I’ve always been extremely self-conscious about my body. Being constantly bombarded with images of perfection by the media plus the fact that I definitely do not fit conventional beauty standards was straight up demoralizing. Up until recently, there really never was moment that went by without me being hypercritical of myself.
It was only when I got my own dog that the voice in my head started being kinder to me.
Here are 8 ways my dog, Benji got me to where I am today:
1. He’s not afraid to look like a doggone fool.
As humans, we’re so busy worrying about how people perceive us that we forget to loosen up and just be our true, goofy, silly selves. Watching Benji go nuts and let loose has helped me do the same.
2. He seems to be pretty freakin’ comfortable in the skin he’s in so why shouldn’t I?
I used to be the most self-conscious when I was walking down a street. I felt invisible eyes watching and judging my every move but walking with my dog has helped me get out of my own head. Instead exuding awkwardness I’m more at ease with myself and the world.
3. He loves me when I’m dressed to the nines… And when I’m in my PJs at my hot-messiest.
When I’m at my least confident and when I’m at my most confident, I have Benji’s unwavering support. Why should my confidence depend on what I’m wearing at the moment?
4. He’s 100% immune to name-calling, bullying, body-shaming.
Yes, you can say that he’s a dog who probably doesn’t understand the hateful things that people say. But the attitude he embodies 24/7 is that of love, sweetness and overall IDGAFness. Haters can hate. He just keeps on keeping on.
5. He reminds me time and again that perfection is just an illusion and that everyone is perfect in their own unique ways.
Sometimes he runs into glass, sometimes he farts, sometimes when he’s trying to show off his repertoire of tricks he falls flat on his face. I’ve been there. The only difference is while I slink away in embarrassment, he just gets up and starts all over again. Picking up that never say die attitude has helped me be better at my job and be more open with the people I love.
6. Taking care of Benji has taught me to care for myself.
Remembering to nourish another living being’s body has helped me be better about what I eat. And just like he gets his bi-monthly pamper session I do too. I’ve learned to take pride in this body that’s helping me get places, do my work well and basically be a productive, contributing member of society.
7. He’s not ashamed to love himself.
He’s confident, strong, and insanely comfortable with being himself. When he looks in the mirror he isn’t daunted by what he sees. Instead, he uses it as positive reinforcement and when he struts away it’s like he’s thinking, “I’m actually pretty freakin’ cool.” Something that I’ve started doing.
8. Forget Bruno Mars, when my dog looks at me with those, “You’re amazing, just the way you are,” eyes, I melt.
Every time he glances up at me with his big brown eyes is a reminder for me to look at myself with kind, caring, gentle eyes. After all, if I don’t see myself that way, why should the rest of the world?