“We’re happy” were the first words I received before we’d even got into our chat. Monty, an undomesticated dog, had answered my question before I’d even realised I’d asked her. She was very determined to put a halt to the pity her and her friends had been involuntarily receiving from humans, it was of no use to them.
This message was again passed to me by another dog we nicknamed Cesar who lived local to Monty. He was very sick and in the process of preparing to pass on. Monty is, and Cesar was, a street dog living alongside humans on much more equal terms than many people understand. The one message that came through so strongly from both of them was, “we do not want pity”.
It is a message I took with me and have thought about ever since.
Pity is a bit of a manufactured emotion really, isn’t it? (Apologies to any pity out there). It is a feeling made up of sadness, sorrow and regret often caused by another’s misfortune or circumstance. It differs to empathy which is from the heart. Pity is a feeling we create and share even with those who may not be suffering at all. We just think they are.
Take Cesar for example.
Under the frail, physical form of a skinny one-eyed dog was a strong, content, loving soul who was wanting to be recognised for those true qualities. He was Somebody, not the pitied stray dog many saw. He did not want, welcome or deserve such pity and flippancy. Instead, by offering him respect, compassion and companionship, we saw his true soul and connected. By recognising the soul in him, rather than the physical, there was no need for pity.
There was nothing to pity.
Pity is something that we can very easily conjure up and pass on without even realising it. I find myself coming out with expressions such as “Oh, the poor thing” or “poor little poppet” and try to correct my thinking pretty quick smart. I do not want to offer that to another being, nor would I want it offered to me. It is suggesting that someone is a victim and is in a situation that is not beneficial to them and their purpose. How are we to know that what they are experiencing is not what they want or have invited?
Pity is a negative offering which serves no constructive purpose.
Instead, we need to create and offer a positive. Acknowledge their strengths, offer assistance and encouragement. Look past the superficial and recognise the strong being for who they really are. Remember to let them know you recognise that in them.
We are here to empower and help each other.
Many of us have witnessed how positive affirmations encourage a human to heal, grow and realise their self-worth as a sentient being. In a world of connectedness, the same applies to our cohabiting animals and plants. Various studies have shown the effect of positivity in relation to plant growth and many of us have witnessed the joy in our companion animals when they are loved, recognised and respected.
When we find ourselves feeling emotions such as pity toward another being, we must stop ourselves and ask why we are offering them that?
Is it encouraging or constrictive?
Pity victimises another being immediately and often stems from not understanding the bigger picture. If you think back on a moment in your own life when somebody offered you pity, how did it make you feel? Empowered? Needy? Comforted? Discouraged?
Offers of respect, love, recognition and empathy would be much more positive and supportive, creating a much more productive environment to another being.
That’s exactly what these beautiful dogs have shown me. Theirs is a message that applies to us all which I needed to share so we can all learn from it and incorporate it into our lives.