To Be Healthy - Just Be You

This is a picture of my dog, Princely. He passed away last October. 

Look at that face in the picture. That is the face of a dog who is completely comfortable looking adorable with a stuffed toy in his mouth. He didn't care about whether I thought he looked silly or not. He just wanted me to take the picture quickly so he could get back to chewing on his toy.

Like all dogs, Princely had his priorities straight - play as much as possible, sleep whenever you feel like it, demand rubs as necessary, and enjoy your food. Unlike most dogs, who want to be validated by their owners and told they are a "good dog," Princely just didn't give a darn. He loved me and he appreciated my shows of affection, but he was going to do what he wanted to do, no matter what I said. If I had food, he might consider doing something different. If he was in the mood to hear me.

Like most people, I've spent my life being told what I 'should' do, what I 'should' believe in, and how I 'should' present myself to society. But now that I've turned 46, I've decided that I'm getting a little tired of 'shoulds.' I don't think acting and looking like I 'should' has brought me a lot of happiness. Instead, I'm left with a choking feeling in my throat and a knot in my stomach from trying to hold the real me inside. I don't think that's a healthy state of being.

The truth is, just as Princely was a cool dog, the real me is a pretty neat human. I'm intelligent, kind, generous, loving, curious, and I have a good sense of humor. I've been told I have a 'good head on my shoulders,' and that's true. I'm practical and I have common sense, but I still understand that there are a lot of right answers, and a lot of wrong ones, too. 

I love all beings and I will do what I can to help and make this world a better place. My way of helping may be different than someone else's, but I do it my way. Just like Princely, I love you and I appreciate your shows of affection, but I'm going to be me and do what I think is right for me - no matter what you say. I'm open to compromise, but only if you're willing to work with me to find a solution that works for both of us. I love you, but I don't need you to love me because I already love me.

Princely was a wise spirit guide to me for the five years he lived with me. I hope Princely's example inspires others to be more like themselves, too. It's when we stand up for our right to be ourselves that we make this world a richer and more genuine place. 


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