Loving someone like a pet. To love a pet is a demonstration of unconditional love.
First let me clarify the statement of loving someone like a pet, this title can sound either condescending or downright disrespectful. Let me also clarify I am talking about a pet you love, not one that bears the brunt of ones anger and ignorance. Pets are wonderful for providing companionship but they mostly become the object of our affection. In other words, they become an object in which we can express our unconditional love.
I have to be very clear about defining the type of pet owner I am referring to. Unfortunately there are some pet owners that seem to have pets to express their frustrations, anger, intolerance and ignorance, or they wish to have control over another creature. Oh these pet owners will show their pets love when they feel like it; but it is not unconditional love. They love their pets based on them behaving a certain way. You will find these pet owners are physically abusive and yell at their pets with a certain amount of personal hostility, as if they are taking things personally. These types of pet owners will treat the people around them in the same manner.
I will use a dog as an example since they are the most popular pet and many other pets do not afford the type of closeness I am referring to. (It is after all hard to show affection to a goldfish or that pet snake.) The main point is we do things for a pet because we love them. When we adopt a pet into our lives we are committing to the care and comfort of that pet for as long as they live. We don’t offer to take them for a walk because we are expecting them to repay us in some way. We don’t fix them something to eat with the expectations they will somehow reciprocate. We just demonstrate unconditional love for them. We pet them, we scratch behind their ears, we rub their belly’s because we sense they gain some satisfaction from the gesture.
Unconditional love demonstrated
So loving a pet is about demonstrating kindness, empathy, generosity, sacrifice and patience. We do this because it allows us an outlet for unconditional love. We expect nothing in return, except the satisfaction of loving. There is also a certain joy in knowing our pet loves us unconditionally no matter what car we drive or how we dress or whether we have bad breath. When we scratch our pet and they show discomfort or turn away, we try something different, we try another area to scratch looking for a sense of approval. We don’t continue doing something that meets with disapproval from our pet. We don’t say I know this is what will make you happy whether you like it or not. Instead we are very sensitive to what our pet finds comforting or satisfying and we seek to give it to them. We don’t force our will on them, we just keep trying something different until it meets with their approval.
When we love our pets in this way, we are loving from the heart. We don’t rationalize our actions by thinking, justifying or basing our actions against what we receive in return. In other words we are loving without any ego whatsoever. There is not even the thought of ego in loving a pet. We bypass this “ego” when we are loving from the heart. When we love from the heart we are intimately in the present moment. There is no thinking about what the dog did yesterday or what it will do tomorrow. Our self-image is not threatened by our pet, we don’t worry about what they will think of us (well I hope most people don’t anyway.) There is only the act of unconditional love in the present moment. We have a one to one connection with the object of our love in that moment and nothing else exist.
How we love others -vs- the unconditional love we have for a pet
We tend to love people in a whole different manner. We are always weighing our kindness and deeds against what we ourselves are getting in return. We don’t love in the present moment, we are thinking about what they did yesterday or last week. We are thinking about what they “should” do later on or tomorrow or next week. We tend to always be comparing what we are doing and weighing that against what we are going to get in return.
Why don’t we expect anything in return from our dog? Well that seems obvious, after all our dog is not going to wash the dishes or do our laundry, however this is not the point. We have no expectations of the dog and that is the point. With people we always have expectations and judgments, we can’t seem to just love for the sake of loving. This is why so many families become dysfunctional and why so many relationships fail. It is also why most long term friendships remain healthy. In intimate relationships and families there are so many expectations and judgments; friends are not typically like that.
Applying the idea:
- Try to be conscious of all the conditions we place on loving others.
- Think of all the ways in which we are expecting something in return when we do kind things for another.
- Think of how we analyze and judge all the things that have happened in the past as part of our decision to be kind, thoughtful and loving to another.
- Try for just one day to love the people in your life like a pet, seek only to please and nurture them without any past considerations and without any expectation of receiving anything in return.
Please share if you found this post to be meaningful. I would love to hear your comments and thoughts… Thank you for reading : )