Don't kick the puppy

Rhodesian Ridgeback Puppy. Photo credit John Goode

Don't Kick the Puppy

Sometimes I beat myself up when I feel like I have fallen short, not put in my best effort, or failed. Since I am a bit type 'A', most of the time I have not actually failed. I once had a friend challenge me to get a C in a class because she wanted me to realize that I don't have to get straight A's to succeed in life. I think I got a B+ and that felt like a tragedy. 

The best advice I ever received was from my friend Pat. She told me "Don't Kick the Puppy". Guess what- you're the puppy. Now imagine a puppy makes a minor mistake. Do you kick the puppy? I really hope the answer is no. In fact what you should do is positively reinforce good behavior because punishing the bad does not work very well. 

So the next time you are beating yourself up think of a cute cuddly puppy and remind yourself "Don't Kick the Puppy"! 


P.S. When I was a kid we always had Rhodesian Ridgeback's. Now I really want a puppy!

Originally published 8/22/13

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