My little dog is worse today, even with the steroids and painkiller, she's in pain. I'm trying to believe what the vet and her breeder are telling me, that her prospects are good, that she will improve, that this is early in the injury, but it's distressing to see her suffering.
A few days ago, I sat quietly listening as someone spoke of how he didn't understand why anyone would spend so much money on "just a cat or a dog." He wasn't aware of my little dog's illness, so was quite forthcoming in his scorn for these foolish owners - why didn't they put the sick animal down and get a healthy one to replace it? Why spend all that money on an animal? A friend (who is aware) glanced over at me, worried that I would be feeling upset.
As he spoke, I'd been thinking about the fact that I understood that sort of blanket-coverage opinionated statement very well, because I'd been a distributor of them myself, before Al-Anon. I was a strange mixture of very poor self-image with very strong opinions.
What I've learned in this marvellous program is that not only is it not necessary for me to give my opinion in every situation - many times I can just listen, or interject only a small joke to lighten the mood - but that it most circumstances, I don't need to possess an opinion of any sort. I can be neutral. If asked, I can reply that I don't think anything much about it, or that I see both sides, and care to join neither.
If I do have an idea, I can easily and happily keep it to myself, I no longer feel the need to foist it upon other people. I don't feel personally slighted or offended if we disagree. I don't take the world personally in the way I once did. That sentence encapsulates my miracle in Al-Anon - I don't go out into the world every day "loaded for bear." And as a result, the world turns a much softer, more loving and accepting face back to me.