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If Only I Loved Myself As Much As My Dogs Love Me

Katie doesn’t have any experience with this topic—that’s why she’s opening up to all of you in hopes of learning more!

My dogs are crazy about me. I mean, really crazy about me. I'm sure those of you with dogs know what I'm talking about. When I really think about it, it's pretty unbelievable, actually. They trust me, they learn from me, they're patient with me, and they‘re always excited to spend time with me. I feel the same way about them, too. (If you're not a looney pet person, just stay with me.) In my dogs eyes, I am the best thing since sliced bread (Pun totally intended. You’ll see). Now, I have friends and family in my life who care and trust and love me unconditionally, but let's be honest, none of them pee from excitement when they see me...or at least they hide it really well.

I recently was having a great conversation with a student about how important it is to be aware of how we talk to ourselves. I am always trying to be cognizant of I how speak to others, but rarely do I check my internal language with the same sensitivity. I'm quick to do something or say something and then followup in my head with, "That was __________."

  • silly
  • dumb
  • weird
  • gross
  • so on and so on

I'm judge myself almost immediately, not even giving myself a chance to think my thought through or try my task again. Basically, I'm giving up before I really even start. The frustrating part is that I literally tell my students the opposite. I always stress giving oneself patience and having trust in the process. I stress the importance of staying in a difficult situation longer than what's comfortable in order to push through the first mile of that marathon. I work with my students who are perfectionists on how to let go of the perfection and instead, strive for their personal best. So, why in the world do I treat myself the exact opposite? "Practice what you preach," they say. Why is that so hard?

I believe we are our own biggest critics. And while accountability is absolutely needed, we tend to hold ourselves to an unattainably high standard and it can quickly turn toxic. As a teacher, one of my many goals is to help students see their own potential. I urge them to impress themselves and surprise themselves. Really go for it! Something I want to improve in my own life is allowing myself to really go for it. And then when it turns out differently than I expected, practice self-respect language. It wasn't a failure if there were still lessons to be learned, and there are ALWAYS lessons to be learned. I called Mom earlier today with a question about homemade bread. She said, "Don't be hard on yourself if it doesn't turn out well. Bread can be finicky." (Pun attained. Ok, maybe it isn’t actually a pun, but it was pretty clever, you have to admit). Well, that was the metaphor of the year. Life can be so finicky. If we are only actually in control of ourselves and our actions, then lets really put our focus there. Let's focus on how gracious and thankful we should be for what we put our bodies through on a daily basis. Let's thank our minds and brains for how hard they are constantly working. And let's congratulate ourselves for trying our best. Sometimes trying my best means I ran all my errands after a full day of work and then prepared a fabulous dinner. Or it means I simply made it to work on time.

I'm excited to see what happens after trying to practice this every day. I have a feeling that even after a week, my self-confidence, motivation, and overall spirit will be much healthier and calmer.

If I love myself as much as my dogs love me, then hopefully I'll start seeing the version of me that they see -- the version that deserves trust, patience, and encouragement every day.