In my 45 years of life, I think I’ve finally discovered a greater way to understand relationships. There are hot personalities and cold personalities, then there are hot and cold personalities. I’ve often struggled with those who were both hot and cold because I could never seem to figure out what I would encounter with these types of personalities. One minute they were hot and then next seemingly cold and they would switch in a moment. I found it frustrating honestly and difficult to navigate. Give me a hot person or a seemingly cold person any day because then I knew what I was up against. But then I had a personal revelation. Thinking about some of the relationships in my life, I realized that maybe it’s just really as simple as cats and dogs. Is it possible that we make it more difficult to understand than necessary?
If you understand a dog, you will know they tend to be more open about their needs and how to relate to them. They love relation and thrive off of connection. They can also tend to be more sullen or depressed when they are left alone. Dogs prefer companionship and are considered more loyal. Cats, on the other hand, are much more aloof and independent. However this does not mean they aren’t loyal, they just have a different way of showing it. Cats tend to just come and go as they please. Sounds selfish, right? What if we understood cats from a different perspective? Could it be that cats do not need as much relationship to fuel them emotionally in order to thrive in life? Sometimes they might just need one coffee date and conversation that fulfills them for the next month.
I have relationships from all walks of life. Some are “dogs” and some are “cats” if you will. I am learning to become less offended and I suffer less pain of rejection by understanding them in this way. You will never get from a cat relationship what you need from a dog and vice versa. But do not underestimate either one as invaluable in your life. As much as a dog reminds you daily that you are loved, wanted and needed, a cat flows in and out of your life at important times. A gentle purr or sitting quietly next to you can soothe the most sorrowful of souls. And a small gift or token left on your doorstep from time to time reminding you that they are there for you is much like receiving a card in the mail letting you know you matter to them. They just aren’t as up front about it. But if you have a heart to see, you can understand what they are saying to you. If you find a “dog” relationship far too needy and smothering or one that snaps, or a “cat” relationship too scratchy, self-serving, “catty” or feral, then maybe those particular relationships are toxic to you in the season you are in and you need to love them from afar and pray for them until its safe for you. Sometimes you need to set that healthy boundary or walk away completely. There are plenty of “cats” and “dogs” out there looking for a loving person to take them in. You get to choose what is best for you. Some people in your life might be more like both, a cat or a dog depending on the season of life or circumstances they are walking in. They may need you or they may pull back for personal reflection and for quiet time to sort through emotions. You may even find yourself much like this too from season to season.
I believe I have grown in my spiritual walk and am learning to thrive in life with this newfound understanding. It has also made it easier to forgive. Having both cat personalities and dog personalities in my life, my soul (mind, will and emotion) has been challenged, changed and charged up often in positive ways. Seeing relationships this way can help you to appreciate them and understand them at a deeper level. If you are struggling in a relationship in your life, be it a family member, friend, ministry or co-worker/boss; try to see them from another angle. Then maybe you can learn to still be personal in your relationships without taking it personal when they don’t fit your mold or can’t meet your needs.