We humans think we have it sussed, we’re the apex predator, dominate the world, and are super smart (in ways) thanks to the human brain. This has given us a great advantage over the other animals in the kingdom, so what could they possibly teach us?
Well, there are a multitude of lessons to be gleaned from our relatives. Indeed, due to our advancement, it seems we have often lost sight of simpler lessons. This blog is going to identify the wonderful things we might learn, or may know but have lost sight of. By cultivating a life that focuses on the important things, we might better handle life and improve our mental health and wellbeing as a result. Because there are many lessons we can learn from our supposedly less discerning family members.
The beautiful, graceful, and dignified elephant is revered in many cultures due to its loving nature. Elephants are matriarchal and live in close-knit families, forming deep, strong emotional bonds by communicating empathy. They take care of their friends and families and have shown immense compassion for their kin. Elephants remind us that familial bonds are worth investing in – and studies have shown that good quality relationships can add years to our lives. So it’s no wonder that elephants can live up to 70 years, pretty long for a non-human animal!
A relatively recent research study found five main personality traits in cats (‘Feline Five’). The one we are interested in here is openness to experience. We know cats are curious, like when they’re more interested in the box their toy came in than the toy itself. So when was the last time you refused to taste something new, or said no to an invite? Or do you have regrets about things you didn’t do because you wanted to play it safe, or feared failure? Yes, cats are curious and open to experience and this trait is something that might benefit many of us in life – within reason!
Now although this one might technically not be considered an animal, it is still a part of the vast kingdom we all belong to. Spiders are fascinating and amazing creatures and can teach us many things. One of these is the virtue of patience! Indeed, these wonderful creatures display this tendency in several ways. For example, it takes time and precision to build the intricate webs, which for some of them, can take hours, and even days to complete! And if the web becomes damaged, they will repair them efficiently. Spiders are also very patient predators, remaining still and vigilant. And when it comes to mating, they can teach us a thing or two; the male of the species will bide his time before he approaches a potential mate – in part to avoid being eaten…
The elegant horse has been used by humans for many reasons, whether that be to transport goods, people, or for entertainment. Horses have shown loyalty within their own families, and/or with their rider(s). They are known to form strong social bonds and demonstrate loyalty by protecting and staying close to their kin. When horses are treated well by humans, they develop a trusting bond, which means they will more likely want to cooperate with them. Loyalty is an important part of any trusting relationship, and this can often be forgotten by humans, but not horses.
All too often, we humans can underestimate the value of effective communication and get ourselves into all kinds of problems – not bees! Bees are amazing communicators. Bees live in colonies, usually under the reign of one queen. There are many female worker bees and male ‘drones’, all of whom must work together to do the important work they do for us all. This means they must communicate effectively, and they do just that via complex dances and pheromones. This can provide information about the distance and direction of a food source to other members of the colony. This is how these incredibly important creatures help with pollination and produce honey. Without their amazing communication abilities, we’d all be in trouble, which highlights the importance of the skill.
These regal, beautiful, and highly intelligent creatures are closely related to Huskies and German Shepherds and are the wild ancestors of domestic dogs. Wolves can teach us much about leadership, cooperation, and unity for the benefit of the group. They operate in close-knit packs of family units that are led by the alpha male and female. The pack must work together to raise young, hunt, and when defending their territory. Like the next animal on this list, they’re curious and keen problem-solvers. Wolves exhibit strong determination and adaptability. For example, they will use strategies to surround and exhaust their prey when hunting and can survive in different environments, from forests and mountains to arctic regions. Wolves are culturally significant and appear in mythology and ancient stories and folklore, as symbols of loyalty, wisdom, and strength.
This list would be incomplete without Phinity Therapy’s brand animal, the beloved dolphin! Dolphins are incredibly intelligent, with the ability to solve problems, highlighting the importance of curiosity, learning, and knowledge. They are playful and like to enjoy life! They are also complex social beings and nurture a strong sense of family and community. This highlights their caring nature, indeed, they have even been known to rescue humans! Dolphins remind us to care, they’re friendly, jovial, and have an illuminating spirit that reminds us to embrace a life of learning, genuine fun, and family – things that any of us would be lucky to accomplish!
Non-human animals (including marine mammals and insects and arachnids) show us a number of traits that are important for not just their survival, but also to ensure they thrive. When we genuinely and sincerely attempt to nurture these kinds of qualities in ourselves, there are positive consequences to be had in many areas of our lives. We can prosper in relationships, work, and overall life opportunities. It is only really then that we can give back to one another.
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