No matter how many are willing to comply and lose their freedom because they believe it’s for the greater good, it will never work. Instinctually we know doing something that doesn’t work over and over again and expecting different results is insane.

The human spirit strives to be free, and with the freedom to make discoveries on our own, solutions can be found. 

Coming full circle back to our dog, we’ve tried many different options, some have worked, some have not. And so we continue to learn.


8 thoughts on “Instinctual”

  1. Yikes. We humans always compare to our previous experiences, even if we don’t immediately recognise that we’re doing it. Why is it that the human urge to compare is automatically seen as negative? Vehicles, haircuts, pizzas, and yes, dogs and everything else. I’ve had many dogs, and I inevitably compare them. I love to think of them and all the ways they were similar and different – such good memories.

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    1. It’s everywhere these days, Lynette. It seems that nowadays people feel more embolden to tell people what to do or what they think. It’s not just people behind the anonymity of the internet either. These are dog-people whom I’ve talked to in person. And yes, comparing is also a way of keeping memories alive. I sure do miss my other two boys.
      Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

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  2. There’s a difference between offering advice or suggestions, and telling someone what they should do. I would take offence at someone telling me not to compare my present dog to my previous dogs. I always compare and contrast their similarities and differences. Nothing wrong with that. And then I have to deal with the dog I have in the best way possible, and sometimes it’s helpful to know what worked before and what didn’t, and I need to allow that they have different personalities and the results of my “training for them” might have different results.
    I know you had your hands full with Tre, but I know how it is to get attached to an animal and not give up easily. I think you’ve done well with the challenge, so keep up the good work.

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    1. It’s good to see that my annoyance with being told not to compare isn’t unusual, Anneli. It’s coming from all directions these days, not just with dogs. People seem to think they have permission these days to order others around without consequence. I think it’ll all even out eventually.

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    1. I think you’re right, Kate. It does seem it’s always been there, but it seems they have more permission to tell us what to do without consequence. I think it’ll all even out eventually.

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