bella asks: I hate my life! Everyone around me hates me! I don’t know how to respond to some questions, and so sometimes I answer in a rude way, even though I don’t mean to be rude.
Hi bella –
I know how you feel.
We dogs never hate our lives (even when we’re locked in cages, treated horribly, hurt, etc., we just love being alive; it’s part of being a dog), but I’ve seen so many humans who feel just the way you’re describing. It’s really sad and unfair. I’m sorry you feel that way.
I also know what it’s like to feel like everyone hates me, and that is based on experience. Have you ever been put in a pound, because everyone says it’s dangerous to society for you to be out in public? When you’re nothing more than a friendly puppy?! That feels awful!
But the truth is, I was wrong. Nobody really hated me, they were just doing what they thought was best. And once I got one lucky break (by being bought), the rest of my life became a pretty constant festival of love – not only from my human, but from friends, family, strangers, just about everybody.
So my first suggestion to you is… give it time. Things will improve.
But then you told me about your issues with rudeness. As you can guess, I believe that, when you improve those, you’ll find people treating you better.
But how do you do it? Well, the first thing is to s-l-o-w y-o-u-r-s-e-l-f d-o-w-n. You’re responding to people before you give yourself a chance to think about what they’re saying. So just slow down. Make a point to, whenever anyone says anything to you, take a breath. Just one. That’ll give you enough time to think – Are they insulting me? Are they picking a fight? Are they actually just being nice or asking me a question?
Now once you’ve done that, the next trick is to become a bit more pro-active. There’s a great line from an old play, “Try not to be scared of people not liking you, just you try liking them.” The truth is, just about everybody really wants to be liked. Just like you. So if they come up to you and ask you something, and you respond rudely, they’re going to think you don’t like them, and protect themselves by being rude back. But if, instead, you respond to them with a smile and a friendly “hey” (or, if you were more like me, a lick on the nose – but I know that can get you humans in trouble), you’ll find things can get lots better, quickly.
bella, these ideas won’t solve everything. It’s possible there might be someone out there who really doesn’t like you, for whatever reasons, and will treat you badly no matter what. But they’re the exception; the huge majority of people you meet, for the rest of your life, will actually be friendly and want to like you, and for you to like them.
You were right to ask about this, and very right to ask a dog! Now begins the rest of your life: go get ‘em!