Did you know as a dog owner you're in a position to have better and more positive relationships than non-dog owners? One essential ingredient is all it takes and here's how to tap into it.
Think back to when you were a kid. Most likely you were almost always surrounded by animals... stuffed ones, tv cartoon ones, real ones. Even your room, your pajamas, and clothes were adorned with them.
And who remembers the FAVORITE animal? The one you carried around til mom was ready to throw it out it was so loved! (ie: dirty and torn) We basically had a love affair with animals!
But what was beautiful about this affair was it enabled us to develop one very vital key ingredient for close positive relationships. Empathy.
So what exactly is empathy. It is basically the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Like, if someone is happy, you can feel their happiness right along with them. You might break out in a smile or jump up and down for joy with them.
But a lot of people still never learned true empathy, even with those childhood animals. The needed to experience it through their parents too and if that didn't happen, empathy may not have formed as deeply or instinctively.
Good new is, we can still develop empathy as adults. All it takes is practice.
By having a close bond particularly with animals who are unconditional and non-judgemental, even if they are stuffed, we are able to develop that empathetic bond with them quicker and easier. We want to understand them, to do what makes them happy. Because WE learn to feel what they feel. We begin to care differently because we're walking in their "paws".
Once empathy is learned, it allows you to feel more compassion towards others. And what better feeling than to have someone understand and “feel” you...and then want to make something positive happen beyond that because they “get you” AND care about you!
The more we can tap into how others feel and try to understand where they're coming from, the more we can cultivate relationships that thrive. And then guess what?
People WANT to be around us!
We feel like your tried and true friend. An important person.
Like your soulmate!
No one understands us or connects with us like you!
And in the long run these people will begin to be empathetic towards you too. A win-win!
So now that you know how important having empathy is and how it has everything to do with attracting and keeping positive relationships...
How do you get your dog to help?
By really connecting with your dog and giving them what you would want if you were them. (ie: being empathetic)
Here's a scenario:
You come home exhausted from work and just want to relax. Your phone is ringing. You have a project that needs to be started for tomorrow. The house needs cleaning. And Fido has been in the house alone for 8 or maybe even 10 hours. What do you pay attention to first?
If you're truly empathetic, the dog comes first. Even before you. An empathetic person understands that the dog needs a little walk, a little playtime. He's a social animal that thrives on your time and attention. You know that giving him what you would want if you were him, will make him happy. And it will actually make you happy too.
Now you might say, well, I'll play with him later. He can wait. The other things are more vital.
But if you are this way with the dog...chances are you are also this way with other people too. Believing that a relationship can get along without empathy won't cultivate lasting and positive relationships. Especially love relationships.
See, especially after the “rose colored” love glasses come off, this person may take the back burner to you. Or it may be that you've always needed to get your needs met first when it comes to anyone. If that's the case, your empathy rate is low.
And if your empathy rate is low, then you're probably not able to stay in a long term relationship, or have deep lasting connections with friends, or develop strong positive working relationships.
Empathy plays into ALL of these relationships. The more you understand and share the feelings of others, the more connected you are to them and in the long run, the more you get out of them too!
So tonight when you go home, first treat Fido to a walk or a game of ball. Even just for a few minutes. Then do you.
I promise...it will bring out the happiness in him and better relationships for you!
I am Beth Frye