Episode 191 | Navigating Emotion in Veterinary Medicine

In this episode, Dr. Cari Wise shares about navigating emotions in the field of veterinary medicine. She emphasizes the importance of understanding and managing emotions in daily interactions with clients, colleagues, and personal life. 

Dr. Wise explains emotional conditioning and how beliefs and societal norms shape emotional responses. She challenges the idea that expressing emotions is a sign of weakness and highlights that emotions are energy that can be influenced and controlled. 

Listeners are encouraged to question negative beliefs and automatic thought patterns that limit emotional growth. Dr. Wise explains the link between thoughts, emotions, actions, and outcomes, and the importance of changing internal narratives to create a more positive emotional state. 

Dr. Wise encourages listeners to take control of their emotional experiences, disentangle self-worth from external factors, and embrace personal power. Vet Life Academy is recommended as a resource for learning how to navigate emotions and regain emotional ownership over one’s life.



Website: https://joyfuldvm.com



Get The Alternative Career Guide for Veterinary Professionals: Create A Career Tailored to You! 


Join VetMed;JOY CLUB: Elevate Your Life & Veterinary Career Experience


Listen to The Joyful DVM Podcast: Be Inspired by Empowering Perspectives on Navigating Life as A Veterinary Professional


Join VET LIFE ACADEMY: Transform Your Veterinary Life & Career from the inside out


Learn How to Support Your Organization and Enhance Employee Wellbeing


Music Credit: Music by Lesfm from Pixabay


Thank you so much for listening! If this episode supported you in any way, the best way you can pay forward is by taking a screenshot of this episode and sharing it on social media or with your team, and tag me!


This transcript is auto-generated and may contain typos.

Hi there. I’m Dr. Cari Wise, veterinarian, certified life coach and certified quantum human design specialist. If you are a veterinary professional looking to uplevel your life and your career, or maybe looking to go in an entirely new direction, then what I talk about here on the Joyful DVM podcast is absolutely for you. Let’s get started. Hello my friend.

Welcome back to the joyful DVM podcast. Today we’re gonna spend a few minutes talking about navigating emotion. Now, before you turn this podcast off, because you heard me say emotion and it gives you the heebie-jeebies, I want you to know that if that’s your experience right now, this episode is for you. So give yourself a few minutes just to listen to what I have to say.

You don’t have to believe all of my words right now, but just entertain the idea that maybe this information can be useful to you, and even maybe it’s true. So navigating emotion, here we are in the practice of veterinary medicine and careers of veterinary medicine and my friend’s emotion is everywhere. This is not something new to you, is it? We encounter emotional experiences every single day.

Whether those emotional experiences include our clients and what they’re going through with their pets, or they include our staff members and coworkers with whatever might be going on behind the scenes or whether they include our own personal lives and our family and friends. There’s no way to get away from emotion, though a lot of us try. Why do we do this? Well,

we have to consider our own emotional conditioning. Now, conditioning is simply what you’ve been taught about any particular thing in the world. And so we have all been taught different things about emotion. What have you been taught is something that I want you to ponder for me. I learned very early on that expressing emotion was not very responsible, that it wasn’t mature,

and that it was nearly impossible to be emotionally expressive and also successful. At the same time, I was taught that we needed to disconnect these things, that they could not coexist, that you could either be successful and respected or you could be emotional, but you certainly could not be both. Now, what I know here in my adult life is there’s nothing further from the truth,

but because I carried that those beliefs for so long without questioning them, I existed in my life and interacted in my life and in my professional life and in my personal life through those rules, through those bits of conditioning. And it created a lot of roadblocks for me because there were certainly situations where emotion came up and places that my brain was telling me wasn’t an appropriate place for it to be.

The truth is this emotion is at the center of every single aspect of our lives, and there’s no way to get away from it. So let me explain. Emotion is just energy. Emotion is just vibrational frequencies that you experience in your body, and depending on what kind of emotion you’re experiencing, that vibration may be higher and feeling really good, or it may be lower and feeling really crummy,

but that the vibration itself exists is neither a problem nor something that you can eliminate. It’s always going to be there. Now, the frequency that your emotion is vibrating at, so whether you’re in positive or negative emotional state is something that you absolutely have the power to influence. And this is another thing that most of us don’t know. We weren’t taught this.

What we’ve been taught about emotion and which emotions pop up for us. Most of us have been taught that those emotions are created by our external circumstances. So we have been taught that our emotion is created by what happens around us, by the things that people say, the things that people do, the things that happen in the world. And so if we look at a profession like veterinary medicine where there is a lot of things happening where there are a lot of people that we come in contact with and we are then believing that it is those things and those people that create our emotional experience of our career,

then it is no wonder there is so much hopelessness in veterinary medicine because my friends, you can’t do it right enough to guarantee that people are gonna be happy and that patients are gonna get better and that the day isn’t gonna turn into a shit show. That’s just part of what we deal with in veterinary medicine. But it doesn’t have to ruin your day.

It doesn’t have to emo ruin your emotional wellbeing. And this is where you really need to listen up because our profession tends to talk about our emotional wellbeing as if it is something that is held hostage by the very things that we encounter every single day, clients and patients and coworkers. And the truth is that none of that is actually true. Our emotion is calibrated not by what happens around us,

but by what we believe about what happens around us. And most of us are interacting in the world through automatic negative thinking. We have these belief systems that we’ve never questioned. We have these opinions that have been offered to us that we have accepted as truth. And as long as we continue to focus on those things that are negative, we will continue to have a negative emotional experience and we will not understand that we have any power to change it or to calibrate it to something different.

Furthermore, if we’re carrying with us the conditioning that expressing emotion is immature or irresponsible or inappropriate, then we are just gonna continue to push down all of this negative emotion. You do that long enough and you are going to end up in a state of constant anxiety and possibly depression. And we know where chronic strai states of being in that kind of low emotional frequency lead,

we have all seen those statistics, but those statistics are not linked to our profession. This is where we’ve got it all wrong. Those horrible statistics aren’t linked to our profession. Yeah, there’s a lot of historical data out there that shows a correlation between the two, but my friends, it’s not cause and effect. And this is what you really need to understand.

There is no cause and effect when it comes to emotion. It is not the things that are happening around you and to you that are causing the emotion that you’re experiencing. It’s all what your brain is doing with the story around those things. Now, the existence of an automatic negative story is not a problem. It’s actually part of the survivalist instinct that has been built into the DNA of a human.

There is part of your brain that is always looking for the threats. It’s always looking for the negative. It’s always looking for the ne next shoe to drop, if you will. And this is because years and years and years ago when it was vital to just try to survive and not be eaten by a predator, we needed to be on our toes all the time looking for danger.

So that is built into the DNA of who we are to look for danger, to anticipate the negative. But where that has then shifted to today, we’re looking for danger and anticipating the negative in places that actually aren’t life. Life-threatening like our workplaces and our friendships. Our brain just does that by default. But that does not mean that you’re held hostage to it.

That does not mean that you don’t have power to shift it. And it certainly does not mean that you don’t have the ability to create a new pattern of thought behavior for yourself because you absolutely do. Most of us just don’t even know we can or have the slightest idea how we do that. The emotion, my friends, like I said, it calibrates everything in our lives.

And so if you find yourself in a constant state of feeling defeated or hopeless or frustrated or scared or disempowered, then the place that you start to change this for yourself is not by doing more things. You don’t need to take more action. You don’t have to try to create more success before you give yourself permission to feel better. Instead, you’ve just gotta get curious,

what is it that I’m believing about everything that’s happening around me that keeps me feeling defeated? It’s the story that’s creating that experience for you. And so with that in mind, knowing that emotion is created by thoughts alone, I want you to consider then the emotional experiences that we have within our workplace when we are interacting with an emotive client. Is that client emotional?

Like is, is it? Let’s just use anger as an example. Is that client angry because of something we did? The answer is no. 100% of the time, whatever you did, whatever treatment plan you presented with a dollar amount on it outside of their budget, what other, whatever answer you gave them about the inability to squeeze in an appointment on the day and time that they wanted it,

none of those things created emotion for those clients. It was the story that their mind offered them about those circumstances that created the emotion for them. And my friends, you will never be able to control what another person thinks if you can’t control what they think. You can’t control how they feel. We are all at different states of emotional maturity and learning how to become emotionally responsible is part of our growth.

So what does emotional responsibility even mean? Well, it doesn’t mean that you shoved down all of your emotions all of the time that showing emotion is irresponsible and immature. That’s not what it means. It means that you understand for you how you’re feeling emotionally and that you’ve developed the skills to change the emotional experience that you’re having. If you want to in any given moment that you’ve learned how to do that,

you’ve learned how to leverage the space is the way that I talk about it. Leveraging the space, learning to change your emotional experience in any given situation is absolutely a skill to be developed. And it is one that you have actually been taught to not develop, if you will, our emotional conditioning, believing that the things around us create emotion and believing that expressing emotion is bad or wrong or immature or irresponsible,

those things will get in the way of leveraging the space until you start to question whether or not those rules are true. And my friends, I’m just gonna cut to the chase that stuff’s not true. What’s true is that you do have the power to change how you feel in any given situation. Even the most high pressure, high stakes situations that we face in veterinary medicine,

those experiences, those circumstances do not have the power to ruin your day. They do not have the power to ruin your emotional wellbeing, and they certainly do not have the power to ruin your life. Unfortunately, most people don’t talk about it this way. The vast majority of people in our profession talk about being in the profession from a position of victimization that we are victimized by clients that that coworkers and schedules and pay.

And although there are lots of opportunities to improve all of those things, those things do not have the power to ruin your life. Do not give your power to those things. Instead, start to play around with the idea that your emotional experience of anything that’s happening is yours and yours alone to control. Start to consider that even if at this instant that something changes or happens,

you feel scared or you feel anger or you feel embarrassed, consider that yes, you can feel those things and you can shift your attention to feel a different emotional experience, that you’re not destined to feel angry or embarrassed or ashamed or whatever the thing is that comes up, that that is not the only emotion available to you in any any given situation. Now,

I’m not saying that we have to fix every negative emotion, and this is important to hear because negative emotion has value as well. It gives us so much information. But if you’ve had an encounter with a client or a coworker and you’re feeling lots of shame or guilt or anger than my friends, you don’t wanna stay in that because like I said before,

emotion calibrates everything in our lives. What I mean when I say that it calibrates everything is that it is the driver behind every single action that you take, everything that you do and everything that you don’t do, everything that you say and everything that you don’t say, every single action is driven by an emotion. And so this is why it is so important for us to be come,

the gatekeepers of our own emotional energy to learn how to navigate our own emotional experiences. Because if we keep letting our emotional experiences be dictated by the things that happen around us, especially when we are involved in a career like veterinary medicine where we have highly emotive and often frustrated people around us, then the actions that we take in our lives are never going to create the outcomes of the dreams that we hold for our futures.

It’s just not possible. You cannot create a positive outcome from a negative emotion. It doesn’t work that way. Thoughts create emotions. So what we believe, the stories that we tell ourselves, that’s what’s creating our emotional experience. And that emotional experience is driving the actions that we take. Those actions are building up to create outcomes in our lives. If we want an outcome different than what we have right now,

then we’ve got to do something different doing the same thing over and over and expecting a DA different result. That’s the definition of insanity. Now, I’m not calling you insane. I’m not calling me insane, but what I’m saying is that if we don’t go back and consider what is driving the actions that we take, why we keep doing the same things over and over again,

what’s behind that, then we are never going to do things differently. We might be able to shame and force and pressure ourselves into taking some different actions for a short period of time, but we’re not gonna be able to sustain that. So any achievement that we do actually experience, any goals that we actually do reach, they’re probably gonna be fleeting because it’s very hard to maintain that level of pressure on yourself in order to keep it present.

There’s a better way, a much better way. And that is simply to become curious with yourself. Ask yourself, what’s driving me to do these things? What, how am I feeling right now emotionally? What story am I telling myself that’s creating that emotional experience for me? And do I have an opportunity to create a different story? The answer to that is always going to be yes.

And as soon as you start to realize that your emotional experience of any situation is created by the story you’re telling yourself about it, then you’re going to notice that you have the power to change the story in the moment. And that means that if you have a client in an exam room who is just bitching up a storm about a bill, that you don’t have to feel afraid and you don’t have to feel ashamed or frustrated or angry about any of that,

that you can let that person have whatever experience they’re having without taking responsibility for it because you’re not responsible for it. And you can tell yourself, I did the best I could with the resources that I had. I offered the best level of care given what I know professionally. And then you realize it’s their choice to make that. Whether or not they agree to what you recommended doesn’t mean anything about you at all.

And so therefore, you don’t need to have any negative emotion about it. The negative emotion over another person’s decisions is coming from the story that you’re holding about that decision. And if you look, I think you’re gonna find that that story you’re holding is one of responsibility. One of, I should have been better or we should have been able to do something else.

And my friends, that’s just never true. So our emotion calibrates everything in our lives. And until we are curious about the emotional experiences that we are having and about the stories that are creating those experiences for us, then we are not going to have a different life experience. We are not going to achieve different goals and head toward our dreams because everything that you want for your life is in a higher frequency of where you live right now.

That frequency is your emotional wellbeing, your emotional state, and that is not going to change because your circumstances change. It’s the other way around. Your circumstances change when your emotional state changes. My friends, you’re the only one who has power over your own emotion. You’re the only one who gets to decide whether or not you wanna hang on to old stories about emotion being weakness,

about emotion being irresponsible or immature or inappropriate. You get to decide. Now, I’m not saying that we all wanna wear all of our emotions on our sleeves all the time. We can absolutely, completely a choice you can make. But what I am saying is that ignoring your own emotions or trying to fix all the negative emotions is exhausting and not necessary.

And it’s also not a goal you will ever achieve. You’re never going to be able to do everything right to make sure that you avoid negative emotion either in yourself or other people. Negative emotion does not mean there’s something that needs to be fixed that might be a correlation that you created, something that you believe, something you don’t even realize you believe. ’cause believe me,

that was me for a long time. I didn’t realize how conditioned I was to try to fix anything that was resulting in negative emotion. And now I understand that the reason I could never be successful in fixing the things that caused negative emotion was because the negative emotion never came from the things in the first place. The negative emotion around any circumstance was always coming from the story I was telling myself.

And that story that I was telling myself was a story that I wasn’t even the author of. Somebody else created that story and offered it to me on a silver platter. I believed it because it came from people who I trusted, parents, friends, teachers, clergy, all of that. And those people that we trust who taught us how to live in this life offered us their opinions,

and we accepted those opinions as truth because we just didn’t know any better. Now, I’m not saying that they did a bad thing. I’m not saying that they intentionally set out to feed us stories that limited what was possible for us in the future. No, that wasn’t coming from a malicious place at all. They were just doing the best that they could.

But me as an adult and you as an adult, we have a responsibility to question every one of those stories that we’ve been offered about the way that the world works, even down to how appropriate emotion and experiencing emotion really is. Because those stories, my friends, if those stories about the way that the world works and the way that you are as a person are holding you back,

if they are causing shame, if they are causing guilt, if they’re creating excess pressure, then they must be questioned. Because the odds are that those stories that you’re believing are simply that they’re stories, they’re not truth, they’re not fact, and they’re not something that you are required to keep moving forward. You get to decide what you believe about every aspect of your life,

of your experience, and about the world itself. You get to decide. You are not required to believe what people have told you is possible. You are not required to believe what people say about what responsibility is, what maturity is. You’re not required to believe any of that. And so you are not required either to believe in what people have told you that you should and should not do.

This is your life. You get to decide for you. So odds are if you do experience a lot of negative emotion, if you feel a lot of hopelessness and frustration and pressure, odds are my friends that you’re holding yourself to a high standard, a standard that you have neither defined nor had the ability to attain, because you cannot attain an expectation that hasn’t been defined.

If you can’t measure it or define it, how will you even know you’re there? And what’s worse when you’re holding yourself to this high standard of expectation? Odds are you’re holding everybody else to that standard as well. And it becomes a little bit comical when we start to peel away the layers and look at what’s really happening because you are holding yourself to a standard that you’re never gonna be able to meet because you’ve never defined it,

and you’re holding others to that standard too, which means they’re never gonna meet it either. And so of course then we have created the perfect situation for negative emotion to grow and compound and spread for negative perspective to grow and compound and spread. And it’s this very thing that has created the environments that we call toxic within our profession. It is these very things that have created bad clients and good clients.

It’s all opinion. At the end of the day, when you strip everything away, what you’re gonna find is what we’re trying to do is avoid or solve for negative emotion because we have tied negative emotion to a belief that something’s going wrong because we’ve tied negative emotion to a belief that feeling emotion has no place in a professional setting, that responsible and mature people don’t let their emotions get in the way of what’s important.

And what I want you to take away from this episode is that the emotion itself is the most important aspect of every single part of our lives. And it starts with us individually because my friends, when you learn how to create emotional experiences for yourself, when you learn to that, the negative emotion you’re experiencing doesn’t mean you are bad or wrong or have to fix something.

When you learn that it’s okay to experience negative emotion and that you get to stay in that as long as you want, but then you get to leave it behind whenever you want to as well, that’s when you’re really living in your power. And as you live in your power every single day in your life and in your work life, you’re going to realize that there’s very few things in this world that actually matter in the grand scheme of things.

And that your whole purpose here is to enjoy yourself, to be happy, to influence others in a way that allows them to be happy and feel supported as well. And when you start to learn from that higher net emotional state, everything that you want for your future becomes possible. My friends, if you wanna learn more about how to leverage this space so that you take over emotional ownership over your own life and step back into your power,

the best place to start is Vet Life Academy. That’s everything that we do there. It’s all about teaching you how to get back into your power, how to leverage this space, and how to start to understand your own experiences so you can start disentangling your self-worth from the things that happen around you. If you wanna know when we open next time, jump over to joyful dvm.com/vet

Life Academy and get on our priority list, and you’ll be the first to know as soon as the doors open. All right, my friend, that’s gonna wrap it up for this week. I’ll see you soon. Bye for now.