How I Overcame My Fear of Dogs and Other Limiting Beliefs
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Up until about 2 years ago… I didn’t like dogs.
In fact – I was scared of them.
If you’ve been around here for a while, this may all sound a little hard to believe…I have a close bond with Guru Dog Neve, write this blog, volunteer my time to help rescue dogs and could happily talk for hours about all things pup. So the idea of a slightly younger Ollie keeping a wary distance of dogs and preferring to share the house with a cat (gasp!) could seem a bit confusing.
Let me explain.
Growing up I didn’t have any real positive canine experiences. From a young age I was told the cautionary tale of my mother being bitten on the face by a blind dog. So I learnt that dogs were dangerous. This belief was further reinforced by other stories like the one where my grandparent’s dalmation killed the neighbours pomeranian. Then there was that time two neighbourhood rottweiler’s barked and jumped at their gate when we walked past. My mother had the police order the owners to build a bigger gate and I learnt that dogs could not be trusted.
That being said I didn’t have a paralysing fear of dogs and managed to be around them. Several family friends had fox terriers who I found to be slightly annoying but non threatening. Another friend had a scary looking ridgeback named Elvis. I stuck close to my friend and made sure never to be left alone with the dog. A rather round and bouncy lab tended to frightened me when he would jump up, so I would stand behind chairs or tables while visiting , to avoid him. During my teenage years I spent a lot of time with my future husband’s family dogs, but was always slightly wary of them.
So how did I go from fear and mistrust to I want to pet all of the dogs! .. ?
Youtube. And an emotional and physical breakdown.
On Valentines Day 2012 I had a breakdown at the age of 22. It was my darkest night but also my greatest teacher and redirected the course of my life forever. Though at the time – I could barely move and spent two months on the couch napping, watching Rob & Big and browsing Youtube. It took about three weeks, countless tests and multiple visits to the doctor for my sweet GP to diagnose what had actually happened to me. In that limbo time of not knowing what going on with my body or why, I felt very confused and frightened. I was broken and no one could tell me why.
The only thing that could cheer me up at this time , was watching videos of pugs on Youtube. Their curly tails, wheezing and clown antics were the only things that lifted my spirits.
As fate would have it, a woman down our street adopted a pug puppy around this time. I loved seeing the black and tan pug march past our house on his daily walks. One day , we stopped at the supermarket after a particularly upsetting ultrasound appointment. As I sat in the car and wiped my tears away I realised that the pug puppy was tethered to a pole outside the town hall, waiting for his mum. I got out of the car to give him a wee cuddle, and my mood instantly changed and was positive for the rest of the day. That was the moment I decided to adopt a dog.
From this point on I started to see the beautiful soul in every dog I came across. My eyes were opened to the innate doggy happiness that these furry creatures possess, and I wanted nothing more than to revel in the glow of their joyful presence.
It turns out that this long held belief I had about all dogs being scary and untrustworthy had been keeping me from wonderful experiences, lessons and relationships with these furry creatures. There were other beliefs too, that were also keeping me from experiencing joy in other ways. Once I realised they were not serving me, I dropped them.
BUT IF THESE BELIEFS WERE BLOCKING ME FROM SO MUCH LOVE THEN WHY DID I HOLD ONTO THEM FOR SO LONG?
As a small child, my mother wanted to teach me to respect dogs so I would not end up being bitten like she was. Although the intention behind the story was good – a mother trying to protect her child – it morphed into a fearful belief. My subconscious wanted to protect me, and would hold onto any stories or experiences that acted as proof to back up this belief. That is why I can remember these stories and situations almost 20 years on…my subconscious has made these memories of dogs being intimidating and scary important. They form the belief system based on fear that protected me and kept me safe for many years. I was never bitten or attacked by a dog – so the belief was doing its job. I was safe.
LIVING A LIFE BASED ON FEAR MAY KEEP YOU SAFE – BUT IT WILL ALSO KEEP YOU FROM HAPPINESS.
Once I realised that this belief system was limiting me and keeping me from experiencing doggy joy – I dropped it. I replaced the old fear based belief with a new one based on love. “Dogs are to be respected – but their essence is pure happiness”. Then I went about gathering as much evidence as I could to support this new belief. I collected stories and experiences of smiling, loving and joyful dogs. I adopted my beautiful guru dog Neve and got involved with the shelter who rescued her. Now I get to experience unconditional love and pure doggy happiness daily.
There were many other fear based beliefs that I needed to let go of in order to find happiness. Some are so buried that they have only come the the surface in the past few months. But each time I become aware of a belief that is holding me back from love – I drop it , replace it and open up to the happiness that I had been hiding from.
Steps to let go of fear based limiting beliefs
Identify the fear based belief
Forgive yourself – Know that your subconscious was just trying to keep you safe. Thank it for looking after you.
Release the belief – State the old fear based belief is no longer serving you and you are letting it go now.
Replace the belief with love – Create a new love based belief that will keep you safe yet open.
Gather evidence – Collect as many experiences, stories, facts and memories that you can that back up the new belief.
Reinforce the belief – Write it on a sticky note, include it as part of your daily affirmations or set a reminder on your phone to remind you of your new love based belief.
Have you let go of a fear based limiting belief to find that you were missing out on something that now brings you great joy? Let me know in the comments below!
Love and new beliefs