1. Always greet your loved ones with enthusiasm.
As soon as I walk through my apartment door, I am greeted by one tail-flailing, tongue-hanging, happy dog. I might be coming home from a long, stressful day, but immediately this warm greeting brightens my mood. It is an overwhelmingly adrenaline-filled hello, but nonetheless makes me feel loved. It’s easy for us to grow accustomed to always seeing our loved ones walk through the door and not necessarily rush to greet them each time. However, if we rushed to the door as soon as it clicked open and welcomed them in with a similarly warm and enthusiastic greeting, it could go a long way towards brightening their day and reminding them that they are appreciated.
2. Take time to stop and appreciate the little things.
Walking my dog a quick loop around the block can soon become a 20-minute ordeal because of the amount of “stop’n’sniffs” along the way. To me, I am walking with a purpose: finish the loop, take care of business, and get back inside so I can hurry off to school. To her, she is also walking with a purpose: smell every little thing along the way. She takes in an entirely different universe through her nose, and each inch of the ground contains an interesting story. I wait impatiently for her, but then realize, “what’s the rush?” We as humans are so busy wrapped up in our own lives and getting from one place to the next that we rarely take a second to notice and appreciate our surroundings. More generally, we rarely take a second at all. If we treated the world as our dogs do, full of curiosity and empty of the need to rush, we could develop a much greater sense of gratitude towards the beautiful world in which we live, and blossom a more at peace state of mind.
3. As long as you’re surrounded by good people, you’re doing pretty well.
How often do you hear your dogs complaining about the weather this morning or the overly salty flavor of their dog food breakfast? Well, even if we could successfully communicate, I doubt that there would be many complaints spilling out of their mouths. To dogs, their owners and family are their entire world, and as long as they have good company at their sides, they are perfectly satisfied lying around and doing nothing all day. As humans, we are constantly setting new and severely extreme life-expectations and worrying over trivial matters, such as what new iPhone to get. If we learned instead to be content with the simple company of the good people in our lives, rather than constantly searching and thinking about the next thing, we could live much more valuable and carefree lives.
4. Sometimes it’s better to listen than to speak.
I think this one pretty much speaks for itself. Despite the fact that we are unable to completely communicate with dogs, they have still become widely known as “man’s best friend,” and are people’s most trusted companions worldwide. Amazingly, without ever speaking to each other, we develop exceptionally strong emotional connections with our dogs and even tend to lean on them in times of emotional distress and personal conflict. Part of what helps our relationship grow so strong is the simple fact of our lack of communication: we are able to speak to them, while they are only able to listen. More so now than ever, the ability to be silent goes a long way. Whether you are counseling a friend or listening to your classmate’s opinions on politics, sometimes it is better to just hear the person out and provide a listening ear, rather than a chiming in with your own opinions.
5. Don’t take things too personally.
My dog is probably one of the most dog-loving dogs out there and each dog she sees she immediately wants to befriend. It can be somewhat heartbreaking to watch her excitedly greet another dog only to be responded to with a not so warm reaction, but she acts completely unfazed and continues to try again. She doesn’t get offended by an initial bad greeting and basically will refuse to let the other dog ignore her friendship. On the other hand, humans are so quickly offended that something as small as a period in a text message could send us over the edge. If we all behaved more calmly and, arguably, more rationally, we could avoid many pointless disputes altogether. Rather than allowing someone's seemingly hard outer shell to insult us and deter us from pursuing a favorable relationship with him or her, we should continue to demonstrate kindness and not reflect his or her actions upon ourselves.