I was reading some comments from Mary on her blog in relation to her post ‘Thinking of Dogs’ that I have found very helpful for my own personal self reflection*.
Comment from Amanda on ‘Thinking of Dog’s’ Post:
Mary How decptively simple this advice is. Mostly I rush through reading valuable information to get to the next thing that might help me instead of lingering over what I’ve already heard, feeling where it might apply to my own life (I resist that a lot) and miss out on the opportunity for personal change. That becomes very wearisome eventually and thank God for that.
Response to Amanda’s comment from Mary:
“I’ve found it useful to begin to consider my fears from the perspective of truth and this post is kind of an encouraging word for others to do the same.
When we are stuck in fear we justify its existence and never stop to challenge our fear-based beliefs with truth. We believe we are rational in our irrationality.
‘Thinking of Dogs’ is my way of saying ‘let me consider how I would feel about this situation or this relationship if I didn’t have fear’. I do it often. I’ve found that it’s helped me to get a grip and to strengthen my faith enough to begin to challenge my fears.
Its amazing to do this ‘what if fear wasn’t driving me here?’ exercise and to recognise what a contrast there is between what I’ve been doing and what I would actually do if I wasn’t justifying my fear.
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Conversation between Mary and Shannon about fear, how it affects us as kids & dogs: (in comments section on same post)
Response from Mary to comment:
“Its funny I was also raised with the message (and experience) that animals can sense your fear. As a child I took this to mean that if you show fear around animals they sense a weakness in you and will exploit it (it is extremely predictable that I interpreted the message about animals and fear in this way given that multi-generational injuries on both sides of my family uphold that the emotion of fear IS an actual weakness that will be exploited by other people unless you hide it). But this is not what really goes on when we are afraid around animals.
If you can remember what it was like when you were a kid and both your parents became afraid you know that as parents go into fear all love is withdrawn from their child at that time, their focus is on preventing fear and any positive, loving provisions they had going towards the child and its environment are suddenly gone. As the child in that situation, you usually feel very insecure and unsafe because of this withdrawal of love and the sudden loss of any sense of security the love was providing.
I believe it is the same for animals around us – when humans are afraid of an animal, the animal senses NOT the fear but the LACK OF LOVE and they begin to feel very uncertain about what is going to happen around them. In other words, they sense danger and often they respond in defence – not because they are aggressive but because they suddenly feel insecure in their environment and fearful for themselves. Does that make sense?”
Reply from Shannon:
WOW!! Yes! That very much makes sense. This totally “flips” how I was thinking on this subject…. I was completely focused on my own fear (like a victim), instead of, my own lack of love (with humility). Thank you so much Mary, this is a very very helpful insight!
Reply from Mary:
“Yes, I think two facts are often overlooked by people in fear
1. While we hold onto fear and justify it we are simply NOT ABLE to love in relation to what we fear. In other words, while we fear something we don’t love it.
2. That letting go of our fear is a choice that we have on a moment by moment basis.
So when fear is triggered and we don’t allow ourselves to feel it we are actually making a choice not to love in that moment.
Under those circumstances we shouldn’t be surprised that people and animals around us feel unloved and uneasy.
I know how easy it is to feel like a ‘victim’ of fear but we really do have a choice to let it go. I also know how much I’ve wanted to believe that I can love something or someone while still feeling afraid of them. It really doesn’t work and just isn’t possible.
The good news is that as soon as we do start to let fear go so many things change and we begin to feel more love for others and to receive more love quite easily.
So glad that the feedback helped.
*Thanks Mary, Amanda and Shannon for these conversations!