If you’re a dog owner, you’ll know what it’s like to be around one – and more significantly, what it’s like when your dog is not by your side. Our dogs are our most loyal companions, our source of strength, and our teachers. Here are 10 life lessons we can learn from our dogs in order to become better people. We may not be able to achieve them all, but that’s why we’re human and all dogs go to heaven. Enjoy!
1. Love unconditionally.
Dogs are probably the only living creatures capable of doing this, but we can still try our best. Every time someone makes you feel unappreciated, call forth a memory of when others showed their love without expecting anything in return. Then, realize that you can also give that warm fuzzy feeling to those you love.
I like to think that dogs are so perpetually happy because they forgive all our infractions. As the saying goes, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” Forgiving others is the only way we can let go of anger, and set ourselves free to pursue happiness.
3. Give 100% every day.
Dogs give their full attention to what they’re doing, be it bounding across open fields or licking their paws. Pay attention to what you’re doing and who you’re spending time with. Live in the moment, and you’ll find yourself accomplishing more.
4. Let sleeping dogs lie.
Instead of trying to hash everything out when it comes to old arguments and prickly issues, try to let things be. Not only will you feel more at peace, you’ll also be able to move on to more important things.
5. Protect your loved ones fiercely.
Don’t just share good times with your friends and family. Stand by them. Don’t let anyone bully your loved ones, and do what you can to help them when they’re in trouble.
6. Find joy in the little things.
We tend to focus so much on the major issues in life – career, relationships, and money – that we miss out on the little things in life. If your dog can sigh with sheer pleasure over a tummy rub, you can marvel at rainbows and ladybugs. What’s more, there’s one thing you can do that your dog can’t: count your blessings.
7. Go after what you want with all your heart.
This is how the adjective “dogged” came about. Don’t hesitate to go for what you want, be it taking up the ukulele or making a huge career change. If it turns out to be less fulfilling than you expected, just go after something else – it’s the journey that counts.
8. Whine occasionally.
Now and then it’s okay to complain about the nitty-gritty issues – like how your boss is obviously biased against you or how unfair it is that you don’t look like a supermodel. We all need to vent our frustrations and need people to indulge us from time to time. Enjoy the attention, then get going with the things that matter.
9. Explore and be curious.
Curiosity killed the cat, not the dog. Don’t be afraid to try new things and ask questions.
Do you confide in your dog as it lays its head on your lap and gazes at you silently? Dogs are such great listeners because they won’t judge you or tell you what to do. And you can do the same for the people you care about, simply by lending a listening ear without trying to come up with opinions or solutions. They will feel much better, and you’ll understand them better when you just listen.
What life lessons have you learned from your dog? Share them in the comments.