Being at a position that's slightly on a higher level in the food chain, humans tend to think of themselves as a refined lot. Refined enough to think of themselves as absolutely perfect, especially when compared to the rest of the residents of the animal kingdom. Pompous as we are, thanks to our powerfully developed brain and our fancy-schmancy flexible thumbs, we need to open our eyes to our cohabitants and take some serious life lessons.
The rationale behind this is simple - when we're asked to learn things from other people, we tend to think that we are way too evolved than the rest of the human race to be learning anything from them. At some level, you'd always find competition, jealousy or an inadvertent sense of establishing one's superiority that accompanies every human relationship. From this stems a resistance towards imbibing good qualities of others.
Pets to us, on the other hand, are endearing. Their presence in our lives is completely non-threatening. We take to loving them with all our heart, because seriously, they're not going to steal our jobs, snatch our partners, rob our money or take over our homes. Their company is unparalleled and comforting, which can coax us to be more like them. Let's open our minds, then, and begin.
Humans who are suckers for affection and approval need to take a leaf out of their pet cat's code of conduct. Cats define independence and aloofness, and we'd see an unmistakable surge in our mystique if we incorporate this feline characteristic. Being an open book does you no harm, but being a tell-all can lead you to dig your own grave. Zip your mouth a bit, keep your cards close to your chest, and don't hand over the keys to your emotions to all and sundry. Revel in your company and start loving yourself before you attempt to try it on someone else.
Master the art of silent communication
Our pets are extremely perceptive to the emotional changes that their owners undergo. Pet owners can vouch for the sensitivity their pets show in times of grief or trauma. Similarly, we need to read the unspoken signals that we get from the people around us and act accordingly. Raising the bar on our sensitivity meter will take some effort, but doing so will make you perceptive and humane, if you'd like to call yourself that.
Learning to let go
Learning to let go is another precious quality. With animals, everything is momentary - be it happiness or sadness. They live in the moment. A bout of anger in animals lasts till the next distraction comes along, and voila! They wipe the slate clean of any residual resentment. Animals don't harbor ill-feelings, they never, ever contemplate revenge. While they possess an uncanny ability to remember certain incidents, animals almost always forgive and forget. Now, when was the last time you well and truly did that?
Always put your best foot forward
Cat owners know the amount of time that their pets devote to self-grooming. These dainty creatures may hiss and spit at you in anger, but see them in every other mood - they are the picture of calmness. Their 'me first' attitude can be imbibed by those who are too busy taking care of everything and everyone except themselves. Working moms, in particular, should always know that taking some time out for yourself does not mean that you love your family any less, or that you're not the perfect professional.
Honestly enjoy the outdoors
Yes, with the pollution and everything else as well. You've got to live your life in these surroundings, and since you have little power to change them, you ought to make your peace with the parks and open spaces that you can find. Go on a jog, or simply take a walk. Exercise your body, breathe in a lungful of air. Doing this does not only make your pet dog happy; you'll know the joys of the outdoors if you really go out there yourself.
Bottled up emotions can only put you on the express route to gathering various illnesses. Want me to list them? High blood pressure, heart ailments, stress, backaches and cancer are few friends that you'll pick up along the course of life if you keep seething and simmering under the weight of your own thoughts. Our dear pets like to say things as they are - you know if they're happy; and they make sure you know when they're enraged. Whatever mood you're feeling, release it, and let it go. Resentment, especially. It's not 24-karat gold, you know.
Be there for your loved ones
Upset? Angry? Elated? Buoyant? Your pet usually tends to mirror your feelings and acts accordingly. Remember how your dog curls up next to you when you're mopping up your post break-up tears? Or your cat that settles in your lap when you're lazing around on a beautiful summer day? Are they asked to do it? Never. It's only when you share a special connection with someone that you're able to empathize with them. Making this connection comes naturally to our pets, shouldn't we give it a try as well?
Snooze when you need it
Our pets guard their body clock like it's the most precious thing ever. So should we, actually. But since we're humans, we take great pleasure in defying nature, and grudgingly suffer the consequences. Is it so tough for us to eat on time and sleep on time every single day? Oh, I'm sorry, because that would mean telling the world you're worthless, isn't it?
Don't make a big, bloomin' deal of life
Go bonkers, do something silly, and have no regrets. Stop living your life like it's a jail sentence, and don't make the ones around you feel the same. You've got to stop and smell the roses before you land up in a wheelchair or an asylum. And that's not a place to really start living, no matter what Hollywood says.