I feel very blessed to have my Golden Retriever Kevin in my life. He turned one-year-old on Halloween this year. For his birthday, my best friend Allison threw him a party over the weekend. Well, it was a Halloween party and it was also her birthday, but Kevin owned the night. He had the time of his life knocking over kids with food, bumping into adults with food, and tackling anyone with a ball. Kevin goes after life with great exuberance, vitality, and intensity. Before I get shamed in the comments, Kevin is going through training, and I am not training the puppy out of him. Like kids, I want him to have some fun before he grows up.
Today, like most days, Kevin and I went to the dog park. As a pet parent, I do not have enough personal energy to tire him out so I count on Kevin’s friends to help.
If you don’t know, I love to observe people, animals, activity, everything that I can. Yes, I am one of those people that enjoys watching others at airports and outlet malls. However, I am always looking to learn more about us. I see lessons in everyday interactions. For example, when kids ask for a hint when playing games, they are learning that it is okay to ask for help, which is an important life lesson.
But today, at the dog park, as I observed Kevin play, fetch, wrestle, eat mud, and rest, I saw some pretty incredible lessons that I and other humans should incorporate into our daily routines.
First, greet everyone you meet, new or longtime acquaintance, with a big smile and a kiss on the cheek. Okay, an air-kiss over the cheek might be too much for some, so why not a big bear hug? Like our pups, we are social creatures. Why not fully embrace other people while letting them know they are huggable, lovable, and important? Who cares if you are known as the “hugger” in your social circle! Just don’t sniff someone in their “middle parts.” Dogs have the exclusive for this behavior, despite what some political candidates say.
Second, share what you have so others can feel included. If it gets damaged, it is okay. If it wasn’t intentional, the other living being was having too much fun. We teach sharing to young children, so why have we forgotten it as adults? Does adulting mean we must possess and hoard? No. Share what you have. Besides, new economic growth is coming from a sharing mindset like Uber, airbnb, peer-to-peer lending, and coworking to name a few.
Third, chase after the things you love. Do not be shy. Run after it. If you are too timid or fearful to go after your dreams and goals, another creature will. Do not let fear guide you. If you chase something and still do not get it, you have still learned a valuable lesson. You have been given a gift that puts you closer to your dream, not a crushing defeat. The Universe has a funny way of guiding you on your journey. Be open to change.
Fourth, if you love something, be tenacious in finding it or having it while being respectful. You never know when you are just a step away from achieving your goals or ambition. If you give up, was it fear? Did you need more information? Was your recollection incorrect? If so, there is always someone that can help you find what you think has been lost. ALWAYS. Look for guidance. Ask for help. Call over your friends. Someone will help. I promise.
Fifth, rest when you need it. Self-care must be a priority. If you are tired, rest. If you need a drink, take it. Need to eat, do it. If you are overwhelmed, walk away to regain your strength and energy. If you do not take care of yourself, you will be ineffective later on.
Okay, here is a bonus lesson from the dog park. If you disagree with someone, walking away is the best way to release tension and give yourself a chance to reduce your stress. Walking away is not giving up. Walking away shows respect for yourself and to others. Walking away gives you the opportunity to learn, collect your thoughts, and approach the situation differently. If you attempt to be right, you will get hurt. If you stop trying to be right, you will learn more about yourself, your friends, and the world around you. Trust me, there are bear hugs waiting for you.
Photo courtesy of author