It’s just after 6am and we are already at work setting up for our 9am Stress Management group. I don’t think it ever occurred to Doc that using your brain and body that early in the morning may be causing us stress, but oh well, I am just along for the ride at this hour. She likes to get things done before the other staff and patients start arriving because there are less distractions. what I didn’t know, was today I was going to learn my own very important lesson.
While Doc sets up for group, I sniff around for crumbs left on the floor that the cleaning crew missed the night before. As I glance over the top of the table I notice the hand out for todays group. The cover sheet has a quote by Catherine Pulsifer that says, “Being happy is something each of us determines, it is not something we find outside ourselves, it is within us and our choice.” Now that made me pause and think, until I said out loud to Doc ” I am responsible for my own happiness? ”
Doc stopped dead in her tracks and with a puzzled look on her face said to me, “Who did you think was responsible for your happiness? ” ” I thought you were responsible! ” I said with surprise. ” Oh Grover, she said with concern, have you learned nothing after all these years of being in counseling sessions with me? Yes, I am here to make sure you are taken care of because you are a dog,, but you and only you are responsible for your own happiness.” Then she went on to explain. Often, we get stuck thinking we will be happy when someone comes into our lives and make us happy, or getting a new car, or winning the lottery, you get the idea. Or in your case, getting a giant steak bone. ” That would make me very happy, I responded.” All of those are nice things to have happen, but they are only short term fixes.”
” Well, I said, what can we do different? ” “You can start by no longer comparing yourself to others and look inside to see what really brings you contentment. You can also start looking at decisions you have been putting off making, like ending toxic relationships, or making a job switch to something more fulfilling. Of course if you feel stuck, you can also talk to a counselor that will help you sort things out. ” “Or a therapy dog, I am a good listener too. ” I added. ” In the end, you have to take action to live a more joy-fulfilled life. Sometimes it starts by just counting your blessings.” Doc responded.
Well, that conversation gave me a lot to think about ways to improve my happiness and I decided I would start with a nap. Naps make me very happy.