Sometime in the middle of March 2020, my emotions began growing weary and my physical body tires more easily now while exerting less effort. My symptomatic suffering is a result of one thing: job burnout.
I have suffered from this intermittent dis-ease since 2006 when I created a private dog training business, The Problem Pooch. I recognize what the source of my condition is, but I also understand there is no known cure.
A doctor didn’t give me an examination. WebMD doesn’t provide answers, treatments, or home remedies. My condition is not the lead story every night on TV news. Nope, none of that.
I alone discovered my diagnosis. What is the root cause? I am a self-proclaimed Empath; I see, feel, and absorb, like a sponge, the energy of everything around me which believe me, is no desirable “superpower.”
An employer (also a friend) pays me to be the Director of Operations & Training at a doggie daycare facility. My very simplified job description is this: Solve problems. For example, clients have energetic dogs (problem) and we exercise them (solved.) We need more staff (problem) so we hire more people (solved.) Staff needs training (problem) so we teach them (solved.)
As a business owner, clients paid me to be a problem solver. For example, owner’s dog pulls on leash (problem) so I teach them how to use a proper leash (solved.) You get the idea.
Being an Empath, carrying and solving the problems of dogs and humans is exhausting!
I made an easy decision: I closed my business, The Problem Pooch, shortly after the pandemic began. I thought, “Perfect timing. I will focus all my energy on being a good employee and helping my employer and my teammates. Life will be much easier now.”
Let me tell you, the Universe doesn’t care what we think, how we feel, or abide by our best-laid plans. She does whatever the hell she wants!
Meet Rusty, a real problem pooch!
Rusty re-opened many of my emotional wounds and scars that had not yet healed. He created more questions than I had answers for. He crashed my comfortable “old me – The Problem Pooch” with my still-learning “new me – Director of Operations & Training.”
Rusty didn’t need training; he needed serious rehabilitation. He didn’t know how to be a dog. He was a fearful, insecure, and severely broken dog. I questioned whether I could help because a recent failure made me second-guess my skills, abilities, and decisions.
I wanted to say, “No. I can’t help.” But, Empaths don’t do that! They are burdened with an inability to utter the words, “No.”
So, for the past month, Rusty has been in a rehabilitation program at the facility where I work. Under my direction and with the support and effort of my teammates, Rusty learned how to be a dog. He is not perfect, but the Universe said to me, “He is ready now. It is time to let him go.”
Rusty was adopted by a family today. He will fill a void in their lives (solving a problem which is a blessing.) Rusty’s departure from our program will leave an emotional hole in those of us who cared for him (a curse.)
Accepting and embracing who we are may cause us physical and emotional exhaustion and pain. However, in doing-what-we-do, we may be granted an opportunity to teach others what we know, help others grow in experience, and fill a void that will make a family complete once again.
My point is that I hope you will consider leaning into and head toward the difficult decisions that the Universe will throw at you. The energy you see, feel, and absorb may be a painful curse, but the positive energy you create for and in others is a bountiful blessing.
Be Kind. Be Thankful. Be Significant.