Focusing on Solutions

small red mini dachshund

My dog almost died today.

And it would have been my fault.

In the hustle and bustle of the morning’s flurry of activities, I inadvertently gave my 10-pound miniature dachshund, Zoey, a dose of medication that was intended for our 90-pound German Shepherd.

The moment I realized what I’d done, I felt sick.

Frantically, I pulled up a web page and began searching for the signs, symptoms, dosage calculations and treatments associated with the medication. And, after finding a handful of conflicting answers, I darted out the door with my purse under one arm and my pooch under the other.

Thankfully, she’s fine now. The emergency vet administered an emetic after discovering the dosage was 7 times the level that was appropriate for her body weight. We got there in time. And fortunately, Zoey accepts apologies in the form of treats.

But moments like this are a reminder that we all goof up sometimes. Despite our best efforts to sail through life smoothly, developing habits and routines that put us on auto-pilot, we still make mistakes.

And when our mistakes have a negative impact on others, it’s a bit more difficult to accept. So, as I sat in the waiting room this morning, some unkind thoughts starting swirling through my head. “Stacy, how could you be so stupid?!?” “Was getting to the gym really so important that you couldn’t spend that extra minute to make sure your animals were taken care of?” “What were you thinking?!?”

You know the thoughts I’m talking about. The ones that are accompanied by guilt and sadness and negativity.

But when I remembered that my 3-pound brain was causing me to have those useless thoughts, I managed to turn my attention to the more important thing: to solve the problem by focusing on the solution. 

Do you find it hard to forgive yourself when you make mistakes? Are you unnecessarily hard on yourself when you goof up? Do you continue to punish yourself long after you’ve learned from your experiences? By focusing on solutions rather than problems, we can work through life’s difficult moments faster and enjoy more of life’s beautiful moments. That’s what self-care is all about.

Tonight, rather than beating myself up for making a mistake, I’m going to spend the evening in gratitude, cuddling with sweet little Zoey.

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