Last Thursday, my husband and I made an incredibly difficult decision to put our sweet Hope down after she experienced what we were pretty sure was a stroke.
She was sixteen and a half years old, and she lived a long life with people who loved her and ruined her.
One of the skills that I teach my clients is how to make decisions that fit their goals and values in the face of complex emotions.
It's time to talk.
The day after we put Hope, I went for a walk (like every day). When I came back, my husband said that he was surprised that I went. Therefore, I shared with him a tool called The Heavy Backpack.
We can think of our complex emotions as a heavy backpack. Now that the backpack can weigh you, it is inconvenient and uncomfortable, but you can still go about your day and do what brings you closer to who you want to be.
You can perform actions that match your values.
You can go for a walk. You can develop a relationship. You can help your customers. You can eat nutritious food. You can hug, love and laugh.
All carrying the load.
Or – you can wear a backpack and spend your time thinking about how much you hate a backpack. What is this burden? How awkward you are. As you wish, you could just install it or make it go.
You can distract yourself from the heavy load of wine or cake or pizza or Netflix.
You may get angry – or succumb to despair.
You can avoid and resist – or you can ALLOW.
When we act in a way that does not meet our values, we simply add more layers of complex feelings (anger, disappointment, regret, guilt) to the mix.
Taking steps that make us feel good + proudly helps ease the strain on our backs (and in our hearts).
Having shared this with my husband, he immediately said, I think that today I will play hockey.
XO ~ Robyn
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