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17 Benefits of Having an Animal as Your Best Friend

17 Benefits of Having an Animal as Your Best Friend

Why are animal friends better than human friends?

Sometimes, relationships with humans are … well, complicated. Talk too little, and our human friends might think we’re hiding something. Talk too much, and we’re a bore. If we’re seen in public with a human friend’s significant other, it could get us in a lot of hot water. And of course, there’s trying to schedule time to see our human friends, or worse, putting up with their bratty kids while we’re trying to have a decent conversation over sushi.

Let’s face it; our real best friends are animals. Here’s why:

1. Animal friends always laugh at our jokes,

giphy

    2. Listen attentively to our complaints,

    poodle

      3. And tell us exactly what they think about them.

      Babboon

        4. We never have to worry about carrying on a conversation with our animal friends,

        Shut up

          5. Or finding someone to help out at work.

          Office

            6. Our animal friends always have our back if things get crazy,

            Cat with guns

              7. And are there to comfort us when our hearts get broken.

              Comfort

                8. Animal friends make sure we don’t miss a workout,

                Bicep curl  Workout

                  9. And act as a mode of transportation if the car breaks down.

                  Turtle car

                    10. At our next party, if the DJ flakes out, our animal friends are there to get the music going,

                    Chicken rap

                      11. Get things moving on the dance floor,

                      Dog Dance Twerk

                        12. And intercept any unwanted advances.

                        Kiss

                          13. Our animal friends won’t even ruin our party by talking about politics or religion.

                          Hedgehog

                            14. Sometimes we can get our animal friends to bring us the newspaper,

                            Bring it

                              15. Especially if there’s food involved.

                              Horse foodie

                                16. Did I mention that animal friends are great workout buddies?

                                Ouch

                                  17. They ask so little in return; just give ’em a pat now and then, and they’re happy.

                                  Featured photo credit: Ângela Antunes via flickr.com

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                                  Last Updated on July 10, 2020

                                  How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                                  How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                                  We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

                                  We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

                                  So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

                                  Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

                                  What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

                                  Boundaries are limits

                                  —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

                                  Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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                                  Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

                                  Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

                                  Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

                                  How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

                                  Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

                                  1. Self-Awareness Comes First

                                  Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

                                  You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

                                  To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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                                  You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

                                  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
                                  • When do you feel disrespected?
                                  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
                                  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
                                  • When do you want to be alone?
                                  • How much space do you need?

                                  You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

                                  2. Clear Communication Is Essential

                                  Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

                                  Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

                                  3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

                                  Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

                                  That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

                                  Sample language:

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                                  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
                                  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
                                  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
                                  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
                                  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
                                  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
                                  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

                                  Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

                                  4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

                                  Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

                                  Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

                                  Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

                                  We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

                                  It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

                                  It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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                                  Final Thoughts

                                  Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

                                  Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

                                  Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

                                  The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

                                  Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

                                  Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

                                  They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

                                  Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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