Life Lessons from A Dog
I am the new mom of an adorable 4 month old chocolate lab name Ellie that came home with me at the end of July. What an adventure it has been! Hikes, yoga classes, meeting new friends, play biting, and training!
Dogs can be some of the most sweet, lovable creatures in the world. If you slow down and pay attention, there is so much we actually can learn from our furry friends. Here are some of my own lessons Ellie teaches me daily.
1) Slow down and be in the moment
As humans we are doing a lot, we are on the move, distracted by our phones. So much doing and we forget being. Dogs are right there in the present, not looking ahead, not looking behind. They enjoy company and play without the distractions and can be in the present moment.
2) Play, play, play
Dogs are great reminders to humans to take time and play every day. We all need play time to have joy, live our best lives, and energize ourselves. Dogs, especially, puppies, love to play and have fun each day.
3) Take naps and rest
Ellie plays like crazy and takes a nap when she sees needs to. We all need rest to regenerate our minds and bodies, to recover from the day, and to feel our best self.
4) Every day can be a new adventure
You can wake up and start the day with dread or you can choose to see it as a new adventure.
5) Enjoy the little things in life
Ellie is super excited about a kong with peanut butter or a being outdoors. There are so many little things that can bring joy if you look for them.
6) Forgive and let go
I step on Ellie's paw or out a little longer than I planned to be. She forgives me and is able to go forward without a grudge. It takes energy to hold onto a grudge and anger.
7) Love Unconditionally
Dogs love unconditionally like no other. Ellie loves just about anybody she meets! I know she loves me no matter what. It can be a challenging task to love unconditionally but our relationships would thrive!
8) Jump for joy when happy
I come home and Ellie wags her tail, jumps up and down and is super excited to see me. Celebrate your wins, do happy dance, sing out loud it feels great!
9) Drink lots of Water
Dogs instinctively know when their bodies need water. It’s a good reminder for us to stay hydrated and drink when we’re thirsty. In fact, drinking water when you feel hungry is good for weight management because often you just need some water. Another good practice is to drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up in the morning.
10) Don't compare yourself to others
Can you imagine a terrier wishing she were a boxer or a poodle envious of a collie’s mane or a pug wanting the nose of a greyhound? We humans spend a lot of time trying to make ourselves look like someone else’s version of perfection instead of loving our unique features, our unique life, and yes, our unique problems. How boring it would be if all dogs (or all humans) looked and behaved alike! Love and appreciate everything about yourself — the good, the bad and the ugly!
The "Should" Word
When faced with decisions in life, many times we seek guidance and support. If guidance begins to feel like you are being told what you should be doing versus what you know within yourself to be right, please remember to stand up for you. You get to choose what’s best for you.
Whether you agree or disagree with this blog, it’s totally your choice. I would never tell you what you should think, feel or do.
How many times have you shared something exciting you want to do with someone and their response was “you really should do….” How many times you knew in your heart what you really wanted, then told yourself you “should” do something else.
I know I have had conversations like this with people in my past that resulted in advice giving using the “should” word. These conversations usually left me feeling disempowered, a little angry, unsupported and hurt. If I find myself using the should word, it's usually not coming from an empowering place. It’s the word I would like to eliminate from the vocabulary!
I remember when I started my business many years ago and was met with other people's projections of fear. "You should keep your full time job", "This is scary, maybe you shouldn't do this". I chose to go forth anyhow and have supported many amazing humans over the years, have had so much growth from this experiences and created the work and life I wanted for myself. Have I made mistakes and hit road bumps along the way? Yes, but still my choice and not listen to the should word.
Live your life for you. You get to choose powerfully.
I love learning from others’ wisdom and experiences. I appreciate the guidance and support of others. I also appreciate good feedback and reflections. My true belief is that we are all here to educate and grow from one another. If someone has already been down a path of which I am headed down, why not learn from what they went through? Here’s the difference: I am seeking their guidance, not their approval.
I love working with my coach. She NEVER tells me what I should do. She supports me on finding my own answers, asks powerful questions that evoke insight and reflects back to me what may be getting in the way. The should word is not used.
Just because a way of life works for one person – does not mean that it will work for another. Listen, learn and take in what you need to when seeking advice. You may not have a need to follow their guidelines or walk their walk. Take that which serves you and forge your own path. If you make a mistake along the way, the learning is on you-not them.
It is one thing for someone to offer you advice. It is another if they expect you to follow it. It is your choice.
Ultimately, YOU have the power and knowledge within to find your answers in life. No one knows you better than you.
Walk your own walk. One step at a time.
PS: Photo taken from New Zealand, a place a couple people told me I "shouldn't" go to because it was far. It was one of the most amazing places ever and so grateful I listened to myself and went!
Life and Leadership Coach, Licensed Counselor, outdoor enthusiast, yoga lover and passionate about wellness.