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Be a little gentler with yourself

In past month, my son has added a couple new words to his repertoire. Mine, and No. Both have presented challenges at home. Drinks and foods that were once shared, he now wants to be only his. More annoyingly, items and objects that belong to my wife and I, he now believes to be his as well. Moreover, requests to return these items or do what he is told, are met with a reply of, “no, no, no, no!” We have to remind ourselves that we are dealing with a developing two year old mind, that is not always rational, but must be taught the appropriate way to behave. We try to be gentle with ourselves in these more challenging moments.

Sometimes we need a reminder to be gentle with ourselves at work too. I am personally very self critical, I put a lot of pressure on myself to do my best for my family, colleagues and patients. Especially when emergent patients come in with life threatening conditions. I always try to give these cases the benefit of the doubt. I offer clients every option to try save their pet, even where hopes are slim. We all see cases differently. We all interpret the whole picture around us as best we can and use our previous experiences to manage and help that pet to the best outcome.

Fortunately I don’t see many of these cases as I don’t work in emergency. These cases are often the ones which force us into the most self reflection.

Did we make the right decision?

Did we do the right thing by the animal?

Choices have to be made quickly in the moment but thoughts can linger after, sometimes affecting us long after we have left the work place.

Remind yourself to be gentle with yourself, rather than self critical in these moments. You did the very best you could do. You put the animal first. You treated that owner with empathy and compassion. It’s far easier at the end of the day to go home and speak negatively to yourself, rather than with kindness. Sometimes we don’t even realise we are doing it.

Today, when you get home think of all the animals and people you helped today. It may have been big, like one of those emergencies we spoke about above, where the relieved owners are so obviously grateful, or small, such as the new puppy owner who simply wanted reassurance that their puppy was the healthiest and cutest animal in the building today. You made a difference, be it big or small to your clients and patients.

So take a breath, focus on the good, instead of the difficult client you saw today. Speak to yourself with kindness and be gentle instead of critical or negative.

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