A Dog's Loyalty
Updated: Aug 22, 2019
In case you haven’t heard, my husband and I recently rescued a 10-month-old puppy named Ana (short for Banana). She is silly and sweet, and she keeps us on our toes! Some of her favorite hobbies include eating grass and sticks, growling at her own reflection, and hamming it up everywhere we go.
Recently, while shopping at a pet store, I noticed a decorative plaque entitled, “10 Life Lessons We Can Learn From Dogs.” The list suggests that our canine friends remind us to play and to rest; to get outside for lots of walks and sunshine; and to greet our friends with excitement.
While I couldn’t agree with these sentiments more, there was an item on the list that caused my nose to crinkle. It read, “Dogs love you more than they love themselves.” Hmm. Is this really a lesson that we should take to heart?
Many of us believe that in order to remain safe and secure, we must root ourselves and our sense of value into impermanent things, such as our relationships, our careers, and our material possessions. No matter how stable some of these “things” may seem, the reality is that we have no control over outward circumstances. If we choose to place our focus on something outside of ourselves, we will never feel completely stable. We have instead created a false sense of security by rooting ourselves in people and things over which we have no control.
As women, we tend to ignore our personal needs because we’re instead placing so much emphasis on caring for and managing our relationships, our careers, and our households. As a result, we struggle to find the time or the energy to take care of ourselves. We believe that we must take it all on, and we forget to ask for help. And, as life continues to become busier and more demanding, we’re so profoundly hard on ourselves when we fail to make it all work.
While I do believe that loyalty is a wonderful characteristic and incredibly important for building and sustaining trust within relationships, I encourage you to remain deeply loyal to yourself first and foremost. Please remember that you’re human. It’s OK to say “no” and to set boundaries. It’s OK to ask for help. It’s also more than OK to schedule a little “me” time every now and again.
Remember, one cannot give from an empty vessel. We are only able to give our best when we are at our best, and that requires penciling in a little self-love and self-kindness from time to time!