Animals have a lot of valuable lessons to teach us, and if we listen carefully we can learn how to incorporate these lessons into our own lives.
From forgiveness and generosity to trust and unconditional love, animals are truly inspirational role models who, when given a chance, can enrich our own appreciation of life and provide us with a thought provoking promise of what is possible.
1. Forgive and Forget
Animals, unlike humans, have an incredible ability to forgive. Despite extreme trauma they may have experienced in the past, they manage to remain optimistic and not hold on to grudges. Take Jasper for example: even after the unspeakable treatment he was subjected to when living on a bear bile farm, he has become an ambassador for forgiveness and hope.
2. Don’t Worry What Others Think
Whether chasing balls, pouncing on strings, or rolling in catnip, animals relish in their activities without concern about how they look to passersby. Let go of your inner critic and judgment of others, and fully embrace the times you enjoy.
3. Love Unconditionally
Animals don’t put conditions on their love. They are kind without reserve and love each other and us regardless of our faults. Many of us find it awkward to comfort those we don’t know, but animals are always empathetic to those in need and dogs in particular markedly change their behavior when people cry.
4. Savor The Moment
Animals live in the moment and so should we. As humans we are too often distracted by our thoughts of the past and the future, and forget to fully appreciate what is happening in our lives right now.
5. Trust Your Instincts
Fully alert to each of their senses, animals trust their instincts and act upon them. They use their instincts as a way of navigating through life. Humans, on the other hand, rationalize everything and constantly ignore what are senses are trying to convey to us, and in doing so we miss important signals about events, circumstances and the people around us.
6. Play Fair
Making time to have fun and let loose is vital, but only if you play fair. Studies show that fair play helps both human animals and non-human animals survive. Canines are some of the most moral of us all with their own innate code of conduct when it comes to play time.
7. Relax and Reflect
In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to fill our days with places to be and people to meet, but don’t underestimate the importance of the quiet moments. Take a cue from our cats and dogs and other animals and relax once in a while.
8. Express Yourself
With so many words to choose from, expressing how we feel should be easy, but that’s not always the case. We often neglect to use the many alternative ways of expressing ourselves such as the tone of our voice, our facial expressions, our body language and our posture.
9. Share Abundantly
It’s easy to get caught up in our own wants and desires, but animals remind us that sharing is essential to our success. Humpback whales are one species who place huge importance on cultural transmission. Not only do they learn songs from each other, they also share feeding techniques that allow them to safeguard against the effects of changing ecology.
10. Don’t Ever Give Up
If you ever need inspiration to keep going, then look to the salmon. Our fishy friends swim thousands of miles upstream in efforts to make it back to their birthplace just so they can spawn the next generation. That impossible task on your to-do list doesn’t seem so unachievable now, does it?