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Highly Sensitive People: Can You Teach A Cat To Moo?

As a highly sensitive person, how often do you expect others to act in a way that they are not capable of? I often do this! Frustration over the behavior of other people is a major source of stress for highly sensitive people.

I was doing a social experiment with my cats, Prissy and Charlie. I looked at them and asked them to moo. I then let out a few long, loud moos. I was hoping they would catch on! They looked at me strangely and thought I was crazy. I think they wanted to do it, but felt unsure how to do so. As much as they wanted to, they didn’t have the capacity to moo.

When you take a closer look at your personal and professional relationships, you may find that you get upset when people don’t act as you wish. You may be trying to change the unchangeable, and as a result, you become a hostage to your own expectations.

Fortunately, there is a way out. Awareness and acceptance are the keys to freedom. Being aware of what other people are capable of and accepting their limitations will lighten your load. Why expect others to go against their natural behavior? Don’t we get annoyed when people tell us to not be so “sensitive”? Expecting another person to be something they are not is unproductive for both sides.

Instead of focusing on the weaknesses of others, shift your attention to their strengths. Different people will meet your needs at different times. When you need support, go to a person with a track record of being supportive. If you need someone to lift your spirits, seek out a person who is naturally enthusiastic and optimistic. Don’t try to get validation from the person who never gives it. Don’t expect punctuality from the person who is chronically late. Having unrealistic expectations just deplete your energy.

Yes, it would be nice if I could teach my cats to moo, or better yet, to clean their own litter pans! However, I know they aren’t capable of these things. This is not a “deal breaker” for me to have them in my life. I love them and accept them the way they are. As any animal lover can attest, our pets provide us with comfort, companionship, and unconditional love.

It’s easy to rationalize away a desire or expectation for people to change to meet our needs, but people don’t change just because we want them to. Instead, accept “what is”, make adjustments when needed, and get ready to embrace a less stressful life.

Let people be who they are, and learn how to love them for who they are.  Lenny Kravitz

Do you try to change other people, or do you accept them as they are? I’m interested in any thoughts or comments that you have.

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Lynn

    I love the analogy you make between teaching cats to moo and having unrealistic expectations… Such a cute idea! Accepting people as they are, the good and bad, can be hard, but it’s essential for healthy relationships. If I didn’t learn to do that in my marriage, I would have been divorced long ago! I sometimes try to change my kids’ behavior because it is my responsibility to instill good habits in them. That’s fine for some things, but I do need to step back on many issues and just embrace who they are. When it comes to my friends, I find that I’m very accepting. I guess acceptance is harder in some relationships and easier in others.

  2. Cliff Harwin

    Hi Lynn,

    Thank you! Accepting people as they are is a constant challenge for me. I like your example of changing your kids behavior for the better. Unfortunately, I’m not as accepting with my friends and business associates as you are. I’m not perfect, but there are some things that I won’t tolerate such as being late and not delivering on promises made.

  3. Lynn

    Yes, it’s important to have boundaries and expectations for our kids or people who work for us. But as you mention in the article, we should be careful about going too far and trying to mold others into something they aren’t. One of my sons isn’t a good writer and never will be…though he excels in math and science. I used to go crazy trying to get him to work on his grammar and writing skills, but now I don’t focus as much on that. Yes, he needs to have basic competency in writing, but I try to spend more time encouraging him in areas where he has natural talents.

    1. Cliff Harwin

      You’re a great mother! It’s extremely important to encourage kids in areas where they have natural talents. Why don’t more parents do this? Why don’t adults utilize their natural talents? Why do all of us sometimes try to be something that we’re not? I don’t have the answers to these questions, but something to think about! LOL

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