Have you ever noticed that dogs seem to be happy and loving no matter what anyone does or says to them? We could all take a lesson from the dogs in our lives. Dogs do not judge, they listen without interrupting or trying to fix the problem, and they love unconditionally. Dogs never seem to doubt their own abilities, and they will go after their goals until they succeed (even if it means digging to China). These great animals truly seem to understand which things are important in life, and which things shouldn’t bother us.
So what are some of the things that I have learned from the dogs in my life? Here’s a short list:
1. Give and accept love with every breath, and always run to greet loved ones.
This is one of the things that I feel we often take for granted. We forget that even though the people in our lives know we love them, it makes connections stronger when you actually show love. Dogs will always perk up and run to the door when the people they love arrive, and the greeting they give cannot be mistaken for anything other than adoration.
2. Forgive and forget.
Have you ever accidentally stepped on your dog’s tail? They generally let out a yelp that could break your heart. What happens next is amazing. Only a minute or so later, they’re right back to playing and loving you. Dogs don’t hold grudges, because they live in the moment. So, take a cue from your dog and choose to forgive, forget, and move on.
3. If you want something, run and chase it.
Having goals, even small ones, is so important to making ourselves better. Without goals where are we going? Whether it’s something small like chasing after a ball, or something large like that promotion you’ve wanted, go after it with all the energy you have. If you don’t give up, the chances that you will achieve those goals are much more likely.
4. Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
Dogs always love to go for a joyride, even if they are not going anywhere special. They love the windows rolled down and the wind in their ears. They cherish the time, even if it’s just a short jaunt around the corner. Understanding how to cherish the small things in life is a great experience that dogs have fully mastered.
5. Take ever opportunity to run.
This one is very near and dear to my heart. As a ½ marathon runner as well as Triathlete, sometimes the run isn’t something that I want to do; however I always feel better and filled with joy once I start. Even the long hard runs teach me something about myself. If nothing else, it allows for time by myself to think and to process my thoughts and feelings for that day.
6. Listen attentively and don’t offer solutions.
As a therapist I have learned to understand the value of this particular lesson over the years. Sometimes your loved ones just want to speak and be heard. They are not always looking for an answer. Validating that person’s feelings by just being there to support them and offer love, rather than solutions, is something that is so special. Dogs truly understand the importance of listening without judgment.
7. Be brave, optimistic and completely present.
Having faith in your own abilities is so important. Have you ever met a dog with low self-esteem? I haven’t. Maybe that’s why they are so happy. They value themselves, and they have confidence in their own abilities. They also have the amazing ability to be fully present and see the value in every moment.
We can learn a lot from the dogs in our lives. The next time you get a chance, think about all of the great lessons that you can learn from the animals around you. Once you explore them you may need some help implementing these lessons in your daily life. If you would like to speak to an experienced, licensed mental health counselor in Orlando about ways to improve yourself, please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services in Orlando today at 407-443-8862 to make an appointment.