15 Things Animals Will Teach Us About Life
Most of us live and learn within a culture that views animals as inferior to humans – viewing animals as uncivilized because of their natural instincts and behavior. Humans have spent their lives separating themselves from everything different than they are and that includes animals. We build fences and create boundaries that simply put a great deal of space between the two worlds.
But animals are amazing and deserve our respect. We can learn a lot about life and how to live it simply by watching and paying attention to the animal world. By paying attention to them, we can relearn a lot of the important lessons in life that we seemed to have unlearned during our time as humans.
1. Animals are truthful. You will never have to second guess what an animal is feeling. They don’t hide their fears or their joy. They don’t hide their apprehension nor their love for you. They are an open book.
2. Animals are compassionate. Watch a mother animal and her baby and you’ll see the same type of love that humans have for their infants. Many animals actually foster other animals both within their own species and outside of their own species. Many animals console each other.
3. Animals understand that we are all connected. Wildlife species ensure their survival by living off, and with, one another. Ecosystems throughout the world can only succeed if they are in balance. Humans play a big role in ecosystems and heavily influence all other species in these ecosystems. Animals are aware of the fact that everything they do affects their world.
4. Humans and animals are similar. We both develop ways to make our lives a bit easier. Otters use rocks as tools to crack open shells, monkeys use sticks to get bugs from trees, dolphins call one another by name, whales communicate with each other, elephants mourn each other. The ability of animals to understand each other and readily display emotions is beautiful. It shows the depth of their intelligence.
5. Listening Ears. Sometimes I sit and watch the deer in my yard. They hear everything and a lot of things I don’t. Animals use their outstanding hearing ability to survive. They will always listen before reacting. Oftentimes they are listening before we even realize they are around us.
6. Animals live within their means. They don’t overindulge nor do they cause unnecessary destruction to their environment. They don’t do these things because they understand they will not survive if their environment is destroyed. I suppose that might be the most important thing animals can teach humans if we ever decided to listen.
7. Many animals have each other’s backs. I’ve watched enough Animal Planet to know that animals give each other ques and warnings when things are dangerous for one another. Monkeys may screech to warn of predators, birds may crow, meerkats chatter. They understand that without the survival of each other, the species will fail. This is why bees swarm and birds flock. It’s why wild dogs travel in packs and elephants in herds. They understand that sticking together makes them less likely to be a target. They are able to interact and work together in order to survive, despite their differences.
8. Animals live in the present moment. Take a moment to just observe an animal for a short while. A squirrel will run about collecting nuts and burying them, chase another squirrel around a tree, chirp playfully, and spend hours trying to climb up a pole to get all your birdseed. They live in the now. A deer will spend hours eating weeds or grass or berries. They might lie down and take a quick nap. Flies bouncing off them constantly, they will stomp their foot or shake their tail but they really aren’t very distracted by them – they go about their day, in the moment. They react in the moment and they live in it.
9. Unconditional love. Usually, our domesticated animals are where we see the beautiful trait of unconditional love in animals. They can sense when we are feeling down, angry, out of sorts, and happy. They pick up on everything without a word being said. They offer us support and love always. Animals are very loyal beings.
10. Animals understand teamwork. Look at how ant colonies work together. Each ant has a job and no one sits watching while others do the work. Whether it is catching prey, cleaning their tunnels, supporting their family, or building their community, they all work together as a team. Larger animals run in packs to survive. They track and kill their prey and share the spoils with each other. They understand the concept that working together achieves more than working alone.
11. Animals don’t take any crap. Animals are brave. If they feel threatened they might leap at the threat. Straight up and head on, they face their fears. They also get right back up every time they fall or fail.
12. Animals value their independence. I watch the baby deer in my yard daily. When they are just born the mothers leave them during daylight hours because it is safer for them. I watch the babies flit about exploring the area. Sniffing and nibbling and getting an idea of their world. As they grow they travel with their mother but the mother lets the youngster explore as they wish. The mother keeps a close eye on the fawn but allows the fawn to safely explore her world.
13. Animals practice forgiveness. Many animals have the innate ability to forgive each other and humans in many cases. We might yell at our dog but he’ll come back and cuddle. Animals in the wild see humans killing their species but another human might come to care for a baby and the baby will let them. They might not understand why some humans do the things we do, but they have the capacity to trust again.
14. Animals practice patience. Humans get upset when they have to wait in the drive-thru line for more than 3 minutes; animals sometimes spend exhausting hours chasing their next meal.
15. Animals understand that they need to adapt or die. They understand that Mother Nature will never conform to them, that they need to conform to and rely on what Mother Nature offers them. In these times when our climate is changing, humans must learn this as well. Over time, many species have learned to adapt to their environment. Whether it is becoming nocturnal due to heat or growing a horn in order to forage for food or growing a thicker coat as it becomes increasingly colder – species readily adapt to the world around them (not the other way around) because they understand what it takes to survive.
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