I was sitting this afternoon on my porch step watching as rain clouds rolled in over the beautiful blue sky. I lifted my arms over my head and extended them, stretching from my fingertips to my toes. I could feel the grass beneath my feet and feel the sun warm my face and arms as it peeked through the tree overhead. I could smell the fresh rain that had fallen not an hour earlier. Listening in, I could hear the chirping of a bird in the tree and a squirrel across the driveway barking at the neighbor as she tried to wash her car.
I came back to now and realized that my dog was sitting right in front of me during my process of mindfully enjoying the summer. As I looked at her I realized how amazing it is that she could love me so much, she would without question place herself in harm’s way to prevent anything from hurting me. This animal would sooner be attacked by a bear than watch me get a papercut. That level of caring absolutely amazed me.
My mind wandered to myself. Do I love myself enough to step in front of a train to save me? Or more simply, if I am unhappy, anxious, depressed, or tired, do I care enough for myself to make a change?
Who knew that sitting on the step watching the dog would provide such an important lesson? The more I think about it, the more I realize that my wellness is my responsibility. As much as I would like to pass it off to someone or something else sometimes, nothing can make me happy without my first feeling love and compassion for myself; feeling that protective instinct over myself and my emotions. It’s certainly nice to have something love you so much they would give their lives for you, but it’s even nicer to know that through good times and bad you’re willing to give that kind of love to yourself. It is understandably difficult to do sometimes, but it is the foundation of health and a sign that you’re ready to fight for wellness. It is the times when you are most unhappy that self-love becomes so important as well as so much harder. The willingness to fight proves your commitment to yourself. As Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “what counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Keep working at self-love. You deserve it.