Living

Who left the dog poo? Who, who, who..?

In which I ponder the modern obsession with dog poo. Who left the dog poo and why? And what this has this to do with taking a kinder path.

Firstly I hope you’re all singing your hearts out just like the Baha Men 🙂 

And secondly, I’d like to issue a little warning –

This post may not be for the faint-hearted. This is BIG stuff. And most certainly not, a pile of poo 🙂

It’s been local election time in my neck of the woods. And you can be sure that tackling dog poo is a prominent part of every candidate manifesto. They’ll work tirelessly to remove it from our streets. And strive to secure the strongest penalties for anyone found failing to bag it and bin it.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I hate dog poo on the street (or literally anywhere!) as much as the next person. It’s foul, stinky and hazardous to human health.

But I can’t help wondering, who left the dog poo, and why?

Do you really know anyone who thinks it’s okay to leave behind their doggies dirty dealings? Maybe it’s the company I keep. But I’m pretty damn sure, 95% at least 🙂 that none of my dog-owning, dog-loving friends, family and neighbours would, in their right minds, leave their dog poo. Especially not where some sweet toddler could slide right in it (she shudders knowing just how that looks and smells, yuk!)

So if it’s not my friends and family, maybe it’s yours? Points finger sternly. But I don’t really think that. None of us want dog poo on the streets, so what’s going on here?

Indulge me a little. I’ve got a couple of theories.

Theory number 1, a conspiracy.   

Maybe the litter picks organised by our local candidates are actually a cover. Rather than ridding the streets of rubbish, they’re actually adding more. Yes, my first theory is a conspiracy theory. But…

Just because you’re paranoid. Don’t mean they’re not after you.

Kurt Cobain.

Could it really be an elaborate plan to divide and conquer, encouraging us all to tut and glare suspiciously at every dog owner we pass? Silently accusing them, was it you that left the dog poo? An evil, stinking plot to bury the deeper, darker issues of the day?

You’ve got to admit, in a time of devastating climate change, attacks on personal freedom and mounting corruption, an increase in dog poo might be convenient for some. Could our shared despair of the demon dog poo be the new opium of the people?

Or theory number 2, no one likes being told what to do.   

It messes with our minds.

Maybe the more we’re told to do something, even something as reasonable as picking up dog poo, the less inclined we are to do it. Despite the increase in designated dog poo bins, enforcement officers and signs littered plastered on every street corner, the more poo there seems to be.

Let’s consider a different scenario, much less pooey and pongy. Picture the scene. We’re feeling quite chuffed with ourselves. It’s almost gran’s birthday and we’ve got an awesome gift and treat planned. The phone rings, and a dear relative is on the line, just making sure we’ve bought a suitable pressie and reminding us how important this day is.

Now, I know, their heart is in the right place. They want gran to feel loved and have a wonderful day. They’re worried we’ll forget, maybe we’ve got form 🙂

Our dear relative just wants to help, to help us and to help gran.  

But we had remembered. And maybe we feel a little robbed of the satisfaction and joy we felt just a moment ago. Our gift now seems more of a requirement we’re obliged and expected to produce, than a choice. Perhaps we’re a tiny bit sad and resentful that they might think we can’t be trusted to realise or remember important stuff, and that maybe we don’t care about gran as much as they do.  

We might just be glad of the reminder (or at least not bothered by it) and everything is awesome. Or maybe we’re the ones who usually do the reminding 🙂

However you might feel about that scenario, I’m sure there’s been a time you’ve felt it. The pull of resistance when someone suggests that you should or you must do something. Even when five minutes ago you were more than happy to do it and wholeheartedly believed it was the right thing to do. And the more we feel pushed, the less we feel like doing it.

Coercion creates resistance.

When we’re robbed of the opportunity to act from the heart, on our own initiative and to experience the genuine, natural consequences of our behaviour, the organic development of our internal moral compass is disrupted. Being told what to do, without invitation, messes with our minds.  

External requirements and demands weigh heavily on our psyche. However subtly or pleasantly framed, and however close to our original intentions, they can seriously impede our judgement. When others question our ability to act reasonably and responsibly, implying that without direction we’re bound to get it wrong, they may, unwittingly push us closer to the very outcome they were trying to prevent.  

Feeling forced, pressured or cornered, our survival mode is triggered. Our need for freedom and self-determination overwhelming our capacity for conscious considered and reasoned thought. And from here, we can find ourselves acting in complete contrast to our natural inclinations. As if our very souls were seeking out the solace of some tiny act of free will. And so it may seem to all around, that we need yet more force, more control and more direction. That they were right, we couldn’t be trusted in the first place.  

I told you it was BIG.

Now I’m not suggesting that we never offer information and insights to those around us. We all appreciate a heads up now and then and we’re all missing parts of the puzzle. None of us have the complete package when it comes to knowledge and experience and none of us ever will. I’m all for pooling our wisdom in an atmosphere of trust and respect. Without demands, without force and without denying others the chance and the choice to figure out what feels right to them.

Of course, what feels right to me, may not feel so good to you. And this presents us all with an ongoing challenge. ‘Now you’re talking’, I hear you cry, ‘how to persuade everyone round to our way of thinking?’ No, not quite what I had in mind 🙂

The challenge comes in accepting and honouring the rights and freedoms of others, just as we wish them to do for us. Not only can this make it more likely we’ll be able to hear and appreciate their views, but in turn we can share our own thoughts and reasoning. Free of pressure to conform and comply, we all have a greater chance of gaining clarity on what we actually want in our lives and our world, better able to listen to our own conscience and learn from each other.

Woah, all that from dog poo? Now, some of you may be thinking that I’ve given that way too much thought. And you could be right 🙂

But if any of this resonates with you, and you’re even slightly on board with the idea that the more we’re told what to do, the more we want to resist, please consider subscribing to the blog. I have a number of related posts on their way.

And while you’re waiting, you could check out my post on why I never tell my children off (or at least, I try not to). Only if you want to, of course 🙂

Wishing you all clean streets and happy homes x  

2 Comments

  1. Ah ha. This kind of resistance is strong in me. I am a very altruistic and considerate person (I think) but a ‘don’t’ sign is very liable to give me impulses to actually flex my cage and do the thing!!! Yes!!!
    Gretchen Ruben helped me learn to love the ‘Rebel’ in me. You’ve made me actually feel normal. Haha.

    1. Hayley says:

      Glad to be of service 🙂

      Must check out the four tendencies quiz myself 🙂

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