Here’s a guest post by Jaime Glasser, a vet, an artist, a writer, and a cat lover.
I have a new therapist, for the first time in a long while. She is really wise beyond her years and seems to really understand me. She has mastered the fine art of listening to me without judgment, and I can tell her anything without reserve. Her name is Tori. She is paralyzed in one of her legs, but I admire the fact that she does not let this interfere with her sense of adventure and willingness to always try new things. It does not seem to slow her down at all. She is a six-month-old rescue long-haired Tortoiseshell kitten.
She has only been in my life a few months, but Tori is already teaching me many basic lessons about how to live a good life. She has reminded me how to be happier. The top ten things I have been learning from my new therapist are:
1 Do not hold a grudge:
Even if I step on her tail, Tori does not hold a grudge! Within minutes she is running after me again, ready to cuddle or play. I need to be more like that. Nothing good has ever happened in my life that began with my resentments.
2 Be thankful:
I am always so encouraged to do nice things for Tori because she seems so thankful to me. Gratitude seems to be a state of mind, that if I could just maintain, would eclipse a lot of other negative emotions.
3 Be affectionate:
My day is brightened moment by moment by the unexpected little gestures of affection Tori takes the time to express. If I am caught in sadness, one little rub of my ankles brings a big smile to my face and makes my whole outlook change in an instant.
4 Say please:
I think we would all receive a lot more kindness if we could ask for what we wanted with such aplomb and sweetness as my kitten can. Her attitude is gratitude waiting to happen. She never apologizes for what she wants, either!
5 Say thank you:
When I take a little time to give Tori attention, I am rewarded by an overflowing of thanks. If I could let myself feel this pure gratitude more often, I know my happiness would definitely increase!
Whoever knew that such a simple object as a brown paper bag could bring such joy? When I play with Tori I forget my big, complicated, adult worries and feel the joy of simple pleasures again. I am going to play more and try to incorporate a playful attitude in my life.
7 Take a nap:
When things are just too much and all else fails, my kitten curls up and takes a nice long nap. I can’t think of a better time out from stress or an energy boost to get me going again!
8 Stay in the now:
My kitty is right up there with many wise sages. I am going to try not to let the special moments of life pass me by. The present, truly, is all we have and I am going to make a better effort to live in the now to experience life more fully, just like my cat.
9 Appreciate the little things:
Cats certainly get the most out of life’s simple pleasures. Tori can lose herself in a bite of food or a ray of sunshine. Paying attention to the small pleasures in life is admirable and promotes contentment.
10 Don’t worry what others think of you:
My kitten never gives up trying to make friends with my two older cats despite being severely reprimanded with a swipe of the paw! I will try to not worry what others think of me and cultivate this happy-go-lucky approach to life.
I think if I could just fully incorporate these lessons that Tori has taught me into my daily life I would be much happier. I am going to practice these ten lessons, and try to be consisitent and see how that works! I think it will help me live a happier life each day.