Reframing Your Response




It is easy to feel frustrated or resentful towards people you believe are judging you and your dog. But your stress can also negatively affect your dog. One way to shift your mindset is to use a simple game called Three Accounts.

When something happens you automatically attach meaning to it and this determines how you feel. 
If your friend tells you they will call later and they don’t, you might believe there is a negative reason. You don’t matter. They have forgotten you. You have offended them. Each of these meanings will make you feel sad, angry or frustrated. 

But what if you knew they had an emergency or were feeling unwell? Perhaps then the same event would cause you to feel sympathy or concern.

In the Three Accounts Game you come up with three different stories for any event that happens.

For example, imagine somebody looks at you when your dog is pulling or barking. What meaning do you give to that event? Perhaps you think they are judging you. That they’re looking at you and thinking you can’t control your dog. You may start to feel shame or embarrassment.

Now think of three alternative meanings. Perhaps they are a dog lover and are looking to see what dog you have. Perhaps they have a dog who overreacts sometimes and they are admiring your handling skills.

Perhaps their look really is judgemental, but they have never lived with a dog like this and are unaware of the challenges or they are simply having a bad day.

All of these meanings would result in you feeling more positive about the event.

It is important to remember that this is not about finding the true meaning. After all, you have no way of really knowing what is behind someone else’s behaviour. But when you remind yourself that there are always multiple ways to interpret any situation, you can choose a meaning that helps you shift your emotions into a positive space.

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