Daisy is a solid white Scottish Terrier with a dash of Jack Russell. She is just the coolest. Nothing ruffles her. She’s strong. She grins constantly. She can handle anything. Life is good. Food is good.

Ali is a crazy feather-weight Shih Tzu with a worried look in her eye. She’s nervy, reactive and a little bit wild. Is it safe? Do you love me? What’s that? She has to follow every smell trail.

I’d love to be a Daisy but I know I’m more of an Ali.

Everyone else is taken

In the words of Oscar Wilde “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken”. Excellent point.

Oscar Wilde was one smart guy with a biting sense of humour. If you were friends with Oscar you would go to him for bitchy clarity with a side of laughs. You wouldn’t go to him for nurturing.

We’re all unique. Trying to be anyone else doesn’t work. We’re not made for it. We are perfectly made to be exactly ourselves.

Character, not strength or weakness

We think of animals having a character with particular qualities. We don’t tend to judge those qualities as good or bad. They just are. Could we see ourselves that way?

The focus on weak points

If you’ve ever survived a performance review at work, you will have a handy itemised list of your faults. What fun.

Strengths get gold stars but no further focus. Weaknesses need work. There are actions around your weaknesses but not your strengths. How strange.

A woman I know commented that she had the same list of faults every year. Identifying them hasn’t changed a thing.

Focus on strengths

But what about your strengths? What could you do with those innate qualities? Where do they belong? Where do you belong? Where and how could you excel just by being you?

I still can’t catch a ball, not even to save lives. I read more books a year than some people read in a decade. I am ill-informed about popular culture but I can quote obscure poetry. That’s just me.

What about you?

Who are you really?

  • What have you always loved?
  • What have you always hated?
  • What is your natural gift?
  • Which of your faults are you secretly proud of?
  • What do you see as your best quality?
  • What could you do with that quality?
  • How is your biggest fault really useful?
  • What do you really think?
  • What are you angry about?
  • How could you use that anger usefully?

Ali is nervy and hyperactive.  Out on a walk and she turns into a wild thing, crazy for adventure. She just needs to use all that energy.

Like Ali, I need to explore every damn boundary in my mind. I like to put these explorations into words. Maybe she does too. All those barks must mean something.

It would be a great shame if we wasted our lives trying to be like everyone else. No one is like everyone else. What would be the point of that?

I still want to start a Daisy fan club. She’s my hero. She’s so totally herself. That’s something to celebrate.

What’s your best fault? 

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