Have you ever heard that the qualities that bother you the most in others are actually those that you don’t like about yourself? How about this one; your dog’s behavior reflects your own?

Both of those statements are kind of hard to take and usually get the brush off real quick, especially when the behavior isn’t that cool and you immediately feel a sense of dislike. In fact many times we find ourselves shaking our head and calling someone silently an idiot, sometimes we don’t hold the silence and say it out loud as an automatic reaction.

When it comes to the dog, anxiety or fear aggression of course have nothing to do with you. Nothing. At all.

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to a better understanding of ourselves.” -Carl Jung

Yes, most of the time, behavior that really disturbs us is in fact a reflection of our own behavior. It is a reflection of the things we cannot stand about ourselves, or things that we have never even admitted out loud to ourselves.

For years I have scene the reflection of dogs and their owners and the behavior that is driving the owner crazy. The frustration comes when owners try to change the behavior of the dog without realizing that there is an underlying reason the behavior keeps appearing. It usually is about themselves. It’s usually about a habit.

The other side of that story is people get great success with new behavior in their dog when they realize that a habit needs attention and the that without doing the work, the habit is going to stay the same.

The Note Card Game Naming Idiot Behavior in People and/or Dogs

Recently I’ve started playing a game that has helped me realize so many things about myself. It has started a wonderful healing process and it has helped me react in a whole new way, a much less judgmental way.

I’ve been acutely aware of the reflection owners and dogs have had for years. It is why my job is so easy when it comes to training dogs. The realization that the reflections are really about connections to people, our pets, our things, the picture we hold of ourselves in our minds’ eye.  It has come clear through the work I have done with all of those dogs and their owners.

You may have read this so far and laughed a little to yourself but still are holding on to the fact that you are just simply not a reflection of your loud mouthed co-worker, or sister, or husband, wife, best friend, or ex BFF. The dog’s behavior has nothing to do with your personality, after all the dog is a rescue and came this way. (more on how we attract our friends and dogs in another story)….

Play this game for the next week and see what you learn.

1. Whenever you have a negative thought about someone, even your dog write it on a note card. You may need to put it as a note on your phone app since frequently this happens while out and about. List the person’s (dog’s) name and short description.

Spend some time every day when you have a chance to sit down and think about the incident and list all the things that make that person or dog seem like an idiot, or at least you don’t think is cool to be that way, or in fact is incredibly irritating.

2. Reflect all of the qualities you listed back onto yourself. It is amazing how many of the qualities you write about someone else you actually have yourself. I play the game and quite frankly it blows me away. Things I find awful in someone else I have either played out in my mind, in front of someone else or most certainly in front of my dog.

3. Forgive. Healing does start with forgiving. Once you start playing this game regularly it’s much easier to forgive the person or dog about the way they are. Take the energy you would have used being irritated and put it to work on your own reaction. Honestly how we react even in our own head is what kind of person we are.

*note this is also how we can begin new habits with the dog since their language is different than ours it becomes about pictures and what habits we form become the picture of what they should be doing, taking the attention away from what they shouldn’t be doing. ** another note, the same thing works astoundingly well with people.

The Note Card game is my own version. One of my new blogger friends Tim McAuley wrote his version of this game in one of his articles: Huge mahalo Tim for adding more thoughts to my ever increasing awareness. Tim has written an awesome book all about reflection call It’s All About Me I highly recommend as well. Check out Tim’s website and read his amazing insights.

It is a disturbing to think about when it comes right down to it. That person that really bothers you, you are in fact like. Really? Play the game and find out for yourself. I’ve come to a recent conclusion. We are all in fact connected.

I’m trying to use my connection to reflect as many good things, behaviors, reactions as possible in a day. How about you, where is your attention? Your connection? And are there a lot of “idiots” around you?

Jt Clough lives on the Big Island, Hawaii, and practices health, happiness and natural remedies, while working as a Habits Coach for people looking to live healthier and happier lives.  She is a dog whisperer for our best friends; and studies natural dog remedies, nutrition and communication.  Her latest e-book is How to Swim through Your Fears and Come Out a Champion.


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12 Comments on The Reflection of Dislike

  1. Angela Artemis/Poweredbyintuition
    January 23, 2012 at 8:18 am (6 years ago)

    This was awesome. Every word rings true. It is all about us, isn’t it? What might drive me crazy about another person has nothing to do with them. I remember when I first read about this concept. I was in my late 20s and at first I resisted it. But, as I became more mature I began to see how true it was. We don’t have the capacity to notice things that we don’t first have within ourselves. It’s simply not on our radar. Even when we notice how awesome someone is – it’s because we too have that same awesome ability within.
    Thank you for reminding me of this today. I needed it.

  2. Caroline McGraw
    January 23, 2012 at 10:20 am (6 years ago)

    Such a great point, Jt- and I love the practicality of this exercise! I’ll definitely give it a go next time I find myself seeing ‘the reflection of dislike’! 🙂

  3. Deb
    January 23, 2012 at 10:50 am (6 years ago)

    Very cool and interesting insights. Going to try the note card exercise for sure. So as far as my god dog puppy (15 month old huge yellow lab) goes…. Really don’t care for when she pummels our 8yr old yellow playfully on the trail. Don’t think she realizes how strong she is after all she weighs about 90lbs while her elder only weighs in at about 58lbs. For the most part the smaller elder holds her own and remains in the alpha role. Some times though, she’s caught by surprise which can be worry some. Wondering how that translate into my behavior. Don’t think I pummel younger counterparts??? Interested in your thoughts?

  4. Tess The Bold Life
    January 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm (6 years ago)

    Hi Jt,
    That’s why my son-in-laws are my biggest teachers! It’s easier to only see the light in them. Also we need to remember that we project our light onto each other as well. So I can see your beauty because it’s also mine.

    I’ve learned to say “just like me” after my projections.

    That guy is driving too fast…just like me.
    My sister is a whiner…just like me. LOL!

    Admiting this allows me to heal in joy because it’s funny if you can look at it that way.

    LOVE the photo!

    • Jt Clough
      January 23, 2012 at 1:08 pm (6 years ago)

      So true Tess! I the idea of reflecting passion, beauty, soulfulness, joy, and appreciation for all the good things around us is where I’m putting my energy.

      It is interesting how it really works rather quickly when practiced. So I’m going to keep on with it. And write about it from that perspective.

      Aloha wags!

  5. gina
    January 23, 2012 at 2:47 pm (6 years ago)

    Love this Jt………it’s so true. Plus, in order to see something in someone else, we must have experienced it ourselves, or how would we know what it is…….This was a big aha for me when I took a workshop with Cheri Huber……..I’ve also heard the saying of when you point your finger at someone for being a certain way, that you have 3 fingers pointing back at you, lol…..thanks for sharing!

  6. Hibiscus Moon
    January 23, 2012 at 3:07 pm (6 years ago)

    Firstly, I LOVE that photo!!! Adorablz!
    This is a neat exercise. I’ll have to try that & its so representative of that Jung quote (1 of my fav’s for a dear friend of mine who gets way too angry at others for how they behave…hmmm)

  7. Vidya Sury
    January 23, 2012 at 5:54 pm (6 years ago)

    Reminds me of a lovely quote “If we had to tolerate in others what we tolerate in ourselves, life would be unbearable” The note-card game is great!

    Amazing post!

  8. Cathy | Treatment Talk
    January 23, 2012 at 6:45 pm (6 years ago)

    Hi Jt,

    Love your post. It makes complete sense to me. Your idea of writing down what we find annoying can lead to some real personal discoveries. I will give that a try. Take care.

  9. Petrea
    January 24, 2012 at 3:17 pm (6 years ago)

    The note game is a great way to keep one’s self in check when pointing the finger at others. Love it!

  10. Loran
    January 26, 2012 at 12:26 pm (6 years ago)

    The work of Byron Katie is similar, whatever thought we might be having about someone else is really a thought we have about ourselves. So as Fran said, Ouch!

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