What my dog can teach us

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More important than the relationship we have with our friends, our family, or our significant other, is the relationship we have with ourselves. If I’m not taking care of myself, who is? If I don’t do nice things for myself, who will? If I don’t provide positive thoughts for a peaceful mindset, who will put them there?

Treating ourselves nicely is an act  I think only humans struggle with. Today, I watched my dog begin to lay down on the concrete. Suddenly, she hesitated and chose to find a spot on the soft grass instead. This decision seems effortless and potentially meaningless- but everything one needs to know about self-love can be exemplified by my dog’s decision to lay in the grass.

At times I’ve wanted to severely punish myself. At times I’ve consciously chosen to deprive myself of everything I so eagerly want my loved ones to have. I’ve comforted others before and without comforting myself. I’ve motivated, encouraged, complimented, assured everyone except for the one person I spend the most time with- the one person who’s thoughts I can actually control.

I’m convinced that when I commit such foolishness, it’s because I need  to hurt myself before others have the chance to. But the truth is- others will always try to hurt us. Whether or not they do depends on the fortress we’ve built up in our minds. If I’m spending no time building up my confidence, there’s a thin wall protecting me from the judgments of others.  If I spend less time hurting myself, and more time helping myself, I will actually become less vulnerable to pain- not more vulnerable.

Even my dog knows this.

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