responsibility self-interest

Responsibility vs. Self-Interest

My husband thinks we should be able to take our dog to the dog park and let her run around. I’d love that, but she needs socialization training. She gets overly-excited and jumps on other dogs. She doesn’t pick up on cues, and won’t let other dogs be when they don’t want to play. It’s uncomfortable for everyone involved and causes me a great deal of anxiety.

We’re always trying to get to the dog park when no one is there. That’s a challenge. The Hubster was irritated by our current circumstances recently. I reminded him that our desire to let her run around was not as important as our responsibility to the community of dogs and owners who also use the park. Our needs aren’t more important than their needs for safety and peace.

“Then what are we supposed to do?” he says.

My reply was, “We have several options. We can come at another time, in the evening, when we know no one will be here. We can take her to training and properly teach her to socialize. Both of these are the responsible thing to do.”

For me, it’s a matter of personal integrity. Don’t you wish everyone thought this way? I sure do. How much more pleasant would life be if you knew others had your safety and interests in mind?

I’m definitely not saying we should all sacrifice what we want all of the time. There’s a balance to this. It’s about taking the wisest path to getting what you want, not necessarily sacrificing what you want entirely.

Honesty is a big component here too. We have to be honest about why we make the choices we do. Are we looking for convenience? Are we motivated by strong emotions in the moment? Are we in the habit of being stubborn and selfish? No judgment, it happens.

Self-examination leads to growth and new choices that might better serve us and our communities.