Okay. So, it has been quite the no good, very bad year. We have seen losses and hard–won successes, and wondered if things would smooth out. Finding a happy place in the midst of the madness isn’t easy, but it is within reach.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and I promise it is not a train.
For everyone we have lost and everyone who is still with us, I feel I owe you my absolute best self. Many of us groomers are sensitive souls and can get weighed down by stress and the waves of stress from others. This can make us easier targets for people we come into contact with who are angry, hurting and distressed. There are studies that have brought to light that animal caregivers have one of the highest rates of suicide and depression, and I feel one of the contributing factors could be the terrible habit of not caring for ourselves and our state of mind.
Those of us that love and care for animals—and the clients that bring them to us—will give until it hurts us. And, a lot of the time, we forget to fill back up again. We are the money makers, the bill payers, the children raisers and the dog–washing hustlers, and yet we are human; we break down and the effect is cumulative.
How we think is how we feel, and how we feel often dictates our behavior. We can’t always stop ourselves from being angry, hurt or overwhelmed, but it is always a good idea to calm down as soon as is possible in order to examine the event and find the lesson so you can put it behind you.
The course of our lives can be directly traced back to our strongest beliefs; what you put your focus on is where all of your energy goes, and that focused energy is what creates your life. There is one small promise that you can make to yourself with huge consequences. Vow to be kind to yourself. Train your inner voice to forgive and teach yourself instead of belittling and punishing that cherished face in the mirror. Treat yourself like you are best friends—because you are.
I tend to be a violently positive person—ask anyone that knows me. But it does take practice and mindfulness in order to create my future happiness. I had an epiphany a few years ago while yelling at my hair in the morning because it would not be tamed. I realized all of the accumulated time I had subjected myself to negativity and hatred…from my own self. From that day forward, I vowed to speak to myself kindly and gently, admonishing when I make mistakes and forgiving myself for my human foibles.
Anyone can choose to be happy, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Events will always happen in your life, and it remains your choice to assign negativity or value to the event in order to move through it and find a better tomorrow. There are some steps I remind myself to take when I feel the pressure of my career, my marriage or my choices. I remind myself that it takes a step in the right direction to begin to put some distance and sanity back into the picture.
Encourage others while not forgetting to encourage yourself. When you lift yourself up, you have extra to lift someone else up; encouragement becomes a chain reaction and you will never know how a smile and a word of encouragement can ripple across an ocean and affect so many others.
Find your purpose. There are so many opportunities in the pet industry and so many untapped niches, there is bound to be a perfect fit when you apply your creativity, individuality and talent. You have a unique perception of the world—do not be afraid to let your artist grow.
Listen to others. Other people know things that you do not. It is always worth listening in order to find the pearl in the exchange that illuminates a missing piece of your dream picture.
Prepare your environment to welcome your new future. When you make changes, you signal the universe that you are ready to start receiving the fruits of your labors. Success is not in the planning, it is in the doing.
You are worthy, you are here for a reason. The next generation of groomers need you, and the dogs need you. As we move into the new year, use this as a gentle reminder that you are important, you are a gift, and we will come through our struggles together. ✂️
Peterson, Jordan B., Norman Doidge, & Ethan Van Scriver. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. Toronto: Random House Canada, 2018.
Robinson, Tony. “10 Simple Things You Can Do To Get Through Hard Times.” Lifehack, www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/
Accessed 2 Oct. 2020.
Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, suicidepreventionlifeline.org/