Thursday, November 24, 2011


I don’t really think she’s going to have a hard time with this homework assignment.  Let’s see…I was disappointed when she didn’t share her stir-fry dinner, when we left the park, and when she stole the crust I found on our walk.  Done.  Disappointed three times…that wasn’t so hard!

Humm…the wise man she pays for advice might have said, “disappoint three people” but then again, if he wasn’t counting me as a person, then he’s not that bright after all.  Still, she may have a bit more work to do this week. 

But I will agree with her.  Disappointment is way worse than anger.  Anger is fleeting. Anger seems justified.  There’s an event, a misstep, a sharp comment that warrants the anger.  It’s because of something she or sometimes even I do.  Example: yesterday at the park some fairy godmother had strewn pound cake all around the base of a tree, clearly a treat for one miss Gracie Joy.  I went to cash in, and my evil mommy pounced on me, dragged me away from my gifts, and then made me sit and say to ponder my disobedience.  I was angry! Well, also disappointed, but more mad.  And then I got over it and she gave me lots of kisses and pats and slices of carrots and all was good. 

But when someone says that they’re disappointed in me, that feels personal.  That’s because of a character flaw, some inherent badness in me and not just because of a behavior.  Hence on the balance sheet, disappointment definitely outweighs anger.  But is it merely a matter of semantics or is there really a difference? Does one say they’re disappointed and another say they’re frustrated and they mean the same thing? Nope, disappointment still feels worse.  It’s a word that’s laden with history and judgment, a global assessment of coming up short.  An in-your-face statement of not being good enough.

Ooh. That’s a big one for her.  Not being good enough.  I’m still not clear on for whom this applies.  She’s good enough for me, although she’d be better if we lived at the park and I could eat whatever I want, but aside from that, for sure good enough.  And yet, there’s this standard of perfection: eternal happiness, banned from crankiness, pleasant and smiley, successful and witty, energetic and accommodating that seems to set the bar insanely high. 

I, on the other hand, am more than good enough.  I look cute, wag my tail, come most often when called, listen occasionally, and am enthusiastic 100% of the time in anticipation of food.  I know sometimes I fall down on my obedience skills, but I also know that doesn’t mean I’m not good enough.  Even my mommy wouldn’t say that.  She says I was distracted, I couldn’t hear her, I was hungry, or I wasn’t feeling well that day.  She always has excuses and justifications for me, but they don’t seem to apply to her. 

How come she doesn’t get to be crabby or tired, sad or angry? I know there are days when she’s distracted, hungry, lost in her own head, and tired but still she doesn’t seem to be able to remember the excuses or reasons why that’s ok.  Instead, she becomes NOT GOOD ENOUGH all around.  Maybe we’ll start small.  Just like training when I used to get a treat just for looking up when she said my name (God I miss those days!), maybe she could practice not being good enough just in that moment instead of globally.  Or even one better, she could just recycle the justifications she uses for me and apply them for her.

See, she doesn’t need to pay someone for advice.  I’ve got all the answers right here.  And for the right treats, I will gladly share my wisdom.

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