“I don’t judge others. I don’t hate. I don’t discriminate. I don’t care about money. I don’t hold grudges. I do know how to love unconditionally and that’s all I want in return. I’m a fur-ever friend.”
I am inspired by the unconditionally loving spirit of the newest member of our family, Chuey, a four-legged friend who was brought to us by our son last summer. Sure, we have been a part of his growth and development, but I’d say his impact on us has been much more significant. Attending to the simple daily rituals that this little one needs—like going outside to potty, playing, running, eating, sleeping—is a sweet reminder of how we all have uncomplicated basic needs: to love and be loved, to move, to breathe, to nourish, to rest, to not let anything build up. We humans like to complicate matters by adding emotion and reasoning to make our point. Can you imagine the shift in our days if we greeted each other like our furry friends greet us upon our arrival? Whether we’ve been gone for an hour, all day or two weeks, the greeting is the same—buoyant, lovable, accepting!
They don’t talk about how long they’ve waited or ask why we haven’t called. They don’t even ask if we’ve brought them a treat. They simply express the love and excitement they feel for our presence in their life at that moment.
It seems easier to love when we are being loved. Happiness and smiles are contagious. Any hardness softens, if not melts altogether, when we are shown kindness or consideration. Again, it goes back to “we all just want to be loved, accepted.” So, what about the tough times when things don’t seem to be going our way? If we disagree with another? Try taking personality out of the way. Try seeing another with a mirror in front of them facing you. What is it in you that is reacting to the challenge? Do you see something in them that is also inside of you? Most people are dealing with their own issues and often it is projected onto others (mostly unintentionally).
So how can you change the situation, or change what you’re feeling? What would the furry friend do? Judge, belittle, condemn, leave? Try love. When anger wants to tempt or control you, try replacing it with love instead. Show the courageousness and trusting sense of adventure that comes from the simple willingness to be, as expressed in our animal playmates.
“Dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. They are the role models for being alive.” – Gilda Radnor
Love makes everything look brighter and feel lighter, and it moves us. We want to be better, feel better and give more when we are filled with love. So, if that’s what comes from loving unconditionally—without expecting anything in return—how could your life or relationships change with this approach? Study the behavior of a dog. Watch their courage, playfulness, adventure, trust, willingness, empathy and love. Take just one or two characteristics and apply them to your own “human” experience. How does it make you feel inside? If it’s good, then repeat it, regularly. If it’s not good, pick another quality to express. Your outlook on life and relationships may just make the all the difference in someone else’s life, too. If you think more about making someone else’s life a little brighter just by letting your light and love shine, I guarantee your life will be brighter too!
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France