Happy as a Dog!
I think we need to change the saying from "happy as a clam" to "happy as a dog". What makes a clam so happy anyway? They don't seem very happy to me.
I've talked before about how my pup, Tucker has been my greatest inspiration. She is the happiest, friendliest dog I have ever known and she really showed me how to be a happier, friendlier person. She actually forced me to be friendly when she ran up to every single person we came across on our walks while living in the city. But here is the other thing about Tucker and most dogs...she is completely and totally herself and I just couldn't love her any more than I do.
Think about your dog or a dog you had or even someone else's dog if you've never had one. Weren't they always happy? Weren't they always unapologetically themselves? They are really selfish beings. Give me food, give me treats, give me belly rubs and play with me. And when they don't want to be bothered they let you know as well. Tucker now just starts barking at me if she wants to play and I don't respond to her fast enough. Yes, she is the boss in this house and she knows it. But why do I let this 12 pound runt boss me around? Because she is the best and I want her to be happy.
The reason we give so much to our pets is because they give us so much. That excitement when we walk in the door. The snuggles they wrap you in. Their ability to know when you are upset about something. The happiness we feel at seeing their joy. And that is why we give them so much in return. But the interesting part is they are 100% themselves at all times and that is more than okay with us. Why can't we be like that ourselves? I know, I know...we are more evolved than animals. We are more complex than animals. We have much more complicated lives than animals. BUT what if we took a couple of lessons from our furry friends? Like being ourselves completely.
Think about the unconditional love your have for your pet. Think about how selfish and needy they are. Think about all they give in return. We can take a cue from them when it comes to living a happy, carefree life. If someone doesn't like my Tucker, then there is seriously something wrong with them, but Tucker will either move on or keep at them until they realize they love her too. She doesn't care if she comes across as needy or annoying. She's just being herself and most people love her for it. She has no worries about whether people like her or not. She just doesn't care. If she runs up to someone and they don't pay her any attention she moves on to the next person. Wouldn't it be great if we could deal with the people in our lives with such simplicity?
But in order to act as ourselves completely and totally we first have to know ourselves. How well do you really know yourself? I remember the first time I went to therapy I was about 30 years old. In my first session I was asked to describe myself. I honestly couldn't come up with any description words about me. Granted I didn't grow up being very introspective. I rarely thought about why I did things or examined why I acted the way I did. I was a very a reactive person and I just went with the flow of things reacting in ways that I didn't even realize. There was always so much more going on with me than I was aware of. But once you really get to know yourself you can decide what you want, how you want to be and how you expect the people in your life to be.
After a few short months in therapy I could fill half a notebook with words that described me. Positive aspects and things that I wasn't very proud of. A list of traits that I would need to work on and other things that I was proud of. Among many other things the words that come to my mind first about myself is; outgoing, ambitious, sarcastic, friendly, a bit shallow, concern of how people see me, judgmental and all kinds of things in between. I tend to see things in black and white when most things are gray. I jump to conclusions and react badly at times. I learned what I liked about myself and what I didn't. There were things that I wanted to be more of and things I wanted to be less of. But I wouldn't have ever come to any of these conclusions if I hadn't been made aware of who I actually was which in turn shaped how I acted and reacted in the world.
I can tell you this much, I am more my authentic self now than I have ever been and it's also the happiest I've ever been. There are people who love me and some, not so much. It's okay. I have my people and I continue to meet great people to include in my life all the time. I say what I feel most of the time and mostly that is okay. I still get into arguments and clash with certain people. But now I'm at a point where I have to decide whether it is worth it to disrupt my peace in order to make a point. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't. Obviously when I'm with like minded people I express myself more freely while other times I know I'm in the minority in my thought process and that is when I just sit back and listen.
For the rest of this week we will explore how to get to know yourself and then be yourself completely. It's a really brave thing to be yourself. But it's always worth it.
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Make sure to follow my social media this week for more information on getting to know yourself. Join the Hopefulist page and group on Facebook and follow me on IG at the_hopefulist. I will talk to you soon. Have a great week and as always be badass. I'm right here, cheering you on.