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Shawna Schuh

Make It Your Goal to Love Like a Dog, Without Expectation or Obligation

So… what is love?

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FOR YEARS WHEN I’ve been asked how to treat others, my answer has been to “Love them.”

Love your clients. Love your followers. Love your lists. Love your audiences. Love those angry folks out there who are most in need of love.

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Is it easy? Nah. Is it effective? Absolutely! I do it all the time, and people can feel it, can you? I love through my fingers as I type this out. I love through my voice and smile and questions. My goal is to love like a dog.

So what is love?

The dictionary says it this simply:

  • an intense feeling of deep affection.
  • a great interest and pleasure in something

You can love your clients, lists and followers then, can’t you?

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Here’s the thing, though: Love isn’t a light switch you turn on and off. It’s not something fake or contrived to gain something from someone.

Love is more like a frying pan. Growing warmer and warmer the longer it’s on the heat. This is the true testament to love in my opinion. When you’ve been serving people for a while, when you’ve had every kind of customer imaginable, when you’ve been hurt, lied to, stolen from or bad-mouthed on social media. Can you still love then?

That’s where the dog part comes in: Dogs keep loving. Dogs seem to take whatever life throws their way and adapt, forgive, get over it and love anyway.

I recall an old story I heard once about a husband who went to a counselor to complain about his wife. He told the counselor that he no longer loved his wife, yet they had children and obligations. What should he do? How could he divorce her?

The counselor instructed him, “Love her.”

The husband was upset. He reminded the counselor that he no longer was in love with his wife, and that wasn’t going to change.

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To which the counselor said again, “Go love her.”

The husband nearly shouted, “I’m not in love with her anymore! I don’t feel any love for her!”

And the counselor then said, “Love is an action, not an emotion.”

What? Huh? Love is an action? You mean I can love someone without the feeling of love?

The counselor instructed him to do loving things like giving compliments, checking off chores, showing kindness to demonstrate the actions of love. Then he asked to see him in a month.

After the month when the husband returned, the counselor asked him if he still wanted to be rid of his wife? “What?” the husband exclaimed, “Why would I want to leave the most wonderful woman in the world?”

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When we show love to others, they change, they blossom, they sometimes love us back, though that’s just one side benefit of loving them.

What if in this new decade we’re in, and with all the craziness happening in the world, you made it your goal to love others. Without any expectation, without any obligation. You just act with love in everything you do?

What if, instead of working from your feelings, you simply did loving actions every day? Yeah, just like a dog.

Let me know how it goes. The world can use more love right now, don’t you agree?

Shawna Schuh is a certified speaking professional, an executive coach, master neuro linguistic programming practitioner and president of Women in the Pet Industry Network. Email her at shawna@womeninthepetindustry.com.

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