June 10, 2005
June 10, 2005


It is amazing how animals reflect human nature. Today as I was strolling along a gentlemen had two dogs on leashes. The miniature dachshund was aggressively snarling and lounging at me while the larger mixed breed was not particularly interested in my presence. Smaller dogs have been known to be more likely to bite people because their size makes them fearful of encounters. While larger dogs know there is nothing to fear because they could easily defend themselves. It reminds me of a time that I stepped back and on something in a relatives kitchen, only to discover the complacent eyes of a huge St. Bernard dog on whose toe I had inadvertently placed my heel. He didn’t even growl, but accepted my fearful apologies and meandered into the yard.

People who are confident are similar to the St. Bernard dog. They do not need to attack when attacked. They can and do let things pass. Those with a damaged self-esteem issues are more likely to be vindictive, resentful and aggressive.

So how do we develop a St. Bernard acceptance of life and ourselves? Start with small accomplishments. When those are achieved go to the next larger chore. Give yourself credit for what you do.

Incredulously, many individuals have already been successful at much in their life, but do not score it for them selves and won’t allow others to compliment them either. It’s as if they are bound to make themselves feel like failures. If this is the problem for you, then make a list of at least 25 items that you do well.

If this stumps you, start with the fact that you shower daily, dress nicely, drive a car, keep a job, get to work on time and so forth. There. I started your list for you. You already have 5 entrees. Now fill in the rest. You will surprise yourself I am certain. Then, whenever you put yourself down or refuse to accept the praise of another person, think of your list.

Create your boundaries. Boundaries are most often in jeopardy with those you love. In an effort to not hurt them they may overstep your boundaries and possibly destroy your sense of identity. Therefore, your limitations must be firmly verbalized and maintained so that no one may threaten your ego state. It is important to be aware that “YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO JUDGE YOUR OWN BEHAVIOR, THOUGHTS AND EMOTIONS” and accept the responsibility for them” which is a quote from WHEN I SAY NO I FEEL GUILTY by Manuel J. Smith, Ph. D. in his book which a majority of counselors use for teaching assertiveness. Smith also states that we should not judge our behavior on the goodwill of others (that would be other orientated) and that we are not responsible for solving other adult’s problems. Dr. Smith’s book is excellent for helping a person develop not only assertiveness, but the confidence to be assertive.

Establish your goals, morals, and behaviors to your satisfaction. I should not have to remind anyone that in judging yourself you must maintain legal perimeters. Remember it is O.K. to be a dog, but make it a St. Bernard every day.